Whether or not a purple tie pairs well with a black suit is a common sartorial dilemma. The combination can work, but it requires careful attention to tone and accessorizing to pull off successfully. In this article, we’ll examine the factors to consider when deciding if purple and black go together, provide guidelines for styling the colors, and offer advice on alternate tie options if you decide the pairing isn’t right for you.
The Theory Behind Mixing Purple and Black
In color theory, purple and black are considered complementary colors, meaning they appear opposite each other on the color wheel. Complementary colors create high contrast when placed side-by-side, which can make them striking and eye-catching. However, high contrast also means the colors can compete and clash if not balanced properly.
When combining any highly contrasting colors like purple and black, the general guideline is to use one color as the dominant shade in an outfit and use the other color as an accent. For example, opting for a primarily black suit with a purple tie in a lighter, less saturated hue. This helps the colors complement each other instead of clashing.
Additionally, the formality of the context matters when mixing bold colors like purple and black. The combination tends to work best for evening events and creative professional settings rather than strictly formal daytime business affairs. The bold chromatic contrast gives off a stylish, avant-garde vibe that’s better suited for cocktail parties and art gallery openings than board meetings and job interviews.
Factors to Consider
Here are a few key considerations when deciding if a purple tie pairs successfully with a black suit:
– Darker, cooler purple hues like eggplant, aubergine and wine work best with black. These deeper shades have an elegant, sophisticated effect.
– Avoid bright, warm purples like lilac and grape, as these tend to look garish and loud against solid black.
– Medium purple tones can go either way depending on the other factors. As a general rule, lean towards plum, mulberry and marsala shades over orchid or lavender.
– Less saturated, muted purple ties pair more easily with black. They don’t compete as much for attention.
– Highly saturated, vivid purple ties make more of a statement. Reserve these for events where you want to be bold and expressive.
Pattern and Texture
– Solid purple ties with no pattern tend to look best with a black suit. Patterns can push the combo into messy and mismatched territory.
– Subtle textures like knits and jacquards work better than shiny satin or slick silk. Matte finishes help ground the look.
– Ties with small-scale patterns like polka dots, stripes and paisleys can bridge solid black and purple. The patterns act as a buffer.
Black Suit Style
– Slim, modern black suits pair more easily with purple ties than baggy, shapeless suits do. The sleekness helps counterbalance the bold chromatic combo.
– Black suits with a subtle sheen of texture complement purple ties nicely. Completely flat, matte black can look a bit lifeless.
If you decide to style a purple tie with your black suit, these tips will help you pull off the pairing successfully:
– Stick to one lighter purple accessory against a predominantly black outfit. Too much purple overwhelms the look.
– Introduce other accent colors like silver, white or light blue for balance. Don’t rely solely on the black and purple for visual interest.
– Wear a white or light gray shirt rather than darker colors. This prevents the suit and tie from blending together.
– Skip flashy metallic purple ties in favor of deeper eggplant, wine and plum hues for a classy vibe.
– Select a tie with an interesting but subtle texture like small geometric patterns, textural jacquard or microdots.
– Adjust the shirt collar, tie knot and jacket lapels so the purple tie hits right at the belt line for proper proportion.
– Polish off the look with complementary accents: patterned black and purple socks, silver cufflinks, a white pocket square.
– Purple ties work for creative business settings but avoid ultra-formal occasions like job interviews where unconventional color combos could be frowned upon.
– Feel confident rocking the purple and black combo! The high contrast projects sophistication and confidence when executed intentionally.
Alternate Tie Options
If you try out the guidelines but decide the purple and black pairing still doesn’t suit you (no pun intended!), consider these alternate tie options to wear with a black suit:
Deep red burgundy ties pair flawlessly with black suits across all contexts from board meetings to weddings. The rich tones complement each other beautifully.
Navy Blue Tie
A dark navy tie projects professionalism and works for any formal business occasion when paired with a black suit.
Steel Gray Tie
On the cooler end of the spectrum, steel gray and black make a fantastic power duo for professional settings.
Ties with monochrome patterns in black, white and gray effortlessly match black suits without the high contrast of solid purple.
Understated silver, bronze and pewter ties add subtle shine and depth to a black suit for dressy events.
|Best Occasions to Wear
|Job interviews, board meetings, weddings
|Office work, client meetings, daytime events
|Work, social events, performances
|Cocktail parties, evening events, creative settings
|Weddings, galas, arts events, night clubs
So while purple and black can create a stylish, eye-catching combo, it requires carefully balancing the tones and textures to avoid looking mismatched. If the pairing doesn’t suit your needs, plenty of alternate tie options from burgundy to navy to gray effortlessly complement a black suit across all types of occasions, both formal and creative. With the right guidelines, you can confidently mix and match your suit and tie combos. Most importantly, choose option that makes you feel like your best self!