This is not a fashion column, but I must point out that TCU and Kansas State are not only purple.
The two teams playing football in Fort Worth Saturday wear the exact matching shade.
For the record, that’s not just Purple and White you’re cheering for. In printers-ink terms, both schools’ official color is Pantone Matching System 268, “Royal Purple.”
That is, except on the field.
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“We have a school color, and also a Nike color,” said marketing division official Steve Logback of Kansas State.
Instead of purple, both teams wear uniforms in Nike’s “New Orchid,” more of a violet with less blue.
Yes. I know this might come as a shock.
But you’re really cheering for the Orchid and White.
TCU lightened the sports uniform color two years ago to avoid having players’ jerseys look blue on TV, or at least that was the explanation then.
There was brief talk of completely changing the school color to the lighter New Orchid, also known as “University of Washington Purple.”
That — uh — faded.
“Royal purple is a prestigious color, a classic,” said Gorland Mar, director of TCU’s Office of Graphic Design and a veteran of 20 years of debates about hue and shade.
“We’ve gone a shade darker since I started,” he said. “I think we had a color [like Northwestern University’s purple] that came out a little too red.”
If you dip into the inkwells, TCU and Kansas State’s official school purple is mixed with dark royal blue and a dab of black. The lighter “orchid” color used for uniforms is more of a straight-up blue-violet.
It’s fairly obvious why the early-day AddRan Christian University students, then in Waco, chose church purple in 1896 for royalty and white for “clean play.”
( Historian Ezra Hood has written that the players didn’t actually wear purple until around 1912, starting with striped socks.)
It is less clear why Kansas State students chose purple, but that was also in 1896, thanks to a committee of three senior women. (Officially, they chose only the one color.)
Both schools have gone through every shade of purple in the swatchbook, including those embarrassing 1970s years of lavender jerseys and alumni in knobby-polyester lavender leisure suits.
“Every now and then we bring those out for a laugh,” Kansas State’s Logback said.
“In the 1980s, they decided the teams needed to look darker and meaner. It was a good move.”
And — oh, by the way: If you’re a TCU fan, don’t wear either purple or white Saturday.
TCU asks fans to wear certain shirt colors each game depending on the stadium section.
This game is a “black-out.”