Adding colour: a beginner’s guide

pop_main_imagePicture the scene; you’ve finally been brave and had a personal colour analysis, you’re standing with wallet in hand, you’re staring at a wardrobe stuffed full of grey, navy, black and white and you’re vaguely wondering where on earth you go from here…. Sound familiar? So often I get a panicked email from recently analysed clients who feel that every single colour in their wallet is just too much, too scary, too bright and just too much darn colour.

Sometimes, once the initial enthusiasm of a colour analysis has worn off and you realise that actually you probably won’t actually be dressing from top to toe in tangerine and apple green, it can be a little tricky to work out how to actually incorporate your new colours into your life in a way that feels approachable and safe and won’t scream ‘LOOK EVERYONE I HAD MY COLOURS DONE! LOOK HOW COLOURFUL I AM!!!”

Believe it or not, it’s actually pretty simple. Incorporating colours into your life doesn’t need to mean bright blue trousers with a fluorescent pink top and a green cardigan (although it can, of course, if you want it to). It might just mean a pink scarf over a grey outfit, or a bright t-shirt and contrasting nail polish with your jeans.

Still feel like you need a little help? Here’s my favourite eight ways to add colour, and I promise that none of them are scary (well, apart from number eight, perhaps):

  1. Nail varnish. No one will even bat an eyelid at coloured nail varnish – the only difference is that now it’s going to make your hands look younger and more elegant rather than giving you instant old lady fingers. Possibly the easiest way to add colour ever.
  2. A scarf. Yes, it’s a cliche. Yes, we say it to every single client that walks in the door, but honestly, adding a coloured scarf to any monochrome outfit will instantly brighten your face and make your whole look more ‘intentional’ and pulled together. Everyone knows I’m a huge fan of Kettlewell’s cashmere stoles, but I also love the florence infinity scarves for an easy lightweight summer look.
  3. Necklace. Even more subtle than a scarf, but a few coloured stones or one of Kettlewell’s coloured tassel necklaces will brighten up your look and get just a tiny bit of that new flattering colour up near your face. Every little counts!
  4. Shoes. Yes, they’re miles from your face and no one’s going to suddenly enquire if you’ve been on holiday or why you’re looking so well, but just wearing something from your new colour palette will start you thinking in the right way, and give you a starting point for more colourful outfits in the future.
  5. A flash of bright vest under a v neck. So much more interesting than plain white or black, gets a good colour in the top half of your outfit (part of the ‘communication zone’ that your consultant may have mentioned during your consultation, the area where wearing your colours will start to gain you the most compliments) and has the benefit that you’ll see it every time you look in the mirror, so you’ll start to see a bright colour as a (tiny) part of your outfit and begin to feel more confident in upgrading to number 6 below. I have dozens of the long camisoles for layering, but regardless of your style there’s a vest for everyone!
  6. Bright t-shirt with dark trousers or skirt. Again, no one is going to start throwing their hands up and shrieking ‘colour analysis, look!’ if you happen to don a light blue top one day instead of your usual grey or white. I’m not going to try to go through all of Kettlewell’s endless range of t-shirts here, but if you only get one, make it the Cara v neck.
  7. A hat. If you’re not generally a hat wearer, it might get the odd comment if you suddenly show up in a bright purple fedora or something, but come winter a bright knitted woolly hat is just perfect for lifting your look, even if the rest of your outfit is based entirely around the colour grey (winter staple of the British nation; sometimes I think it’s more popular than black these days).
  8. A dress. OK, I know I said beginners guide and wearing top to toe colour isn’t exactly beginner, but next time you’re shopping for a party dress or a statement summer dress, just try one in your colours. Please. For me. Thank you. I’m team Lola, but maybe you’re more of a Peta, or perhaps a Sammie.

Click on an image below to enlarge:










Kettlewell items shown:

Cashmere gauze stole, Florence infinity scarf, long vest, long camisole, faux wrap cap sleeve, silky crew neckcara v neck, sammie dress, lola dress and the peta tunic.

All other items can be found on the Kettlewell Polyvore page.

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