The Colour Lilac

Written by Megan Valero

While we are one the subject of finding your lilac, I thought it would be interesting to sit back and understand a bit more about the colour and its history. Living in a time where literally every single colour and every minutely different hue is freely and cheaply available has made the appetite for colour a less zealous affair. The sheer volume of choice is overwhelming and easy within reach!

The days where, ounce by ounce, some dye colours were as expensive as gold are long gone. Exclusivity amongst colour might have disappeared but the history lingers.

Purple Haze

Purple used to leave a trail of dead snails before synthetic dye became readily available. The Royal Purple, Tyrian purple, was a dye so expensive only royalty could really afford the colour. In the sumptuary laws of the Elizabethan period it was against the law to wear purple if you were not royalty.

The heavy connotations of darker shades of purple have a burden. Purple represents royalty, wealth and mystery. Villains are often cloaked in purple and the decadence, once envied, can seem full of malice and greed. The maturity of a dark purple is not of wisdom but of corruption, unwillingness to adapt and entrenchment in a broken system. That’s heavy stuff!!! 

Purple is a colour that seems somewhat overlooked in the modern world. It doesn’t sit as reliably as blue, as frivolous as pink or as alluring as red.

It’s not all negative and no one can deny the beauty of a jewel tone purple, the positive connotations to purple include loyalty, magic and bravery. While fashion and trend are cyclical, the strong history of subconscious connotations is something to consider, navigate and embrace.

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So where does that leave Lilac? 

After that pretty dismal conclusion to purple, where does lilac fit in? Named after the flower, lilac was given its long standing name in 1775. The paler shades of purple present a completely different set of connotations, the connection to Spring and flowers mean thoughts of renewal, innocence and love. So lilac brings an entirely different set of values and ideals to the table. Whimsy, natural beauty and imagination. 

This means lilac has spent time being regarded as an immature, somewhat childish colour but the emotions it elicits such as kindness, innocence, vulnerability and optimism make this colour strangely disarming and charming.

Lilac VS Lavender 

I have to admit, I didn’t exactly know why Lavender and Lilac were different and frequently confused the two! I know, Blasphemy. Purple comes about from mixing together red and blue. Lavender is colder and has more Blue to its mix while Lilac is warmer and has more Red/Pink tones. It’s been said that lavender is the more mature colour, while lilac is the playful younger sister.

Find Your Lilac

Where Mauve blends in, Lilac stands out. Where Lavender is cool, Lilac is warm. Lilac is a bold colour and even a colour lover like me sometimes gets overwhelmed by how much it seems to clash and call attention! However we firmly believe there is a lilac for everyone!

Lilac comes in enough shades that I’m confident you will be able to find your perfect hue. Cut One Pair did an amazing blog showcasing lilac in all it’s variations, hop over (link here) to see what they’ve done. I’ve also quickly put together some shades of lilacs to think about. I took all the images from our Pinterest board (here) for the Lilac Lovers Party. I’ve been adding to this board regularly and I think I need far more lilac in my wardrobe!

I am personally drawn to a classic lilac colour or a bright lilac. I find paler lilacs just don’t make me feel as comfortable and don’t pair with the other colours I’m naturally drawn too. Picking a colour for yourself does in part include what compliments your skin tone but it also includes looking at how you view yourself and how you want the world to view you. I’m a bit less chic and a bit more lively.

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Your style 

This challenge is not only about lilac but exploring your own personal tastes. Throwing aside trends and thinking about what colours make you feel good. I encourage you to create a moodboard for yourself. Look through your fabric stash. Go to shops to try on colours you might not originally gravitate towards. You never know what you might like when you step out of your comfort zone.

Fashion favours the bold and the true to themselves. Have fun finding out what lilac works for you.

Happy lilac finding,