In the past, a male politician wanting to project seriousness would opt for the old standby of a red necktie. But in recent months Gordon Brown, the British prime minister and go-to guy of the global financial crisis, has conspicuously chosen purple ties, as have his foreign secretary and the chancellor of the exchequer. For Zoe Williams in the Guardian, purple is the new color of the political class, with Michelle Obama leading the way.
A purple tie has complex associations, writes Williams: While it mixes red and blue into a third "new-world-order shade," purple is also the color of royalty and can give a politician a regal air. If Brown is trying to capture those meanings, he is also capitalizing on purple's Obama connotations: The future first lady's dress at the St. Paul "fist bump" rally was an instant classic. But stick with darker tones, she recommends: "We're not talking about violet, which is a whole other story."
(Read more Gordon Brown stories.)