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What goes with what

Making the case for: The colour purple

Making the case for: The colour purple

"I completely understand if your first reaction to this headline is 'Purple, really?' and your second thought is 'Absolutely not'. In fact, I was on the same page until a year or two ago. But far from asking you to dress up like an extra in a Prince music video (may he rest), I'm more interested in the power of a deep, rich aubergine to give you a break from your usual neutrals.

"Aubergine's what we stylists call a jewel tone—a vivid, gemlike colour such as sapphire blue or deep teal. These colours are so rich and nuanced they can make basic clothes look higher quality, and they flatter every complexion; they look particularly good against darker or tanned skin. If you're already a fan of charcoal, navy, black, dark green and maybe a bit of burgundy, then dark purple's a nice next step.

"Purple goes better with shades of grey—white, black and grey—than it does with navy, because there's more of a contrast; there's little chance the colours will blend together. Purple socks or trainers can pack a subtle punch, while a polo shirt's one of the easiest ways to wear any colour (because we're used to seeing them in bolder hues). T-shirts and jumpers are also good entry points, as if yours feels like too much of a statement you can also lessen the impact with a jacket.

"You'll notice that I'm mostly recommending more relaxed clothes, and I guess I generally suggest starting casual. Of course, if you're a suit guy, you can't really go wrong with an aubergine tie, a fine-gauge jumper, or a nice pair of socks. But usually I'd ease purple into your favourite casual outfits.

"My own purple polo-neck jumper has been a personal revelation. I wore it with a grey check suit and tan shoes to a wedding, and I stood out. While my early qualms predicted a crowd-wide 'Who's the dude in the purple jumper?', instead I got one single, significant nod: 'Smart outfit, mate.'"

Thread associate stylist Tahmid Akthar