Ask Belle: Do Tough Guys Wear Purple?

Jan 13, 2011

Dear Belle,

I hate shopping. But my girlfriend wanted to pick up something last Sunday so we dropped into Nordstrom before we went to lunch.  Next thing I know, I’m in the men’s department trying on clothes.  I probably tried on 30 items, and just to stop the madness I bought a pair of jeans–which, come on, they’re jeans–and she talked me into a purple sweater.  She says it’s “eggplant.”

Now, I own this thing and I don’t know what to wear it with.  But I have to wear it, or it will be a thing. 

Sincerely,

Do Tough Guys Wear Purple?

I laughed my head off when I received this e-mail.  Mostly, because the signature line is hysterical.  But also, because this poor guy thinks they just “dropped in” to a department store and just wound up trying on clothes. 

I’m not saying she planned this for weeks, but I am saying that the second you stepped foot in that mall, you were going shopping.  Your girlfriend’s premeditated, men’s department drive-by aside, this is a very common problem.  

Girlfriend/Wife/Mom buys you a piece of clothing and now you have to wear it, but you don’t know how.  This is especially problematic if the piece in question is either an odd color, a bold pattern, or outside of the box in any way.  But, yes, tough guys do wear purple.  (And pink.)

If you’re going to give a new outfit a test flight, you don’t do it at work.  If I want to try something new, I wear it to dinner, to church, or break it out for Saturday errands.  This way I can decide whether it works for me without the fear that I’m embarassing myself in a professional setting.  Here’s an outfit that would be great for a Saturday night dinner date.

Add a dark or medium wash jean and a black driving moc and your good to go.  Don’t own a grey sportcoat?  Navy or camel would be nice.  Black would also be acceptable, but I’d switch to a light grey pocket square in that case.  What, you don’t want to wear a pocket square?
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: A pocket square takes from the minor leagues in Dubuque to Wrigley Field.  No single item of clothing has the transformative power of a pocket square.  So buy one, or 12.  

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  1. Rachel says:

    I think purple is a great color on guys. I've been trying to get my male best friend to try it for years. Strangely, pink is something he's absolutely fine with.

    Also, the Cubs fan in me clapped a little that Wrigley Field is what you chose to highlight the pinnacle of success.

  2. LW says:

    I also love purple on guys! My friend wore a great lavender striped button-down on NYE, and he looked great and stood out against the sea of black and white.

  3. Dr. Jean Grey says:

    Dark complected guys can look great in purple. Those are the only dudes who can pull it off IMHO

  4. Emil says:

    Purple is fine as long as the contrasts are right and it's not easily confused for pink. Every time I wear purple (either a tie, or a checkered shirt or a v-neck sweater) I get compliments. The darker, the better, save for the odd situation where I'm wearing a light grey suit or pants, in which case light purple (but NEVER pink) is all right.

    Then again, I do have darker skin so perhaps there is some truth to what Dr. Jean Grey says.

  5. Amy says:

    Belle, I love you so much–especially that you put an Iowa reference into this post! I moved here a year ago from Des Moines–home of the Iowa Cubs, the Chicago Cubbies minor league team. And I must agree–the pocket square will take you from small town Iowa to downtown Chicago. 🙂

  6. Jennelle says:

    Purple + camel is awesome on guys. I love your blog, BTW! I work for my state legislature as a staffer and I bought some heels with a rubber sole after your post suggesting them. Good advice for running (literally) around on marble floors!

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