Earlier this month, U.S. based colour authority, Pantone announced that the colour of 2018 is ultraviolet. While this claim is more pointed towards interiors, there are touches of violet and lilac emerging in this season’s early menswear collections and while we don’t advocate purple flocked overcoats or lilac chenille knits, we’ve found five brands that share our thoughts on why this colour should make an appearance in your wardrobe over the next 12 months.
Worn in moderation, violet looks great combined with dark indigo blues and it complements more earthy tones such as brown, rust and ochre to boot. Brian Woulfe has gone so far as to celebrate the colour’s ‘heady cocktail of punkish rebellion and regal opulence.’ Here’s our own little celebration of it for you.
1. Cotton and cashmere herringbone shirt
If you’re unfamiliar with this small boutique on London’s Piccadilly Arcade, then I would urge you to pay it a visit. Occupying the same premises since 1910, Budd Shirtmakers is to shirts, ties and more besides, what Willy Wonka’s factory is to chocolate – a cornucopia of delicious colour. With the widest selection of coloured silk knitted ties in London, it’s no surprise to us that they offer the perfect hue of lilac in their shirts, too. This cashmere and cotton example is from the ready-to-wear range and is handmade in the company’s workshop in Andover, Hampshire. It has a warming, soft handle that’s perfect for this time of year, yet its light composition will see you safely into spring.
A welcome change from the usual white work shirt, this delicate colour with its subtle herringbone works particularly well with navy and charcoal tailoring, yet feels casual enough to wear off duty with sand or olive cotton chinos and fine merino wool knit. £275, shop now
2. Drake’s hand-rolled silk tussah tie
There’s a debate in the fashion world at the moment as to whether ties have had their day. We happen to disagree – and if 40 years of making beautiful neckties anything to go by, so does Drake’s. A brand that has built its enviable reputation by offering a depth of prints and vivid colour, this year’s colour trend of violet, lavender, lilac and purple is featured in many of Drakes’ patterned ties. Our favourite is this rather bold offering, made from raw spun tussah silk. The silk’s natural slub gives the tie a subtle, mottled texture that contrast nicely with a smooth cotton poplin shirt. In fact, the rich pop of colour will compliment most business shirts: from your classic white, to blue or lilac Bengal stripes. £135, shop now
3. Albam dyed denim trucker jacket
There’s something quite serendipitous about this lilac denim jacket from British brand Albam, that has not only hit on this year’s top colour trend but also the utilitarian aesthetic of a boxy workwear jacket. A welcome change from the usual indigo denim jackets, this garment-dyed style has a matte, dry finish with a subtle texture running through the cotton drill. It’s definitely more lads in lilac than ladies in lavender; it works as a smart layering piece under a camel or grey herringbone overcoat, or on its own; worn over a white cotton T-shirt or a long sleeved Breton stripe top, paired with cotton chinos. Finish with a pair of white canvas plimsolls for a chic, spring-friendly casual look. £199, shop now
4. London Sock Company ‘Ottaway’ socks
The easiest way to inject a bit of seasonal colour into your outfit is with some clever accessorising – and this pair of Lisle cotton socks with their distinct checked pattern is a good start. While these are on the darker side of the violet spectrum (okay, yes they’re purple) they will add that requisite splash of spirit-lifting colour, worn with sombre navy or grey suiting on your morning commute. If the enlarged houndstooth pattern is a step too far, then opt for the London Sock Company’s plain ribbed version to get your colour-of-the-year fix. £17, shop now
5. Brooks Brothers Supima cotton crewneck sweater
It’s not every year that a fashion house gets to celebrate two centuries in the business, but Brooks Brothers has done just that this year. It’s a testament to the brand’s enduring appeal that it has weathered the frivolities of fashion by sticking to its core ethos – designing timeless American classics. After all, Brooks Brothers is responsible for inventing the button-down shirt, and popularising the Ivy League look with its college blazers, preppy chinos and varsity-style knitwear.
With that in mind, this cotton cable-knit in the lightest shade of lilac has a fashionable touch of the Ivy League about it. Embrace it’s preppy appeal and wear with a pair of navy or stone tapered chinos, a button-down shirt underneath and finish with a tailored navy blazer with patch pockets. Dress the knit down with a pair of canvas Superga trainers, or smarten-up with chunky leather brogues and a college striped silk tie. This colour and style also teams comfortably with chambray shirts (best worn with the collars popped up) and trim indigo jeans. £130, shop now