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Best Violet Costumes & Dresses in Movies by genre
Purple Color Meaning
In Ancient times the color purple was associated with royalty. This is because the dye used to achieve the color was super expensive and thus only those in positions of power and prestige could afford such a decadence.
While purple still holds its royal and luxury associations it also evokes feelings of creativity, wisdom, power, ambition and a touch of fantasy and magic. As purple shades are a combination of red and blue the color can be both simulating and soothing.
Warm Vs Cool?
The combination of red and blue does create an interesting issue: Is the color more red or is it more blue? Shades of purples can look more blue like in Violet and others can look more red like boysenberry.
This list is for shades of purple that appear cooler. Shades that look like they have a higher combination of blue values. These shades include colors like Violet, Periwinkle, Indigo and so on. It’s not totally precise. I did check hex codes and color values but it mostly came down to nitpicking just based on how the costume looked in the film or iconic images. The word Purple is used than Violet on the list.
Purple movie costumes that have more red tones or shades that just appear warmer like magenta and other shades of the red/blue combo have their own list page.
How does this List work?
This ranked list is broken into three sections based on film genres (or type): Fantasy/Sci-fi/Comicbooks (anything fantastical in context,) Modern Movies meaning that the movie takes place around the time it was made (about five years or so) and Period pieces which take place in a different time period. Though sometimes a costume can be listed in a different genre than the film’s genre it just depends on the context and narrative. Or sometimes the costume will adhere to the film’s genre. The rules are more like guidelines.
In total there are 30 costumes ranked here in groups of ten.
Articles of clothing, like undergarments, cover-ups, sleepwear, outerwear etc are not included.
The costumes are ranked by aesthetics, memorability and how it suits the character/film. My own subjective opinions do influence the order as it’s my list. I do try and be objective as I can but it’s hard.
This List will likely change in the future because they keep making movies.
Read with Caution
Barbara Novak from Down with Love
As a plan to get her controversial book more attention Barbara Novak, played by Renée Zellweger, arranges to meet with a hot-shot ladies' man journalist for an interview, Catcher Block. The trouble is he keeps canceling on her. The final straw for Barbara is during a breakfast meeting when she proclaims that she would never meet with him. This is however all part of her grand master plan.
To this failed meeting that she knew Catcher would not attend, Barbra wears a charming light vibrant dress. It is very fashion-forward for 1963 as it is form-fitting as the fuller skirts of 50s new looks were becoming slightly dated.
The fabric is textured and ruched at the seams. The neckline is straight across with little white beads at the edge and down one side to the mid-bust. Also on the bodice are four round buttons. It sleeveless gives the looks cool vibe which suits Barbara's “cool blonde” persona.
She pairs the look with a matching straw hat with a wide ribbon that is in a bow at the center front.
Costume design by Daniel Orlandi
Elizabeth I from Elizabeth the Golden Age
Elizabeth the Golden Age is a 2007 follow-up to the 1998 movie Elizabeth, which followed Elizabeth's early days as Queen. The Golden Age shows her in conflict against the Spanish Armada.
Queen Elizabeth I, played by Cate Blanchett, wears this rich royal purple when she learns that the Spanish Armada is approaching and when she learns of a perceived betrayal from one of her ladies.
The fabric looks to be a heavy moire silk. The collars are different in the two scenes as she wears a high collar and neck that is made from a black lace when the armada is closing in and not as high and without the ruff detail in the scene with Bess.
Black lace is used as cuffs on the long sleeves which are cut wide at the top which give it a leg of mutton appearance. Shoulder guards are made from purple velvet which offers a nice contrast of texture.
At one side of the bodice there is an asymmetrical beaded draping of five stands of silver beads. This beading draping starts at the shoulder and crosses over the bodice and is attracted at the opposite lower side front.
Down the front center of the skirt there is a wide band of velvet that also edges the hemline. At the edges of this velvet is beading.
The costume certainly displays Elizabeth’s power and authority but it also suggests a level of somberness.
Costume design by Alexandra Byrne
Set in Edwardian period prior to World War I, Funny Girl is a biopic that is also a comedy drama about Fanny Brice played by the incomparable Barbra Streisand.
During the dinner scene with Nick, Fanny wears a deep royal violet color that has a slight hint of gray to it. Nick compliments how the color looks with her eyes to which Fanny makes a quip about how it only looks good with the right and she hates what it does with the left. The color of the dress pops against the rich red tones of the room
The costume is definitely a 1960s interpretation of an Edwardian evening gown. The bodice is empire and heavily beaded. There are some lovely longer stands of beading lining the arm holes. The lower skirt is gathered up into a poof around the knees and trimmed with a thick band of darker purple flowers. Below the poof the skirt fits slightly closer and the fabric looks like it has a pleated texture. The lining fabric looks like a dark green gray color.
This look is not only lovely but super iconic.
Costume design by Irene Sharaff
Georgiana The Duchess
he costumes of The Duchess are often praised for their attention to the lavish details of the late 18th century and historical accuracy.
While attending the opera Georgiana, played by Keira Knightley, wears this heavily detailed purple gown. The gown is made from a shiny darkish purple fabric that has a gray undertone.
The fabric also has a soft organic pattern that is tan and black. The black ruffle trim on the neckline, cuffs, skirt edge and down the center front has a pink rose pattern. A fabric rose is sown at the center of the neckline. The gown is fitted at the back.
The outer skirt is very fashionable as it is pulled up and gathered at the back. The inner skirt is quilted and made from a different shade of purple. It is also striped. At the hem the fabric looks like it has been pleated.
Costume design by Michael O’Connor
Queen Victoria The Young Victoria
The Young Victoria is one of those unassuming movies that is often seems to be missing from the amazing costume movie discussion. The period of fashion that the movie depicts is one of transition as the young Queen herself transitions from heir to sovereign from child to adult.
This gown is seen towards the end of the film when Victoria, played by Emily Blunt, and her husband Prince Albert get into a fight. The gown is a deep vibrant periwinkle color. The sleeves on this gown are notably less full that the sleeves seen on other costumes which shows a shift in style. While the elbow length sleeves are more fitted they have a double layer of white lace. The neckline is off the shoulder and the bodice comes to point which is another fashion forward aspect of the gown.
The neckline as well as her headpiece are adorned with irises.
Costume Design by Sandy Powell
This was Sandy Powell's favorite costume in the movie.
Estella from Great Expectations
Great Expectation is a coming of age story but it also is a story where the past generations tries to heal their own traumas through the next generations. This can be seen as the former jilted bride, Miss Havisham uses her ward, Estella, to get revenge on the men of the world by deceiving them, seducing them and finally breaking them.
The 2012 version’s costumes are a modern take on the last regency. The costume designs were inspired by the work of both artist Thomas Gainsborough and Alexander McQueen to create the look of the costumes.
As an adult, Estella, played by Holliday Grainger, wears a lot of rich colors as a means of contrasting the lighter colors she wore as a child.
She wears this costume when she famously tells Pip that she doesn’t have a heart. The gown is deep rich purple which reflects her position and cool attitude. It has that very classic regency silhouette with a high empire waist line. There is a high standing collar at the back of the neck which looks like petals but the edges are raw and rough looking. Down the bodice there are black and purple ruffle like flower details. The sleeves are long and tight fitting with ruffles at the cuffs
These ruffles continue on the outer skirt layer. The ruffles go down the front opening as the outer layer is split. There are also three rows of ruffles at the hem. The underskirt is black.
Costume design by Beatrix Aruna Pasztor
Lucy Honeychurch from A Room with a View
The 1985 adaptation of A Room with a View is very much like a 1907 fashion plate come to life on screen. All the costumes are just so on point and perfect for the idealist scenes of England and Italy.
Lucy Honeychurch, played by Helena Bonham-Carter, Charlotte comes for a visit at Lucy’s Surrey family home and further discusses the Emersons who are staying nearby.
The ensemble Lucy wears during this scene is a blouse that has embroidery lavender flowers which is worn over a cream blouse made from lace insertions. There is some volume in the upper sleeves. She wears a matching skirt and a darker sash. The skirt has some subtle lace and seam details. The hemline has a flounce.
Costume design by Jenny Beavan and John Bright
Queen Gertrude from Hamlet
Say whatever you want about the infamous 1990 version of Hamlet that Cher from Clueless quoted but the costumes are without a doubt amazing.
Arguably Queen Gertrude, played by Glenn Close, gets the best costumes in the movie, especially this gorgeous purple look.
While there are a lot of colors in this look the soft cool light purple stands out quite a bit against the rich blue-purple, golds and white. Most of the components of this costume is heavily detailed with lots of heavy beaded embroidery and jewels on the crown, waistband and belt. The crown also has a veil with pendilia which are the dangling ornament that hang off crowns
This costume screams excessive royal decadence.
Costume design by Mauizio Millenotti
The costumes in Gladiator are a mash of Roman and modern aesthetics. They were not going to complete historical immersion. On the whole the costumes are great especially Lucilla’s fashions are great and perfectly showcase her imperial position in the Roman empire.
As Lucilla, played by Connie Nielsen, watches the arena in Gladiator she wears a bright royal blue-purple toga-like garment. The color reflects her status as a member of the imperial family as only they would have afforded such a luxurious color.
The fabric has sheen so might be made from a silk satin rather than the traditional wool. The most notable detail is heavy metallic embroidery at the shoulder.
Over the toga-like garment she wears a darker purple stole that also has metallic silver embroidery along the edges.
The costume is accompanied by a stunning crown.
Costume Designed by Janty Yates
May Welland from The Age of Innocence
The Age of Innocence is another example of film that is akin to walking fashion plates. All the looks in this movie just perfectly capture the grace and spectacle of the Victorian bustle of the 1870s.
While all the costumes in the film are lovely, one standout is May’s purple evening gown. May, played by Winona Ryder, wears it to a going away party for her cousin who also happens to be the lover of her husband. Basically the scene is a checkmate on May’s part where she proves she hasn’t been as sweet and naive as once thought. She hasn’t been the ideal Victorian young lady who needs protection of society but instead is cool, calculating and the smartest person in the love triangle.
To match May’s persona as the authority amongst the lovers, she wears an impressive bustle gown. The gown consists of a shade of purple. The bodice is a panel of floral darker purple velvet while skirt and bustle are a slight coolish lavender with horizontal gathers and pleats at the hem.
She is majestic and shows that she is the true victor in this story playing the game of society better than the romantic dreamers all while looking the part of the perfect Victorian sweet gentle beauty.
Costume design by Gabriella Pescucci
Clara from The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
The best one can say about The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is that it’s a fun Holiday movie with some great costumes.
The protagonist, Clara, played by Mackenzie Foy, stumbles into the world of the Four Realm more less invoking the imagery of Narnia.
The costume she is wearing when she discovers herself in a strange new land is a bright light tone blue-purple evening gown. It has a very prim and delicate look to it which is perfect for Clara’s youth.
The fabric is lightweight and has some draping in the bust and sleeves. A white lace trim edges the rounded neckline. There is a matching structured corset that makes up the bodice which has a matching fabric flower. The over skirt as well as the bustle is made from some lightweight sheer fabric of the sleeves. The hemline hits around the ankle and has a gathered ruffle at the edge which just further adds to the soft innocent appearance to the costume.
Costume design by Jenny Beaven
This costume could be in the period film section as it is quite period accurate however given that is movie is a time traveling sci-fi adventure it’s placed amongst the fantastical costumes
This costume is at the very end of the movie when Clara, played by Mary Steenburgen, time travels to 1985 with her family.
The look is spot on for the 1890s. It's a light blueish purple tailored suit with a wide skirt like a collar with a high neckline. The sleeves have fullness at the top and then taper towards the wrists. There is no bustle but instead it’s an A-line skirt. The suit is trimmed with black flat trim or soutache braid trim.
Costume design by Joanna Johnston
Jupiter Jones from Jupiter Ascending
Jupiter Ascending is an over-ambitious space-opera that mixes sci-fi and fairy tale elements. It also mixes the Cinderella archetype with inheritance drama. However the costumes are fun and sometimes super over the top grandiose.
This gown that Jupiter, played by Mila Kunis, is made to wear when she arrives in space is made up of light purple ruffles sewn all over a nude fabric. The ruffles are omitted from the side of the bodice creating a cut-out look. Small white crystals are sewn onto the nude fabric for visual interest. The gown is floor length, sleeveless and has a wide low v-neckline.
Costume design by Kym Barrett
The Princess from The Thief of Baghdad (1940)
The 1940 version of The Thief of Baghdad is a remake of the 1924 Douglas Fairbanks version. This version also serves as some inspiration for Disney’s animated Aladdin.
The movie starts in the middle of the story and a good chuck is told as a flashback. It works in the movie. The princess is under a sleeping spell that can only be broken by being reunited by her beloved who has gone blind because of the villain.
During these scenes which include the Princess, played by June Duprez, waking up, she wears this very interesting costume. There is an element of the fancy dress vibe here. It’s by no means trying to go for historical accuracy but rather leaning into that look of late 30s style mixed with what they thought went with the setting. It’s still quite a look and the Princess’ costumes are similar to that design choice but this one is the most strange.
It’s a mix of purple tone with gold elements on the bodice and on the detracted long sleeves. There is a wide waistband with an open split skirt. Underneath are pale lavender leggings with gold vertical stripes.
Costume design by John Armstrong, Oliver Messel, & Marcel Vertès
Effie Trinket The Hunger Games
The idea behind the outlandish fashions of The Capital in The Hunger Game franchise is that there is a disconnect between the brutality of what they do with their death games and wearing soft elements such as ruffles and flowers.
While Effie Trinket, played by Elizabeth Banks, has another iconic lilac look in Catching Fire it is this look from the first movie in franchise that just a little more her. She wears it when Katniss and Peeta arrive at the capital. It’s less severe of a look than her reaping outfit though still in the outrageous Capital style.
It’s a floral lavender color belted suit. The belt is the same fabric as the suit. To contrast it there is a green-ish gold layer worn at the neck opening and matching large scale flower in her hair. The sleeves are thick and have a weird accordion gather look which goes great with the voluminous peplum. The skirt is another pencil which is also lavender.
The combination of a two colored fabric lapel collar that stands up from the neck in back with the floral fabric gives a Kimono-inspiration mixed with early 2010s style with the pencil skirt, peplums and heels.
Costume Designed by Judianna Makovsky
Violet Baudelaire from Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
The 2004 film adaptation of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events which adapted the first three books in the series. The film studios thought it would be a film series but that didn’t happen and instead in 2014 Netflix announced a show adaptation which began in 2017.
The movie adaptation had a great look that blended a sense of modernity with a timeless and sophisticated quality.
The eldest of Baudelaire children is Violet, played by Emily Browning, who is a brilliant inventor. In addition to being smart she is also charming and resourceful.
Her costume does conjure a gothic steampunk look which definitely suits the style of film as well as Violet’s personality. The costume consists of a few fabrics. The body is made from a sheer gray fabric that has black stripes. It is layered over a cool mid-tone of purple. The bodice is a lace up at the center front which gives it a Medieval look while the sleeves look more Victorian inspired. The upper part of the sleeves are sheer gray over the purple and are double puffed that is trimmed with purple. The length of the sleeves is made from a wide grid mesh fabric and comes to a fitted point.
The skirt has a low to high hem front to back and goes mid calf to the ankles in back. The sheer fabric has a curved pattern in the lower part and there is a pointed edge on the hemline.
This costume is Violet’s most iconic look.
Costume design by Colleen Atwood
Padme Amidala Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of Sith
In a pivotal moment in the third installment of the Skywalker Saga, the republic becomes the galactic empire. Padme, played by Natalie Portman, in her capacity as a senator is a witness to this moment in the film.
During this scene Padme is dressed for her official duties as representing her homeworld in the Senate. As she has been concealing her pregnancy through the movie most of her costume are wide bell-shaped silhouettes.
The colors of this costume are textural tones of dark royal purples reflects that not only her status but also suit the somber tone of what is happening in the film
The costumes consist of at least two layers of a burn-out velvet robe garment with wide flared out sleeves. There is a subtle swirl like organic embroidery at the edges. This layer also looks like it has some panels of the fabric from the under-layer at the lower sides. The under-layer looks like it has some kind texture. This component has puffed sleeves that are longer than the outer layer so they can be seen. It also has a standing collar with velvet piping edging the sides and has a pink jewel closure.
Around the shoulder is a stole that is made from the same fabric as the under-layer and it has been tightly fathered. It fascinate with three silver brooches two of while are very similar to one she wore in episode II
Her hair is adorned with a silver crescent-shaped hair accessory.
Costume design by Trisha Biggar
Sister Evelyn from The Fall
The Fall is a feast for the eyes. The amount of visual spectacle and storytelling is over-whelming. Its narrative is imaginative and evocative as it makes suggestions about how stories are told, why they are told and how they are perceived.
The costumes fit with the scope of the visual language especially in the fantasy parts of the movie, as a little imagines the story being told to her with her friends in far off lands.
One of the costumes that Evelyn, played by Justine Waddell, wears for the longest period of time is a soft and very delicate costume that is swaths of lace and ombre dyed sheer fabric.
The costume has elements that look inspired by Victorian fashion. The sharply pointed bodice which is made from floral lace. The lace is different shades of purple. Along the neckline and down the front are 3 dimensional lace flowers. The skirt-like part is made from a sheer fabric that has been dyed in purple to white ombre. It is gathered in the back so that is reminiscent of a bustle.
She wears a gold locket that has significance in the movie.
Costume design by Eiko Ishioka
Arwen from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
The Lord of the Rings trilogy is very highly regarded for nearly every aspect of its filmmaking and approach to adapting its source material. The costumes have long been part of this praise as they are all so beautifully and very thoughtfully crafted.
Even costumes that were deleted scenes and then later added back in extended cuts are still as lovely as the ones that were in scenes that were kept in theatrical cut.
Arwen, played by Liv Tyler, appears in Aragon’s dream in The Two Towers. Since it is a dream it’s a double tiered fantasy costume as well as a very romantic scene between the two.
Arwen wears a diaphanous grecian style gown. It’s soft lightweight lavender with a draped cowl neckline and long floor-length floaty wing-like sleeve drapes. It has some very subtle organic silver embroidery as well that add to ethereal quality of the costume.
Shout out to the other purple costumes of Arwen that were cut from the theatrical cut of the movies.
Costume design by Ngila Dickson
At the beginning of Star Wars Episode II we the audience at reintroduced to Padme Amidala, played by Natalie Portman, ten years after the events of the first episode in her new role as a senator. She is the target in an assassination plot and thus must be protected by some Jedis that happens to already know, hijinks and forbidden love ensues.
The costume she is wearing when she has a senate related meeting and being reintroduced to Anakin and Obi-Wan is a deep rich dark royal purple gown. The inspiration for this look is rooted in the Elizabethan. The costume has an outer coat made from burn-out velvet with long hanging sleeves. The edges on the coat-like layer are done with a matching piping.
The under dress has a pointed bodice that is heavily beaded with silver at the bust. The long bell sleeves are also beaded with mix a purple and darker silver beading. This beading is also done on a panel over the skirt. There is also another inner layer to the sleeves that tight fitted and extends over the palm.
The gown is contrasted by the African Style headdress and necklace which are brass colored and made from stripes and rows of metal. The contrast of style inspiration helps to anchor the movie into sci-fi fantasy.
Like so many of Padme’s costumes across the trilogy it is not only memorable but it’s intricate, glamorous, regal and beautiful.
Costume design by Trisha Biggar
Rebecca Bloomwood from Confessions of a Shopaholic
Confessions of a Shopaholic is a fun brightly colored rom-com that has the under-current of an addictive disorder that is more or less paid for laughs and something that the character gets over quickly and fashion.
This deep grape purple party dress factor into the plot as a point of contention in the narrative. Due to her shopping addiction and debt accrued by it and her career and her friend’s wedding, Rebecca, played Isla Fisher, has a choice between it and her bridesmaid to be bought back from a charity shop and she has enough for only one.
The short flirty dress has a wide ruffle collar that goes down to one side of the lower section. It has no other detailing to make it both chic and sophisticated but fun giving the pop of vibrant color which suits Rebecca’s overall sense of style.
Costume design by Patricia Field
Ruth Wiley from Elephant Walk
The costumes of the 1954 film Elephant Walk are not so much a reflection of the character but made to look glamorous.
During a dinner scene, Ruth, played by Elizabeth Taylor, dons a very fashionable 50’s gown. The bodice is made from a layer of purple lace that forms cap sleeves over a white strapless gown that has a sweetheart neckline with a cinched in waist and a voluminous full tulle skirt.
The gray-lilac lace component has a nice draped hemline that is ever so short at center front and has more length towards the sides and at the back.
She pairs the gown with a swath of long white tulle as an evening shawl.
Costume design by Edith Head
Linda English from Pal Joey
Pal Joey is a comedy musical based on a musical play of the same name.
Linda English, played by Kim Novak, is a naive chorus girl in love with the womanizing main character, Joey.
In a scene with Joey, Linda wears a super chic ensemble. It consists of a soft lilac polka-dot blouse with a wide lapel and a plunging v-neckline. The form fitting high waisted skirt is a a brighter violet color. She wears a thin fabric belt that matches the blouse.
It’s very understated yet very sophisticated at the same time.
Costume design by Jean Louis
Judy from Vertigo
Vertigo is an Alfred Hitchcock psychological thriller. In it Kim Novak plays two very different women. There is the classy cool blonde Madeline and the vulgar brunette Judy.
Judy wears the bright purple dress to dinner. She is also wearing it in the iconic green curtain back-lit shot of her in silhouette. The bright color of the dress is meant to contrast the subdue colors that Madeline had worn in the first part of the film.
The dress is meant to look not elegant and not refined by late 50s Edith Head standards so still very pretty. The neckline is round and pulled through a cord that ties at the shoulder in bows. This creates a loose fit in the bodice. The back of the dress is lower and is wide v back. Again showing contrast. The waist is cinched in as it was fashionable and the length is long.
Costume design by Edith Head
Julianne Potter from My Best Friend’s Wedding
My Best Friend’s Wedding is a late 90s romantic comedy in the break-up the wedding from the inside variety.
Julianne or Jules, played by Julia Roberts, is trying to break up her best friend’s wedding as she harbors romantic feelings for him. As her luck may or may not have it she get asked to be the maid of honor and thus we have a bridal gown.
The stereotype of the bridesmaid gown is that they are ugly or tacky on purpose to make the bride look more beautiful. There are many bad bridesmaid gowns in movies. This one isn’t so bad, it’s rather pretty.
The soft violet color gown has minimal details. Most of the interest comes at the neckline. The is a dual neckline going one with a slightly darker sparkly purple halter neck that goes around the neck and peeks over the draped cowl off shoulder neckline.
The gown then extends down to the floor in a mermaid style silhouette as it looks like it flares out just below the knees.
Costume design by Jeffrey Kurland
Designing Woman is a 1957 Rom-com about a whirlwind romance that results in marriage and the misadventures as the new couple adjusts to each other’s very different lifestyles
During a big scene involving the couple’s clashing friend groups, fashion designer Marilla, played by Lauren Bacall, wears a very voluminous gown. It is made from a white sheer blouse that resembles a dress shirt however ultra feminine with the sheer fabric, very big puffed sleeves with pintucks. The blouse is worn over a strapless white under-layer.
The high waisted full floor length skirt tones of mid-violet with thick vertical stripes of darker purple and thinner strips of white. It also has a wide matching waistband. Like the sleeves of the puff it is a statement skirt.
As Marilla is a fashion designer this costume reflects her sense of style. It is in keeping with the look of the late 50s but it just pushes things just enough to be cutting edge too.
Costume design by Helen Rose