You know, I’d like to understand what’s led me to liking the colour purple so much.
My preferred colourful Nigerian palette has shifted with each life stage. During my cold northern UK early school days, generic black and white appealed as they were easy to match clothing-wise, particularly with the principle blue colour of casual jeans and their associated relaxed vibe. Truth be told, I always enjoyed bright colours and would dress as such with many patterned jumpers displaying a full rainbow spectrum. This all-season summery preference blended into the background until I went to university, however.
During a freshers week meeting with a group of 60+ students mainly from London (land of the ‘cool’), I saw near everyone was wearing darker colours: darker jeans, darker tops & jumpers, darker jackets & scarves, darker everything! ‘Ah, I could die (or perhaps ‘dye’) right here…’ I thought. With that, night seemed to fall on my subconsciously sunny preferences as I consciously became aware they made me stick out in this new social setting.
Upon graduation, I wore my ceremonial cap and gown…and the traditional scholarly yet obscure black seemed to rub off on me. I went through a phase blending with my own shadow, ‘mainly in colder weather as dark colours help with heat absorption,’ I told myself. I recounted the same thing to my host parents from my hot southern Japan latter school days when, during a visit in my early 20s, they bought me a bright orange scarf. They insisted, ‘a young lady shouldn’t be wearing such dark colours all the time!’
In any case, them throwing shade on my shaded tones seemed to have kicked me up the bum. In the ensuing years, my mid-late 20s wardrobe was always filled with colourful options. There were scarlet rose hats, marmalade earrings, lemon tops, lime belts, ocean spray trousers and chestnut shoes. But I and others soon started noticing there were often also lavender caps, beetroot shawls, aubergine blouses, violet dresses, fuchsia coats, plum denims and lilac sandals. Yes, I’d developed a passion for the passion fruit hue.
So why was this the particularly purple case? On reflection, was it because back in the day, one uni flatmate said it was her favourite colour…then one uni workmate wore it always to the point I started calling her my ‘purple girl’? She’d looked perplex when my Cheshire Cat grinning face addressed her as such. Then the next day she said she’d caught sight of her laundry basket and the entire thing was indeed a pretty pile of pleasant purples.
Had an incognito indigo seed been planted in my psyche since then? Perhaps. But ultimately, I think it’s just a colour that straddles nicely between hot red and cold blue to make the perfect compromise of the two palettes.
Now all my friends know I’m the ‘Purple Girl’ and the rainbow’s last arc is often their first thought when selecting travel souvenirs for me from their own colourful life journeys.