Hannah (Jordana Blake), Warren (Stephen Kunken) and Serena (Yvonne Strahovski) in The Handmaid's Tal...

The Handmaid's Tale Introduced A New Dress Color, And It's A Doozy

Oh no no no no no.

by Ani Bundel
Sophie Giraud/Hulu

Much of the world of Gilead in The Handmaid’s Tale comes directly from its source material, Margaret Atwood’s harrowing novel of the same name. This includes the clothing: Commanders wear black, Wives wear blue, Aunts wear brown, Marthas wear green, and Handmaids wear red. In the book, little girls wear white until marriage, but in the series, that was changed to pink, but fans have had multiple seasons to get used to that switch. So, it was a huge shock to see Hannah’s *purple* dress in The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5, Episode. As June kept repeating,“What was that color?”

Warning: Spoilers for The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5, Episode 3 follow. June has every right to be concerned about Hannah rapidly growing into adulthood in Gilead without being rescued. The last time viewers saw Hannah (now named Agnes by her new parents), she still wore pink, and she’d reached the point where she barely remembered June anymore. Like the kids June rescued from Gilead and sent to Canada, Gilead was all she remembered, all she knew, and the home she’d come to love. That was why Serena Joy used Hannah in the funeral procession. She was showing June that Gilead (and Serena Joy) had won in the place that counted.


But the change in outfit color was what had June really scared. She’d never seen anyone in purple before, and she could only imagine what it symbolizes, especially since Hannah is now old enough to have hit puberty. And when she asked Nick to clarify, he confirmed her fears: “It means she’s ready.”

“Ready?” June asked dazedly, and though Nick didn’t spell it out, it’s obvious what he meant. She’s reached the point where she’s not a little girl anymore, and it’s time for her regular education to end — it’s time to train her for marriage.

It’s a horrifying prospect to June, who witnessed what happened to the 14-year-old Esther, married to a man easily five times her age. Nick said not to panic, though; her dress is just the sign she’s ready to change schools from regular education to Wife-training, not that she’s engaged to be married (yet).

Moreover, they haven’t moved her to the new school yet, although the McKenzie family’s position means she’ll likely attend the most prestigious one available. She’ll likely have at least a couple of years of training to be a Wife before any engagements are considered. Besides, although June might not believe Nick about this, the McKenzies love Hannah (er, Agnes). They probs aren’t just going to marry her off to the highest bidder — their plans is more likely to have her be engaged to someone respectable, not too old, and in a place to protect and provide for her.

Still, it’s another reminder that June has lost years with her older daughter, and every day that passes is another childhood moment they’ll never get back.

The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 continues with new episodes streaming every Wednesday on Hulu.