Who remembers back in the late nineties/early noughties, when purple was the colour to deck out your room, adorn yourself and paint your nails in if you happened to be a girl aged nine to thirteen with a penchant for Mizz Magazine, lava lamps and wavy, silver-framed mirrors? It was cooler than liking the Barbie-reminiscent, childhood-connotative pink, yet still feminine enough to be girly without having the tomboyish reference of blue. I think my first style encounter with purple as a 'cool', I'm-not-a-kid-anymore colour, was when, aged nine, I persuaded my mum to buy me a sequin-covered, satiny pair of low strappy heels from Tammy Girl to wear at the school disco. The more my mum shook her head at the Spice Girl-esque shoes with their miniture heels and repeated that they were too old for a girl my age, the more I inevitably wanted them, until finally she gave in, making me possibly the happiest nine year old girl on the planet. I thought I would love those shoes forever.
After that, purple was officially my favourite colour. I proclaimed a strong dislike for baby pink, adorned my eyelids with cheap purple eyeshadow from Boots and became the height of cool (or so I thought) by wearing those hideous stretchy plastic neck chokers from Claire's Accessories (remember those, girls??) Like any other self respecting pre-teen my age, when I was eventually allowed to have my room decorated in a colour of my choice, I went to town with an entirely lilac and silver colour scheme (FYI- our house resembled a building site for most of my pre-teen years, when we lived in a tent in the back of our garden whilst the entire roof was taken off and put back on again, before moving back in and living with bare plastered walls and glassless windows covered in plastic sheeting for a considerable amount of time, so finally having an actual room with painted walls was kiiiind of a huge deal for me).
It was about the time I approached the age of fourteen, when I became a teenager overnight, that purple was suddenly no longer en-vouge. No longer content to listen to Dido CDs on my silver stereo whilst I crimped my hair and told ghost-stories to my friends on my purple, star-scattered duvet, I filled my days with reading melodramatic romance novels (The Thorn Birds, anyone?) watching hip-hop stars shake their bootys on MTV and lusting after miniscule items of fabric resembling clothing from stores like Clobber and Jane Norman (I know- the memory still haunts me today!) My desire to fit in and to become 'popular' and fanciable took over, and pink was suddenly acceptable again. I adorned my planner with stereotypical-heartbroken-misunderstood-teen song lyrics, inked carefully in bubblegum pink gel pen, and drew felt-tipped coloured pictures of Disney Princesses to impress the popular girls (whose year eleven planners were covered in Disney Shop sticky-tape, printed with the pretty faces of Belle, Ariel, Jasmine, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella). I found a new relatability in the Disney princess films I'd watched as a child, suddenly able to fully appreciate the romance of being whisked into jasmine-scented night air on a magic carpet and into a diamond-studded sky by the handsome Aladdin. When I was sixteen, Barbie pink, Disney Princesses and girly memorabilia suddenly became cool again, whilst my sequin covered purple shoes were probably donated to a charity shop along with the purple dress with black lace overlay that I wore to celebrate the millennium. Having fully embraced my girly side again, I unashamedly sprayed my hair with magenta streaks, built up a collection of candy-coloured tops, skirts and dresses and lusted after boys in pink Hacket polos and pink-striped lacoste shirts. When I was finally allowed to re-decorate my room again, just before my GCSEs, the look was full-blown baby pink and black: think baby pink satin curtains edged with black beading and pink satin headboard embroidered with the outline of a black lace heart. Pink was in again, and I incorporated it into my makeup draw, pencil case, and of course, wardrobe. From the ages of fourteen to the age of around nineteen, I don't think I wore one single purple item.
Since then, purple has slowly began to filter back into my style radar, and these days, being someone who is no longer limited by the desire to fit in as I was in my adolescence, I find that there is space in my closet for anything which happens to be inspiring me at the current moment, weather or not it's 'in'. My re-introduction to purple has began slowly, with a sparkly vintage indigo slip here and a deep mauve, slightly shimmery Mac lipstick there (it's called Violetta, btw, and it's my new best friend.)
Just lately I've begun to be more and more inspired by the colour purple, and seduced by it's mystical, magical connotations. To me, as well as being the colour of my child-to-teen transition years, purple is the colour of night, mystery and magic. It's the colour of a star- filled, inky-dark night sky, a velvety smooth, gently rippling ocean and, correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure it's the colour of Dumbledore's moon-and-star covered cloak in the first Harry Potter book. What's more- for some reason- purple to me is also the colour that I feel best epitomizes the whole Harry Potter Series- that feeling of snuggling on the leather sofas on a humid day in our old playroom in summer whilst a thunderstorm rages against the rain-washed windows, that feeling of smelling the summer rain mixed with that distinctive, comforting musty smell of the pages of a book whilst reading about Hogwarts and Honeydukes and the Three Broomsticks- that magical, cosy feeling is inescapably and undeniably purple. And since I have been re-reading the entire Harry Potter Series almost every summer since I was eleven as a kind of tradition, I am currently starting again on The Prisoner of Azkaban, which is making me feel in a thoroughly purple mood indeed.
Purple also reminds me of violets, which I think are some of the most beautiful, vibrant-petaled flowers there are. Right now in our garden, an array of lovely, jewel-toned purple flowers have recently burst into bloom, and when you look outside at dusk, it's like this muted lush green backdrop, scattered with dots of bright, vivid, purple that just seem to glow ultra-violet, like gems in the dimness.
These are all the things that are collectively inspiring me right now, and making me fall a little head over heels for the deep, mystical, night-sky shade. Not to mention that my uber-stylish friend Justine recently wore out a sparkly purple vintage top as a dress which I am a tiny bit obsessed with. As any readers of my previous posts will know, I have a major thing for vintage and also for anything sparkly, so if it's sparkly, vintage and purple, then you really can't get any better. Right now I love the idea of throwing on a sparkly, over-sized top/dress, teaming it with mega heels, tonnes of necklaces and long, wavy, free flowing hair. Here are some pictures that capture my current purple haze:
Our garden at dusk, taken by me just after the rain had fallen: