Make a play for purple in your wardrobe this season. Lisa Haynes reveals how to work the Quality Street shade.


Run for your lives, colour phobics - because purple is the new black this season.

The rich shade dominated the international runways, quite literally, as some designers even demonstrated their allegiance to the colour by creating purple catwalks.

"Purple is making a welcome return to our wardrobes," says Veronique Henderson, Colour Me Beautiful's creative director.

"With a colour palette that ranges from damson and aubergine, to lavender and amethyst through to deep plum, there really is a shade that everyone can wear."

Purple doesn't have to scream 'Quality Street wrapper', it's all about finding the right shade, texture and style for you. Here's how to pull off purple with aplomb.

Daytime damson

While purple is perfectly suited to eveningwear, this new 'It' colour can work for daylight hours too.

For city chic, choose a powerful shade to make an entrance into the office with tailoring. Go for a matchy-matchy skirt or trouser suit if you dare.

For a softer look, plump for a textured fabric like tweed.

You can also tone the colour down a notch by wearing a white shirt under a purple top or short-sleeved shift dress.

Henderson suggests: "If you are feeling creative, combine textures and patterns. Team a chunky purple knit with a floaty dress and a pair of winter boots."

The truly colour-shy can experiment with accessories for a subtle flash of colour. Add accents of purple with scarves, gloves, shoes, handbag or bold jewellery.

Indigo opulence

Give your LBD a break for a dose of pure purple glamour. Go to town with statement jewel-like tones like amethyst, indigo and violet.

Create a lasting impression by wearing the shade top-to-toe and add embellishment and bling for a modern-day regal look.

"The romantics amongst us will love details whether that's beading, fringing or lace," Henderson says. "This season, look out for purple dresses with lace overlay and heritage-inspired looks a la Lady Mary of Downton Abbey."

For a glam separate, you can't go wrong with a purple peplum top or skirt. The combination of punchy colour and extreme flared hem will create drama as well as figure flattery.

Try pairing a deep purple with this season's opulent brocade finishes - purple and metallics are a match made in heaven for party season.

Pick your purple

Although fashion has favoured the famous Cadbury colour this season, the key to parading purple in style is opting for the right tone. Veronique Henderson offers her purple tips:

:: If you have a light colouring, like Uma Thurman or Meryl Streep, periwinkle shades, violet, lavender and bluebell will look amazing. Keep to lighter purple shades and if you want to wear with other colours also mix with light tones.

:: If you have a deep colouring, like Penelope Cruz or Halle Berry, then damson, fig, aubergine, royal purple and plum are the shades to opt for as they have a greater depth.

:: If you have a warm colouring, like Christina Hendricks or Tyra Banks with their golden skin tones and auburn hair, stick with the purest purple and mix these with warm tones like oatmeal, lime or amber.

:: If you have a clear colouring, like the Duchess of Cambridge with her dark hair and bright green eyes, you'll sparkle in classic purple and bright periwinkle. Aim to wear your purple in stark contrast with other colours.

:: If you have blue eyes and/or steely hair such as Dame Judy Dench or Jamie Lee Curtis, then cool shades of purple are a great wardrobe staple for you. Think bright periwinkle, violet, lavender, plum, cassis and amethyst.

:: If you have a soft and muted look a la Kim Cattrall and Scarlett Johansson with light brown or highlighted hair and soft blue or green eyes, then you need purples that have a softer approach such as soft violet, amethyst, damson, mulberry and lavender. Wear as a blended look, which will also make you look taller and slimmer.

Get the look

Alesha Dixon looks bloomin' gorgeous in a metallic jacket as one of the faces of this year's Poppy Appeal. Find her exact gold swirl print blazer at River Island now, £60 (

Buy it now

Take charitable steps with TOMS and Movember. The organisations have teamed up to support men's health and provide new shoes for children who are in need. This year, the signature Movember moustache appears discreetly in maroon on grey aviator twill classics. Available for both men and women, £45, with proceeds benefiting Movember, and a pair of new shoes to a child in need. Available now from

Fashion flash

:: Toting up costs

Seems we're going gaga over baby clobber. The average child under one owns 56 different outfits and a typical tot's wardrobe is worth £327, according to a new survey by Marks & Spencer. More than half of all parents admit throwing baby clothes in the bin, which is why M&S is calling on mums and dads to recycle or 'shwop' more of their children's baby clothing. 'Shwopping' is Marks & Spencer's clothes recycling initiative where customers can donate any item of clothing, of any brand, to be reused, resold or recycled by charity partner Oxfam. For more information visit

:: Recessionista alert

A party dress for under £1? That's the frocking offer from new style website OMG Fashion. There is only one purchase per address and the sparkly panel dress is available for 99p on November 6, 11, and December 4 at On your marks, quids at the ready.