What Does Purple-Tie Attire Mean?

by Melissa McKee

Coordinate the pattern of your shirt with your tie in varying shades of purple.

Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

White-tie and black-tie affairs have recognizable rules governing the dress code. "Purple-tie affairs are not as common as the more established black-tie affair, but are popular among non-profits and/or fundraiser organizations looking for a function with a theme," said image consultant and men's ware expert Grant Harris. Angela Walker, a budget stylist, explains plainly, "A purple tie dress code is a dress code that requires the guest to dress in purple." Harris concurs and adds that there are several ways to approach a purple-tie dress code; but note, the rules of a purple-tie affair will vary depending on the host.

Purple-Tie Dress Code Is Determined By the Host

A host can recommend a purple-tie dress code for several reasons. Purple may be a personal preference or a significant color to the club, military organization or non-profit hosting the event. Purple tie lends itself to formal or casual events. The dress code is often clearly stated on the invitation. If you have questions about the dress code, contact the host. When in doubt, Harris recommends you lean toward a more formal attire. He advises, "It's much easier to remove formal clothing to achieve a casual look than upgrade a casual look to a formal level."

Standout While Adhering To the Dress Code

In a room full of men wearing a suit, shirt and tie, be memorable by remembering the extra 10 percent. Accessories and accouterments in varying shades of purple will convert a guest from dressed to well dressed. Suits with a breast pocket were made to be filled. Choose a pocket square in a shade of purple or with purple accents to standout. A man can adhere to a purple-tie dress code by adding purple accents such as shoelaces, cuff links and a signet ring. Walker echos Harris' advice and recommends that women adhere the purple dress code by wearing a festive purple party dress for either a formal or cocktail event. Walker recommends shades of purple to complement a women's skin tone. "For light skin tones, avoid dark shades of purple. Look for colors that are lavender or with a pink undertone. For olive to dark skin tones, deep, plumy purples as well as shimmery lilacs will look fabulous," she said.

The Key Is To Be Minimalistic With a Few Accents

Two or three accent pieces in purple will help a guest to honor the dress code. For a woman to stand out, Walker recommends adding hints of purple with accessories. Walker suggests women "try an opaque pantyhose in purple, a colorful bouquet of purple bangles around the wrist or a purple necklace." According to Harris, there are two areas most men miss the opportunity to dress up: socks and lapels. These are two areas men can take advantage of to add a hint of color and abide by the dress code. Wearing socks in a shade of purple or with purple accents will set a man apart from the pack. Likewise, dressing up the lapel is a statement many men neglect to make. Lapel flowers are very masculine and rooted in military history. If a man is not comfortable with a real flower, handmade flowers made from ceramic or felt is an option. Different flowers have different meanings, so the guest can coordinate a flower's meaning with the theme of the event.

Coordinate But Don't Match

Adhering to a monochromatic dress code is simple once you learn two key rules of coordination. The primary rule is to coordinate, but do not wear the same shade of purple. Couple deep, saturated purples such as an aubergine with a pastel such as lavender. Second, mix major elements with minor elements. If the tie has a large pattern, the pocket square should have a small pattern. The three steps to coordination are color, pattern and proportion. Consider all three elements when coordinating the suit or dress, and accessories.

Photo Credits

  • Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

About the Author

Based in New York City, Melissa McKee has been writing lifestyle articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared on various women's lifestyle websites. McKee studied writing in The Len and Louise Riggio Honors Program at The New School.