There is a woman in my apartment building who only dresses in shades of purple and lavender. She has smooth, white hair, that she always pulls back into a neat twist and whenever she plans on actually leaving the building, she wears a hat (wool in the winter and straw in the summer) and short gloves. Of course, her accessories are always in varying hues of aubergine.
This morning, as I was leaving for work, she was sitting on the bench near the back door of the building. Her shoes were sensible, low-heeled pumps, in a deep, reddish purple. Her handbag, the short strap of which was tucked into the crook of her arm, was a light lilac. The predicted 75 degree weather had her wearing her straw hat, and even the frames of her sunglasses were a purple-y pink.
I wonder if she has always dressed like this, declaring when she was 15 that purple was going to be her signature color. Or was it a trait that she affected when she got older, desiring a way to make dolling herself up an easier proposition. When her children and grandchild shop for her, do they only buy gifts in shades of purple? Does she ever long to switch it up and wear bright red or electric blue instead?
As I walked to work this morning, I pondered colors. My wardrobe is an assortment of black and denim, occasionally punctuated by a pair of red shoes, or rare foray into the world of creams and greens. I like color, but prefer to make it an accent rather than the whole look. This is one of the ways I take after my grandma Tutu, she spent her life in blacks and navys, occasionally pulling in a bit of red or animal print and setting the whole thing off with heavy gold jewelry and leather handbags.
When Tutu died, I dressed for her funeral service as if I were her. I wore a black sweater, with one of her gold pins secured at the point of the V. I carried her leopard print purse, wore black heels, red lipstick and dark sunglasses. I wonder if when this woman dies (I am not wishing her gone, just acknowledging that death comes for everyone), people will wear purple for her.