How to wear the wrong colours

As a colour analyst, when I show someone ‘their’ colours, I also spend a little time talking through how to begin to shift their wardrobe over to their new palette and how to make the most of their old, possibly largely incorrect, clothes while they slowly build up a wardrobe of their best colours.

The chances are, when you first have your colours analysed, that you’ll have a fair few items of clothing in your wardrobe that don’t fall into your palette (and if you don’t, you can just sit in the corner and look smug for the duration of this post). Unless you’re very lucky, you probably won’t be in a position to throw out every single incorrect garment and immediately replace them with perfect items of clothing in perfect colours. So what to do?

Three rules

  1. Try to pull some part of your outfit every single day from your new palette. Even if it’s just a camisole or a scarf it will lift your outfit and somehow seems to ‘pull’ the other colours of your outfit closer to the right palette. It will also keep your mind on what suits you.
  2. If you are a make up wearer, don’t compromise on the colours you’re painting on your face in order to match an ill-coloured top. Matching your make up to a bad top won’t improve things, it will just make you look worse.
  3. Try to get a good colour somewhere in the top half of your outfit, whether that’s a cardigan, camisole or scarf

Want more? Read on to see some examples of how the ‘wrong’ colours can be improved by pairing them in the right way.


*Merino infinity scarf in silver, City pencil skirt in midnight blue, and Round neck cardigan in true red, all by Kettlewell.

We all realise very quickly that the place where wearing our best colours makes the most difference is right under our chin, where the right colours can make us look fresh faced and healthy and the wrong colours can drag us down into ageing greyness!

Solving bad coloured tops is easy in winter – just pair your clothes with a scarf in your best colours, with an appropriate metal necklace underneath for indoor use. A couple of cardigans or wrap shawls in good colours can also help life a bad colour.

In warmer weather things can be a little trickier, but one of Kettlewell’s small jersey scarves, or even a necklace in white or yellow metal, as appropriate for you, can help lift a bad colour. Even a peek of a camisole in the right colour under a v-neck in a wrong colour can improve things.


*Merino poncho in moroccan blue, Long sleeve v-neck in soft white, and Ruched crossover in mole, all by Kettlewell.

Easier to deal with than tops. Just pair them with colours from your palette that seem to sit the most comfortably with them. In the case of our autumn, rather than pairing the black with mustard, burnt orange or olive green, we’ve gone for some less obviously warm colours to prevent the trousers looking too stark against them. With our Winter in a gold skirt we’ve stuck to shades of grey, which are among the ‘softer’ colours of Winter’s palette, so don’t look to alarming next to the gold skirt.


Again, don’t stress too much about these, as they are more like the finishing touches to your outfit. Saying that, a couple of cheap bags and pairs of shoes in your palette can really help pull your outfit togther into the right palette, so consider getting a couple of bits and bobs in your new palette soon after your colour analysis to help you feel pulled together in your colours as soon as possible.

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