I hate purple

Um. So.  I hate purple.

WRONG. WRONG ON SO MANY LEVELS.

WRONG. WRONG ON SO MANY LEVELS.

Which is sort of sad, y’all. Hating a color? It’s weird, and frivolous, and has no earthly point to it.  All the same, I hate purple. Not all purples, mind you, though if you show me a purple garment I will probably duck and run rather than put it on my body. Probably.

lilacMind you, I like some purple flowers.  Lilacs, orchids, grape hyacinths, wisteria, crocuses, irises, pansies, tulips, violets: all good. (Lavender: not.)

grape juice_0   Ihave no objection to purple jam or juice or fruit.

cut youBut if you painted my bedroom purple, or replaced all my blue and green and cream and coral sweaters with purple ones, I would have to cut you. There’s just something about it that makes me feel, okay, depressed and angry and, I dunno, wrong.

As for purple perfumes… hmm. Well. You’ve got perfumes in purple bottles, and then perfumes that smell purple. What smells purple? Lilac. Lavender. Plum or berries. Violets. Heliotrope, maybe, though I tend to think of heliotrope as smelling cotton-candy pink. I have iconoclastic taste when it comes to purple perfume, too…

There aren’t that many that I’d choose to wear. Certain lilac ones, maybe – like DSH White Lilac, or Patou Vacances (though Vacances is at least as green as it is purple, or maybe even more so).  OH! Of course, Guerlain‘s lovely silvery-lilac Apres l’Ondee, I’d wear that.  Dior Poison, in that skeery deep purple bottle, though I admit it doesn’t smell as intensely purple as it used to. Lalique Amethyst wasn’t awful. I like Natori, in that purple bottle, and Thierry Mugler Alien, ditto, but neither one actually smells “purple” to me.  And violets, of course, of which there are a plethora of lovely violet scents: Penhaligon’s Violetta, for choice, but also Annick Goutal La Violette, and the apparently-disappeared Soivohle Violets & Rainwater (sad, it was lovely stuff). I rather like Lolita Lempicka.

But I hated Guerlain Insolence. Hated the stinky-jasmine purple juice of Serge Lutens Sarrasins.  Hated Marc Jacobs Lola. Was not impressed by SL Bois de Violette.

Okay, fine… I like THIS shade of purple:

THIS ONE, I like.

THIS ONE, I like.

How’s your relationship with purple, whether color or smell?

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23 Responses to I hate purple

  1. Liz K says:

    My husband loves purple and thinks I should be constantly draped in it *shudder*. I can handle aubergine- in fact, I love aubergine but that horrible 80’s unicorns and glitter purple I can not stand. My sister in law’s wedding colors were purple and silver and I managed, through many hours of patient guidance, to tone it down to plum and to ensure that I was wearing a silver dress.
    Purple perfumes? Lolita Lempika is the only purple bottle in my closet but I do have several nice violet scents (mostly SSS).

  2. mals86 says:

    I do like a soft orchid purple (pinky-purple, not too dark), but other than that – shudder.

    My daughter was a “purple girl” – Ohhhhhh, how much purple stuff I bought when she was little… She still likes it, but prefers blue. (I was a red girl myself.)

    I have not really gotten along well with SSS violets. I’m not sure why.

  3. Tiara says:

    No Mary Greenwell Plum?!

    Having raised 2 boys, purple wasn’t around unless it was juice or jam. With a granddaughter who loves loves loves pink and adores purple, I see more of it than I care to. But she’s happy so we’re happy. (That phrase “She’s small but mighty” applies to her.)

    I’m wearing Violets and Rainwater today but sparingly. I’m so sad Liz has D/C this but I’ll move on once it’s gone. I have several small bottles of her Figgy Plum which I will enjoy but those too are D/C. She and I obviously have different tastes so I don’t think I’ll buy anymore from her. She’s broken my heart enough.

    • mals86 says:

      MG Plum does not smell purple to me!! It smells peachy-pink like the color of the perfume itself. In fact, the plum note in it is so tart that I think of it as being those yellow plums… mirabelles?

      V&R was so nice. And so clever. SIGH. I still must buy another bottle of Centennial before it is all gone. Funny that she’s keeping Writing Lyrical Poetry, because even though I generally love white florals, that was supREEEEMEly stinky on me.

  4. Vanessa says:

    I have been meaning to consider my colour prejudices – as regards perfumes, and generally – for some time now, and you have kickstarted me with this discussion of purple. As a rule I am wary of ALL purple or lilac scents, including a very dodgy release by Sarah Jessica Parker that might have the word ‘bloom’ in it, but don’t hold me to that – and Lanvin Eclat d’Arpege.

    I love a heathery mauve, and it is the only form of purple I can wear. Parma Violet is a no-no, also that bright magenta you picture in the post. I don’t mind manifestations of purple in other contexts / on other people though. The clergy would be a bit stuffed without it, for example.

    • mals86 says:

      I can live with purple on other people – but not as a large part of the decor in a room. (The CEO’s sister, as a young teen, wanted her room painted a pale lavender, and when I would stay with his parents during the time of our engagement I slept there. Shudder. My brother’s wife bought a purple sofa; every time we visited I found myself staring everywhere but at it.)

      My grandmother adored purple, and I was always having to explain to her that if she planned to buy me clothing and expected me to wear it, it should never be purple. That sounds hideously ungrateful, I realize… sigh.

  5. Laurels says:

    My mother ADORES purple, is never not wearing it, would have the entire house (inside and out) purple if my father would let her. She would be thrilled to have a purple-loving granddaughter, but has to make do with two beloved grandsons, instead. (She and Liz K’s husband would be quite a pair. Purple with silver is in fact her favorite color combination.) She liked Elizabeth Taylor Passion mostly for its bottle, but it made my father sneeze. I can take purple or leave it. It seems to be a popular color for “Elixir” flankers.

    The color I can’t stand is mustard yellow. It was the color of my truly awful jr. high gym uniform, a one-piece zip-front thing that made even the girls with cute figures look lumpy. (This at a time when t-shirts and shorts were perfectly standard.) I can’t stand actual mustard either. Luckily it doesn’t seem to be a color that turns up in perfume.

    • mals86 says:

      I don’t want to decorate with or wear mustard, either… but I should probably add that my mom looks great in it. So does my sister, the redhead. (Great long family story which I will summarize here: my grandmother, the purple-lover, once bought my teenage mother a winter coat. In royal purple. Velveteen. With diamante buttons. My poor mother haaaaaaated it… but she had to wear it because there wasn’t money for another coat. But when Mom got her first job, she bought a coat to her own taste: tailored olive green tweed, with wooden buttons. She gave the purple coat back to her mom, and they both wore those coats, respectively, for another 15 years. I remember them. We like the colors we like.)

      HATE ET Passion. Gah, kill me now.

  6. Portia says:

    One of my best friends is PURPLE! Has been for the 30 years I’ve known her. Purple hair, clothes, house, homewares, accessories. PURPLE!!
    I quite like it via association, and for itself.
    Out of curiosity are the mauve roses you like called Wise Portia? I have them in the front yard and they are very bombastically fragranced.
    Portia xx

    • mals86 says:

      Oh boy, purple… I loved my grandmother, whose favorite color it was, but for me: urk.

      I have no idea what those roses are called, I just went looking for an image with a color I liked. There they were. So maybe I need some Wise Portia roses!

  7. Tiara says:

    Still considering more Centennial? Saw this on my Twitter timeline:

    Soivohle Sale: http://soivohle.com code SPRINGSALE 15% off plus free shipping

  8. Natalie says:

    Hmm. I have never thought about this in the context of colors as a whole, which leads me to believe I’m neutral on purple. But purple flowers? Generally, no! Purple perfumes, generally, do not work for me. Not sure Lolita Lempicka would have smelled purple to me without the bottle and ad campaign. Maybe purple-black? In any case, I think it is the only “purple” perfume I like.

    • mals86 says:

      I’m neutral on… oh… green, as a color. Certain shades I really like, some I don’t, but there are very few of them I hate.

      Lolita Lempicka surprised me – I thought, as a “riff on Angel”, that I’d hate it. Instead, I rathed liked it. There’s no stonking wallop of patchouli to ruin LL, though.

  9. Always wish I could weed out the purple perfumes, and never succeed. Violette Precieuse or some sort of heliotrope or lavender are the irreducible remainders. ( and I can hear you shrieking, yes I can, all the way from Virginia. Am the only gal blogger in creation to like lavender).

    However I’d like to see Portia’s purple friend, it’s no easy color to pull off for one year, let alone thirty.

    • mals86 says:

      It’s funny, heliotrope doesn’t SMELL purple to me. I had some in the garden a few years ago, and they smelled so so delicious.

      I feel like a freak for not liking lavender. I mean, I don’t even like it blooming.

  10. ChickenFreak says:

    I struggled to express my feeling about purple, and realized that this quote does the job:

    “If you don’t know how to pronounce a word, say it loud!”

    Purple is wrong. But when it’s at its most intense and obnoxious, it’s glorious. I hate subtle purple; I love it when it explodes.

    • mals86 says:

      Well… That’s one way to look at it! My community chorus director insists that if you’re going to sing a wrong note, you should sing it loud (so it can get fixed, of course).

      I like all kinds of purple flowers. But OUTSIDE.

  11. Tourmaline says:

    What a revelation! I first discovered your blog on 10 February 2013, when I found a link to your wonderful post, “The Big Violet List”, from 14 October 2010. (In my defence, I only obtained internet access two years ago, at the age of 50.) As someone who loves violet perfumes (among many others), I felt as though all my Christmases/violets had come at once. I subscribed to your blog on that day. Sadly, I have neither seen nor smelled real perfumed violets; they don’t grow in my warm corner of the world, Brisbane. Experiencing Viola odorata up close is one of my goals in life.

    Anyway, imagine my surprise when I read this new post and learned that you hated the colour purple! Given that my love of violet perfume, with its strong association with the colour violet, was what brought me to your blog in the first place, the irony was amusing. I have never commented before, largely though lack of time, but on this occasion I cannot restrain myself.

    I take the opposite view. Violet is right – right on so many levels! Violet is my favourite colour, but not just any violet; it has to be deep and rich, with a lot of blue in it, like a strongly-coloured amethyst (not one of the paler, so-called “lilac amethysts”). It can’t be light and therefore insipid and it can’t be too bright and garish, bordering on fluorescent. I don’t particularly like the purple colour sample that you have provided; it has too much red in it for my taste. For me, the best violet takes qualities from each of its parent colours – the richness of red and the coolness and dignity of blue. One of my least favourite colours is a pale pinkish-purple, which I never wear because it makes my fair skin look a sickly greenish-yellow.

    I think that violet is often at its best in small doses. I adore a black dress with a violet sash and amethyst jewellery. One of my favourite film scenes is the one from “The Witches” where Angelica Huston, as the Grand High Witch (who of course, like every witch, has violet eyes), makes her entrance to the hotel. She is wearing a black dress trimmed with deep purple flowers, an aubergine velvet hat, and amethyst jewellery including a fabulous asymmetrical necklace and chunky rings over her long black gloves. Later on, she wears another black dress with a violet bow at the back and a magnificent, floor-length, black and violet cape. I don’t even generally like bows, however this one looks good. I can’t imagine more stunning or elegant outfits. (I’m willing to overlook the fact that the character’s goal is to exterminate all of the world’s children.)

    On the day when I first saw this movie at the cinema back in about 1990, I had just sampled Balenciaga’s Le Dix for the first time at a department store, and I kept sniffing my wrist during the movie and thinking what a coincidence it was that I was wearing this superb violet-tinged perfume whilst watching the violet-festooned Angelica in action. Ever since then, Le Dix has been amongst my stable of favourites, and has always reminded me of the Grand High Witch (especially when I see the violet bow on the bottle and the box). Of course, this perfume would have been too sedate for her, and a shot of her dressing-table showed a bottle of Diva (Ungaro 1983), which is a rich chypre, and what could be a couple of bottles of Bal à Versailles (Jean Desprez 1962), a classic floral oriental, among other perfumes. I was sad when Le Dix was discontinued, but glad to find that it was still available on eBay.

    I have many clothes in violet, and more than my share of amethyst jewellery. Mind you, I think that jewellery in ruby, rubellite tourmaline, jet and black onyx also goes very well with violet clothing. While I don’t have a royal purple velveteen coat like the one that your mother bought for you, I do have a deep violet silk velvet jacket. I have violet silk scarves, aubergine gloves (short ones of leather and long ones of velvet) and a pair of knee-high, aubergine suede boots. Oh, and I also have a floor-length, hooded cape of violet crushed velvet, for those witchy moments in life.

    For years I have dubbed my study “The Violet Room”, because it is decorated in violet, with accents of ruby red and forest green. It has deep violet velvet curtains (which I made more than twenty years ago), vintage cloths embroidered with violet flowers, violet-patterned china, a selection of violet perfumes and scented products, a bottle of Parfait Amour (the violet liqueur), a selection of empty Beech’s Violet Creams chocolate boxes, a large amethyst crystal, a black and violet butterfly in a glass case, violet-dyed ostrich feathers, a foot-high aubergine lidded jar, violet candles and a bunch of silk violet flowers. The room is dominated by a huge framed print of “Libra and Her Sparrow” by Sir Edward John Poynter. (You can Google this; there is a lady draped in aubergine robes, with a wreath of violet flowers on her head, holding a sparrow and grapes.) The room also houses my collection of over sixty books on perfume.

    When decorating with violet, I think that the trick is to use natural materials and fabrics and avoid plastic where possible (my decorating preference in general). So, in The Violet Room, my violet stapler, hole-punch, sharpener and various other plastic items are in a drawer, out of sight.

    My love of violet has limits, though. I would not want a violet kitchen, dining room, lounge room, bedroom, balcony or garage, or a violet house or car, for that matter. My bedroom is “The Rose Room”, which is decorated in a medium true pink and soft green.

    Here in Brisbane we have our own famous lady who has worn violet exclusively for many years – Dale Spender, now aged 70. (You can Google her, too. She is in Wikipedia, where she is described as “an Australian feminist scholar, teacher, writer and consultant”.) Dale wears violet hair, clothes, shoes, jewellery and lipstick (and I think that she also has a lot of violet décor in her home as well) because of the association between the colour violet and the suffragette movement and the feminist movement in general. For me, the feminist connotations of violet are just a bonus.

    My violet soliflore perfumes include Violet (The California Perfume Company / Avon), Devon Violets (Aidee Bovey Tracey), April Violets (Yardley 1913), Violettes de Toulouse (Henri Berdoues 1936), Violetta (Penhaligon’s 1976), Violet (The Perfect Potion c. 1990), Violet (Woods of Windsor 1998), Les Météorites (Guerlain 2000) and Somersby Violets (Frostbland c. 2010?).

    My violet, lilac and other “purple” perfume compositions include Après L’Ondée (Guerlain 1906), L’Heure Bleue (Guerlain 1912), Le Dix (Balenciaga 1947), Aviance Night Musk (Prince Matchabelli 1983), Poison (Christian Dior 1985), Lipstick Rose (Frédéric Malle 2000), Pur Désir de Lilas (Yves Rocher 2002), Insolence (Guerlain 2006), and Rose et Violette (L’Occitane 2011).

    I also have Purple Fantasy (Guerlain 2001), which is in an aubergine glass bottle, but which does not smell the least bit “purple”. Michael Edwards classed it as a crisp floral with citrus fruity notes. I have included Aviance Night Musk (discontinued) above because, in a 1993 booklet, Michael Edwards listed violet as one of the heart notes. Like so many other perfumistas, it seems, I dislike lavender; however I always keep a bottle of Blue Grass (Elizabeth Arden 1929) for nostalgic reasons, because it was the first perfume that I ever owned. I came upon a 2 oz (60ml) bottle of it by way of a “lucky dip” at my school carnival back in 1967, when I was in Grade One.

    I look forward to trying many other violet perfumes in the future, including vintage Jolie Madame (Balmain 1953) via eBay, and Bois de Violette (Serge Lutens 1992).

    I apologise for the length of this comment; I am in my element when discussing colour, clothing, jewellery, perfume and the judicious combination of these, and I tend to get carried away. In any case, I would assume that those whose eyes glazed over early on would not have read this far! Thank you so much for your blog and for this highly entertaining post.

    • mals86 says:

      EDITED due to private comments from above commenter.

      It’s been a long time since I saw “THe Witches” and I can’t remember any of the clothes from it – but isn’t Anjelica wonderful in it? Perfectly perfectly evil. I love Roald Dahl… but my favorite of his books was “Danny, The Champion of the World.” My sister loved “Fantastic Mr. Fox.”

      • Tourmaline says:

        No, I can’t think of any individual colour that makes me feel bad, although I like some more than others. There are certainly colour combinations that seem “wrong” to me. For example, I hate the combination of violet and orange; I can hardly bear to look at those colours together and I don’t know why people sometimes put them together.

        The lower level of light on a rainy morning, particularly if I have to travel somewhere, can lower my mood. However I know that, apart from the legitimate concern about the higher likelihood of accidents in wet weather, this feeling is “all in my mind” and therefore under my control. While Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), where people usually feel worse during colder, darker weather, is a real phenomenon (and treatment can include light therapy), for me, the rainy day blues are my own doing.

        I’m aware that it’s a cliché, but there could be some event/s from your past or things that you have heard or read about purple over the years that have caused you to associate it with feelings of sadness. There is a lot of nonsense written about colour, for example that pink is for girls and blue is for boys and so on, but of course colour existed long before human beings even evolved. The important thing is that if you don’t like a particular colour, then you don’t have to use it.

        No doubt my list of violet soliflores seems a little too “inclusive”, however my curiosity about violet perfume is such that I will collect and sample any violet scent, regardless of whether I would wear it. Yes, I’ve heard that many people don’t like Insolence; however I like it in very small doses. A little of the body lotion, alone, rubbed into pulse points, is enough to last all day on me.

        Indeed, Blue Grass (which I don’t especially like and would never buy if it hadn’t been my first perfume) has changed over the years, as has almost every other fragrance. I feel very fortunate that I had my major burst of interest in perfumery at the beginning of the eighties, and did vast experimentation during that decade, long before the changes brought about by the EU. I have fond memories of trying (and buying) perfumes such as Paris and Poison when they were first released, and of sampling (and in some cases buying) scores of others that have long since been discontinued, including L’Aimant (Coty 1927) – one of my favourites, Quadrille (Balenciaga 1948), Clair de Jour (Lanvin 1983) – another favourite, Fleur de Fleurs (Ricci 1982) and Balahé (Léonard 1983).

        No, I haven’t even begun the hunt for Jolie Madame or any other perfumes as yet, and won’t be doing so for a while due to financial constraints; however it is good to have this sampling to look forward to.

        Yes, Angelica Huston is wonderful in “The Witches” – perfectly evil and, I would add, perfectly sexy, thanks in part to her magnificent black and violet outfits. If you get a chance, take another look at the movie sometime just to see her clothes. I usually find bows to be “little girlish”, however she actually managed to make that violet one atop her black-clad butt look sexy.

      • Bookworm says:

        You are weird. Those of us who have lived with you know this.

        There aren’t any colors that make me sad by themselves, just when something is the wrong color. (Like the night sky in cities. The night sky should be black (assuming a clear night) and have stars, not be this funky dark blue/brownish color.)

        My favorite Roald Dahl: The BFG. (I like bellypoppers.)

        (I am in an especially parenthetical mood tonight. ) <– Points to anyone who gets the reference. (Mom, fb message me if you don't get it and I'll explain while being disappointed.)

        • mals86 says:

          I TOTALLY GOT YOUR REFERENCE. So there.

          I remember reading The BFG to you… and to Taz (he liked James and the Giant Peach).

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