[Editor’s Note: For the fourth consecutive year, reader Kary Klismet is celebrating Purp Walk with a report on the apparently inexhaustible topic of teams wearing mismatched shades of purple. Enjoy!
This post is part of Uni Watch’s 2023 Purple Amnesty Day content. For additional background and details, look here.]
By Kary Klismet
Over the past three Purple Amnesty Days, we’ve looked at teams — notably the Los Angeles Lakers and Colorado Rockies — that have struggled to match the shades of purple in their various uniform elements. This year, we’re exploring an even more insidious phenomenon in the uni-verse: teams that intentionally mismatched their purples. Indeed, as astonishing as it may sound, there are teams out there that treat purple inconsistency as a feature, not a bug.
Any discussion of intentionally mismatched purple uniforms should start with Kansas State University. The Wildcats were possibly the first to unleash this phenomenon when their men’s basketball team debuted lavender away jerseys over darker purple shorts in 1973:
K-State maintained this signature style through the early ’80s before returning to their senses (to the extent that a purple-clad team can). Unfortunately, though, they couldn’t kick the lavender habit. After breaking out lavender throwbacks for a 2003 cameo, they revived these two-tone terrors as full-fledged alternates in 2018:
They still wear tweaked versions of that uniform to this day:
In 2019, they also added a throwback of their 1970s home uniform. While not as (in)famous as the road design, the home uni also featured mismatched shades of purple (throwback shown below, and here’s the original):
While the Wildcats have enjoyed plenty of publicity for the recent resurgence of their plethora of purples, they’d probably prefer we all forget their 2008 “homage” to their old lavender look:
Unfortunately, lavender lunacy isn’t limited to K-State, or to college hoops. If you look at the world of international soccer, you’ll find a distressingly large number of kits that have featured multiple shades of purple:
Closer to home, a new generation of North American clubs has drunk the (grape) Kool-Aid and mimicked their international counterparts:
In the midst of this plural plum pandemonium, one team still stands out: East Carolina University’s baseball team — which, of course, is the inspiration for today’s Purp Walk live event in Greenville, N.C. Normally content to wear one shade of purple, this year they doubled down with their new “powder purple” uniforms:
Come on, ECU! How could you have possibly thought that wearing such a two-tone chromatic catastrophe would look good? Wait — what was that about Uni Watch T-shirts? Uhh, as I was saying … only those with the utmost in sartorial sophistication can pull off a look this layered and complex. Well played, Pirates! And welcome to the Purp Walk party!