Last Updated on October 3, 2023
Color purple has always been associated with royalty and nobility. But what does color purple means today?
Purple is a vibrant color that symbolizes wealth, luxury, power, spirituality, mystery, and love. In ancient times, purple was reserved for kings and queens. Today, purple is often worn by celebrities and royalty.
If you wear this color often, you may be wondering what symbolic meaning it holds. What impression does it give? Should you be wearing this color? Find out below.
What Is Purple?
Purple is a color created by mixing the primary colors red and blue. Consequently, purple is a secondary color. It’s an intense shade of violet or lavender.
It can be found in nature, with purple flowers such as artichoke, lavender, wisteria, and lilacs available in various shades of purple. There are also tons of beautiful purple crystals, such as amethyst, purple beryl, and kunzite.
The Symbolism Of Purple
Purple can mean a variety of different subjects depending on when, where, and how it is used. Among the most important associations of this color are:
In Western culture, purple is associated with royalty and nobility because it was once reserved only for rulers. The Romans would clothe their emperors in purple togas.
This is because purple fabrics were harder to get a hold of than other colors. It was highly priced, meaning that only those with the wealth of an emperor could afford purple clothes.
The specific shade of purple that these emperors wore was called Tyrian purple. This was made from a dye extracted from sea snails. This dye was imported from Tyre in Lebanon, hence the name Tyrian. Because of its rarity and expense, Tyrian purple was coveted by everyone who saw it.
During the Tudor Period, Queen Elizabeth I created a law that banned anyone that was not linked with the royal family from wearing purple. As a result, purple was essentially a color reserved for royalty.
Luckily, this law does not exist in modern times. Even today, purple is commonly worn by royalty. For example, Queen Elizabeth II routinely wears purple at formal events.
However, this association is not limited to the west. The Emperor of Japan is routinely linked with the color purple.
A species of butterfly that is found in Japan, officially called sasakia charonda, has also been dubbed the great purple emperor. This further establishes a link between the Japanese Emperor and purple.
Purple is also seen as a sign of femininity. Perhaps this association is a result of the law created by Queen Elizabeth I. Alternatively, one could make the case that it was due to the Women’s Social and Political Union. This group used purple, white, and green to symbolize themselves.
Moreover, one could attribute the link between femininity and purple to the color’s similarity with pink. In the west, pink has long been considered a feminine color, while blue is used to symbolize masculinity.
What is interesting about this is that blue is used to make purple. Moreover, pink used to be associated with men while blue was used to symbolize women until the start of the 20th century.
Regardless, many women enjoy wearing the color purple. Though some men also look great in this color, it is far less popular among this sex. Therefore, it can be considered a color that symbolizes femininity.
Though it may not be linked to love to the same extent as pink and red, purple is still associated with love. One way that purple can signify love is through the use of flowers.
Flowers that have been dyed in purple are often thought to be symbols of love. If you want to show someone that you love them, one way of doing this is to give them purple flowers.
Another way that purple can represent love is through the color itself. Purple is known as a romantic color.
Purple is not just related to love, but also sexuality. The color is worn during Spirit Day. This is an annual event that is dedicated to remembering members of the LGBTQ community that have committed suicide. This is to raise awareness of the bullying that people within this community face.
Furthermore, purple is present on the bisexual flag. Thus, many people believe that purple is a color intimately linked with the LGBTQ community. If you are a proud member of this group, you may want to don purple clothes to show your support.
The color purple is closely associated with Christianity. It is believed that Jesus was made to wear a robe of purple cloth. This was used to mock him, disputing that he was the son of God. Since then, purple has become a symbol of Christianity.
Cardinals of the Catholic Church used to wear purple frequently until scarlet became more widely used. Nowadays, when students graduate in the field of theology, many universities have the wearing purple robes.
Purple can also be a color of mourning. Though purple used to signify a person’s mourning period in Britain, black has replaced it as the sole mourning color in modern society. People traditionally wear black to funerals.
During the Victorian period, a mourner would wear black clothing for a year after a loved one died. Purple clothing was then worn to show that they had moved onto a different stage of mourning.
Perhaps because so few words rhyme with the word “purple”, the color is also related to individuality. Many artists choose to paint their works in this color.
As such, it is seen as a unique hue. Some people even dye their hair purple. This will make them stand out, creating unique appearances that match their individual personalities.
Culture And Society
Lastly, there are a few elements of culture and society that can be related to this color.
For instance, the chocolate company known as Cadbury has used this color in its packaging since 1905. This color was selected because it was the preferred color of Queen Victoria. This creates yet another link between purple and aristocracy.
Meanwhile, “Purple Rain” is the name of a 1984 film and its soundtrack. Also, “The Color Purple” is a novel by Alice Walker.
The book, which was published in 1982, was adapted to a movie in 1985. This film was directed by the renowned Stephen Spielberg.
In the case of Dominica, a sisserou parrot is featured at the center of the flag. Meanwhile, a small amount of purple is used in the flag of Nicaragua, in which it is featured in a rainbow.
It seems odd that purple, with its associations to nobility and royalty, is so underused in flags.
The Pros Of The Color Purple
As you can see from the above, purple has both positive and negative connotations. Likewise, the color will have both good and bad effects on people. Here are some of the good feelings that you may experience or inflict on others when wearing purple:
- Confidence: you may find your self-esteem increasing when wearing purple. You may feel like you are able to do anything because you are confident. This is because it is a flattering color.
- Beauty: if you choose to wear purple, you may attract attention by looking beautiful. If you want to enhance your looks, purple may be your best bet.
- Powerful: if you wear purple, you may feel powerful. This may be attributed to the royal connections of the color.
- Creativity: if you wear purple to work, you may feel creative. This is because purple is often associated with creativity. If you need to think of something new, you may want to consider using purple.
- Eye-catching: when wearing bold shades of purple, you are certain to be noticed by other people.
- Spirituality: if you choose to dress yourself in purple, you may feel spiritual. This is because purple represents royalty and spirituality. If you are religious, you may want to use purple to express your faith.
- Noble: if you want to have an air of royalty, you should contemplate utilizing purple. For example, if you are looking for a color for your high-end business, perhaps this will make a good color for your brand.
The Cons Of The Color Purple
Though purple has lots of advantages, there are also some downsides to utilizing this color. This can include:
- Vanity: some societies connect purple with pride and vanity. Therefore, you should be careful not to be considered vain when using this color.
- Cold: though purple can be quite warm when it has lots of red undertones, it is generally considered a cool color. This will be particularly true of darker shades. Thus, if you are trying to establish yourself as a warm and charismatic personality, you may want to avoid wearing too much purple.
- Sadness: if you wear purple during times of sadness, you may feel depressed. This is because purple symbolizes sorrow and grief. It is important to remember this when choosing what colors to wear.
- Lack of confidence: if you wear purple while feeling nervous, you may feel less confident than usual. This is because purple can make you look weak.
- Powerful: as you may have noticed, this is in both the pros and cons sections. You may find yourself becoming more aggressive than normal. This is because purple makes you appear strong and powerful. Though these can be great characteristics, being overly powerful may make you appear bossy.
Purple In Other Cultures
As with Britain, Thailand also uses purple to symbolize mourning. In fact, widows will wear the color after their husband has died.
In China, purple can be used to represent a number of values, including love, immortality, luck, or nobility.
In a lot of African countries, purple is a popular color for women. It is linked with femininity. As with the west, it can also be a color of royalty.
What Goes With Purple?
Whether you are decorating your home or choosing an outfit, it can be tough to know what color complements purple. Light purple will be a more flexible color that can be paired with multiple shades.
However, if you prefer a more vibrant version of purple, your combinations will be more limited. Here are some of the best colors to pair with purple:
Blue is a classic color that works well with purple. After all, the color blue is used to make this shade. If you are looking for something bright, consider pairing purple with turquoise. Many men pair blue suits with purple ties or shirts.
Green is another classic color that goes well with purple. When you choose green, you will need to keep in mind how light or dark you want your purple to be.
For example, if you want a lighter purple, then you might want to go with pastel greens like lime green or mint green. It is not recommended that you pair purple with a bright color green. This is because the colors contrast.
Yellow is a popular pairing in fashion, yellow goes delightfully well with purple. As with green, you may want to avoid light yellows. Instead, you should stick to shades of gold and ocher. This will create a sophisticated style that many will be envious of.
If you want to create an elegant look, silver will be a perfect option. This is a popular choice for weddings. This will give your wedding a royal aesthetic that will automatically seem more lavish.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Match My Clothes With Purple?
When you are trying to figure out what color to wear with purple, there are several things you should think about. First, you should try to avoid pairing purple with other colors that are too similar.
For example, purple does not always work well with red. Second, when you are wearing purple, you should consider using complementary or contrasting shades. Some of these are listed above.
Ultimately, you should wear whatever makes you feel comfortable. You should not wear clothes just because they are considered fashionable by others.
What Mood Does Purple Create?
Purple is the color of creativity. This means that is often associated with inspiring us to creative pursuits.
Lighter purple colors are also calming and soothing. This is the reason why it is often used in a beauty and wellness environment.
We hope that you enjoyed learning about the meaning behind the color purple! This color holds a lot of symbolic significance. You should be aware of these associations when wearing the color.
Otherwise, you may end up unintentionally projecting a feeling. This should not put you off wearing the color. On the contrary, it is advised that you use purple in clothing, decor, or for a business.
This should certainly be the case if it is your favorite color. Regardless of its associations, purple remains a magnificent hue.
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