Inspirationail’s Colour School – What to Wear With Purple

By Inspirationail

Inspirationail's Colour SchoolWelcome to the purple week of Team Inspirationail’s Colour School, if you haven’t already be sure to check out lessons on the basics & colour combos. We’ve already covered red, pink, yellow, green, grey, black, white, brown, beige, blue & orange and this week we are looking at the best colours to match with precious purple.

An Educated Guess

Purple is one of those colours that most people seem to appreciate on some level. Whether you are an intense royal purple or a sweet, creamy lavender there is really a shade for everyone. We like purple for everything from clothing items to shoes to accessories to cosmetics – and as long as you match it well it’s a brilliant colour that’s easy to pull off.

Here are a few tips you can utilize to help you decide what to wear with any shade of purple.

Precocious Purple

Purple is fun because it can take you from moody vamp to innocent lavender and everything in between. This is a colour that most skin tones can enjoy with a good deal of freedom. However, what you wear with it can be tricky because it is such a bold hue.

Inspirationail's Colour School

Skin Tone Matters

Because it comes in rich tones, purple is a great power colour and can even be a suitable replacement for dowdy black. For lighter skinned divas we actually like deeper, vampy shades (as long as they have a little shimmer) but we recommend staying as warm as possible. Darker skinned lovelies can & should pull off any type of purple however the darker your skin tone the more shimmer you should add to blueish-purples.

Secondary Purple

Regardless how much purple you will put on at once, it’s a colour that can transfer into accessories and (some) cosmetics as long as you use a light hand. This is a secondary colour so it is vibrant and too much of it should be avoided no matter where you wear it. Our advice is to opt for sensuous fabrics, shimmering sheers and bold accessories. To learn more about secondary colours be sure to check out our colour basics lesson. There are several ways you can use the colour wheel to help you decide what to wear with your purple.

Colour Wheelsl

Complimentary Colours

Complimentary colours are opposite to each other on the colour wheel and have a higher degree of contrast. It’s silly when you consider that purple’s compliment is yellow – which is not a colour we would ordinarily recommend as a match. If would actually consider it, try warm metallic golds, sweet creamy lemons or go all out with bright sunny yellows.

Analogous Colours

Analogous colours are directly next to each other on the colour wheel, so they tend to be more monochrome & easier to match. Purple’s nearest neighbors are reddish-purple and bluish-purple, both of which are actually workable if you do it right. Try glittery lavenders, deep shiny berries or sparkling violets.

Colour Wheelsl

Triad Colours

Triad colours are equally spaced out along the colour wheel & like compliments they provide high contrast matches. In purple’s case it’s orange and green (both also secondary colours). Neither of these colours match particularly well with our sweet purple, but if you’re up for the challenge, keep your colours bold but soft. Try warm corals, bold grass greens or dusky sunset oranges.


Split-complimentary colours start with one base colour and then takes the two colours next to it’s compliment. Sounds confusing, but the concept is simple. When we use purple as our base, it’s split-compliments are yellowish-orange and yellowish-green. These shades work surprisingly well with purple and we like creamy limes, soft citrus oranges or barely-there apricots.

Purple Eye Glasses

Inspirationail’s Picks

We like using our colour wheel to help find combinations we’d never have come up with. However, we also tend to rely on our inherent fashion sense to help with matching (luckily we have plenty of that). For most purples we like shimmering pearls, deep glittering silvers and translucent pinks.

Your Two Cents

In the end, you have to make the decision…you are the one wearing the purple. We’ve given you a few new ideas (and a few tried & true ones). Please leave us your purple-matching ideas in the comments below, we need all the help we can get! And, stay tuned because next week we be featuring a round-up of all Inspirationail Colour School lessons.


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