Dry, grayish violet cap, pale violet gills, a club-shaped stalk, and a cobwebby partial veil. Found in mixed woods, singly or in groups of many. August–October. Cap bell-shaped, with incurved margin; grayish violet; texture dry, silky; young specimens often have a fine, cobwebby veil that stretches from the margin to the stalk. Gills broad; spacing close; pale violet becoming rusty or cinnamon brown with age; gills attached to stalk. Stalk enlarging toward base; violet; texture fibrous, dry. Universal veil white, leaving a thin, sheathlike covering on the lower half of the stalk. Partial veil white and cobwebby. Spore print rust. Spores magnified are elliptical, brownish.
Lookalikes: Some other Cortinarius species, which are poisonous. The choice blewit (Lepista nuda) does not have a veil and the gills do not turn brown with age. The purple-gilled laccaria (Laccaria ochropurpurea) has white to pale violet spores and no veil.