A Raven runway?

Purple may be a high-fashion color this season, but Ravens fans still need to step up their fashion game, stylists warn

(Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore…)
September 12, 2010|By John-John Williams IV, The Baltimore Sun

Lilac, magenta, eggplant, aubergine, mulberry, blackberry, and purpley-pink.

This fall, purple reigns supreme among the fashion elite.

Yves Saint Laurent, Donna Karan, Phillip Lim, Alexander McQueen, Badley Mischa, and Robert Graham all released designs of the purple hue for their fall lines. The trend will continue into the later months as designers this week at the Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week also showcased purple pieces.

In Baltimore, a city that bleeds purple because of its connection to its NFL football team, it seems like a perfect excuse to play dress up at games. Too bad the team's jersey and other sports accessories won't make the haute couture cut.

"When I think of purple as a trend I don't think of the Ravens jersey, much to their dismay," said Pascale Lemaire, a stylist based in Silver Spring. A former fashion editor for Baltimore Magazine, Lemaire has worked in the Baltimore area for decades."We need to step it up."

Lemaire has noticed a considerable number of high-end fashion pieces running a gamut of the purple palette while shopping for her celebrity clients.

"I am seeing so much purple out there," she says. "It's everywhere — men's, and women's clothing. The Ravens better enjoy it while they can."

Lisa Ponzoli, owner of Babe, a boutique in Federal Hill, couldn't have planned the purple reign any better. She loves the color — her store and its gift bags are both of the purple family. Plus, she's a Ravens fan.

"Purple is usually a strong color for fall. But the past couple years it has been particularly strong," Ponzoli says. "You see it sprinkled everywhere. This year there is so much layering I think it is being used as a pop color. I'm seeing a lot of solid purple. Or a hint of color."

Ponzoli carries a slew of fashionable cocktail dresses and other purple pieces that would be perfect for parties, get togethers and formal occasions. But will it work for football games? That's debatable. Ponzoli, and some other die-hard fans who also happen to be fashionably conscious say no for themselves but yes for others.

"It's Baltimore," says Ponzoli in reference to her game day attire. "Baltimore is a little more nitty gritty —especially during a game day. Obviously it depends on your personal style."

Liz Koontz, the executive assistant for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake, is a Ravens fan who wouldn't mind seeing some fans emulate the high-fashion take on purple, especially earlier in the season when the weather is considerably warmer.

Koontz laments that there aren't many stylish Ravens logo clothing options —especially for women.

"Some of it is pink," she says. "And it's not as stylized. The stuff that is out there for Ravens isn't really that cute."

Instead, Koontz plans to dress up her Ravens jersey with an accent piece. She has her eye on a silk-blend purple ombre scarf she spotted at Nordstrom in Towson Town Center over the weekend.

"I might go back and get that," she says. "It was perfect."

But Lemaire says the only acceptable way to wear a jersey is the purple Alexander McQueen silky jersey dress that can be found at high end stores such as Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, or the blackberry colored jersey dress by 3.1 Phillip Lim, which can be found at Ruth Shaw Inc., a boutique in Baltimore.

"That's killer," Lemaire said about the Lim dress. "It's the perfect solution to the little black dress. It is the little purple dress. It is fabulous."

Lemaire explained that jersey is actually a fabric weave that can be made of a number of fibers such as silk, wool, nylon, or polyester, which is what a football "jersey" is made of.

If a female fan must wear a Ravens jersey, Lemaire suggests that she pair it with skinny jeans or jeggings. A heel, or military boot "will give that big oversized jersey some life," she said.

Surprisingly, Ravens front office employees are not allowed to wear team jerseys to games. They are required to dress in what is described as a high-end business professional attire.

As a result of the requirement, and her six years with the organization, Elizabeth Jackson, the organization's director of human resources has built up a considerable purple wardrobe. She was ecstatic when she saw that purple was among the it colors this fall.

Jackson said it is perfectly fine to wear shades of purple to games. In fact, she encourages it. She suggests that female fans find a unique purple piece of clothing to show team support.

"Our shade of purple is a nice shade of purple, but it is hard to find," Jackson said. "Any shade of purple is nice, and understated. It looks a little edgy and it still supports the team."


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