All parts of this mushroom—cap, gills and stalk—are violet to tan. Grows scattered in open areas, in mulch piles, and along paths. August–October. Cap convex to flat, margin inrolled at first, becoming wavy and upturned; violet-lilac, becoming tannish; texture smooth. Gills: broad; spacing crowded; violet-lilac, fading to tan; attachment notched. Stalk often bulbous toward base; violet-tan, fading to tannish brown; texture dry, scaly; solid. Spore print pinkish buff. Spores magnified elliptical, smooth, colorless.
Lookalikes: The silvery-violet cort (Cortinarius alboviolaceus) has a cobwebby veil when young, and its gills turn brown.