In fact, Queen Elizabeth I forbade anyone except close members of the royal family to wear it. Purple’s elite status stems from the rarity and cost of the dye originally used to produce it.
Purple fabric used to be so outrageously expensive that only rulers could afford it. The dye initially used to make purple came from the Phoenician trading city of Tyre, which is now in modern-day Lebanon. Fabric traders obtained the dye from a small mollusk that was only found in the Tyre region of the Mediterranean Sea.
The color’s name was later changed to “mauve” in 1859, based on the French name for the purple mallow flower, with chemists calling the dye compound mauveine. And that’s how the elite royal color became widely available and affordable thanks to a young scientist’s serendipitous experiment.
Facts above courtesy of livescience.com
Its not a oft mentioned color among men if the question ever popped up – “What is your favorite color for shirts”?. You will hear the usual “red”, “blue” and “white” or maybe even “black”. You may draw a few stares if you put your hand up and said “Purple”! Its not even a color of choice among the famous football clubs in England like Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester.
And yet its a color of royalty on account of its scarcity and price. We are, fortunately, not in such a situation today and I do have a purple shirt that peeks out from my wardrobe albeit in stripes. It would have been hard to have a completely dark purple plain shirt for me. Purple stripes do add a dimension of modernity and royal class (I hope).
I am wondering too about the words “purple patch” and got the following from phrase.org
‘Purple patches’, which are also sometimes called ‘purple passages’ or ‘purple prose’, were originally a figurative reference to florid literary passages, added to a text for dramatic effect. They were the literary equivalent of adding a patch of purple material to an otherwise undecorated garment. Purple was chosen because, as well as being a distinctive colour, it was the colour reserved for emperors and other distinguished statesmen in imperial Rome. Most of the early references to ‘purple patches’ contain clear evidence of classical origins, many of them including Latin text.
And to celebrate the passing of a great musical legend – Prince – Purple rain and Jimi Hendrix – Purple Haze. Its all in fun and new thoughts for new colors.
Why wear purple then?