accessories

The necklace guide

Necklaces L-R: Pom Pom Tassel Necklace, Tassel Necklace, Rainbow Tassel Necklace, Starburst Necklace and Starlight Necklace

Spring is here – honest – and, tragically for me and my fellow scarf addicts, it’s almost the end of scarf season (ok, not quite, but you might not need one every day). If you’re someone, like me, who relies on their scarf to give an outfit a splash of colour or an extra layer of interest, the arrival of spring can herald a tricky time in style terms, as you scrabble around for a replacement as effortless as the scarf but without its now-unnecessary bulk and warmth.

Step forward, the necklace. Wearable, simple and stylish, the right necklace can give an outfit that final finishing touch that makes it look effortlessly put together rather than ‘I only had one clean pair of jeans and a tshirt’. But what makes the right necklace for you? I’ve put together some of my top necklace tips to help you choose your best necklace and style it perfectly this spring.

Short or long?

Necklace length is usually the first accessorising question my clients ask. Should it be long, short, in between, or left at home on the dressing table? Not the latter, certainly. The answer is a combination of both environment and your style.

In terms of dress code, the answer is fairly simple – for more formal occasions (a smarter office environment or function) a short necklace is a safer option and will be more in keeping with the spoken or unspoken dress code. For more casual occasions, longer and shorter (or both – on which more in a moment) can both work well, but a longer necklace definitely carries a more relaxed, off duty air.

Of course, you also need to think about what suits your personal style, rather than solely generic rules about dress code. If you love a statement necklace for adding interest to your outfit and have a more casual or statement personal style, a long necklace can add interest and texture to an outfit. If you feel like long necklaces reach to your belly button and leave you looking cluttered and messy, and you have a snappier, neater personal style, stick with a shorter ones.

Add a splash

Colour or metal, that is the question? Again, this comes down to both personal style and dress code.

If you are in a very formal environment, a simple silver or gold necklace can really finish off an outfit without being overly challenging. If you have a warm skintone, stick with gold toned jewellery, while cool tones look better in silver. More neutral skintone? Go for a mixed metal necklace and enjoy the best of all worlds. Likewise, if your look is more minimalist or classic, you may feel more comfortable with a simple silver or gold necklace to add interest without layering up too many colours and textures.

For a more relaxed look, or a finish to an outfit that feels more statement (often replacing that beloved chunky winter scarf), a brightly coloured necklace is ideal. I am completely in love with the tassel pompom necklaces at Kettlewell this season, but if you want something a little subtler, go for the rainbow tassel necklace. Whatever your weapon, choose a colour that harmonises with the rest of your outfit and provides that all important splash of colour that will brighten up your day.

Layer up

I love layered necklaces, and it feels like a very current way to finish off an outfit. It’s undoubtedly a more relaxed finish than just one single strand, but layering up necklaces of different lengths and textures adds a finishing touch that just feels that bit more interesting and thoughtful. Make sure your necklaces all have the same silhouette – either pendant (coming to a v shape at the front if your neck) or simple strand (a circle or U shape at the front of your neck). And layer at least two completely different lengths and mix metals with colour.

 

Whatever you choose, repeat after me. The necklace is spring/summer’s answer to the scarf.

Introducing SS18

Drum roll, please – the wait is over! The SS18 collection has landed on the website and we couldn’t be more excited. What we hadn’t anticipated was that the launch would coincide with a Siberian weather front but not to worry – spring is just around the corner and there are plenty of layers and scarves to choose from to keep the chill at bay.

People often ask me when a new collection launches which styles and colours I will be adding to my new-season wardrobe. As a Spring I always love a yellow and this season we have so many shades on offer, from freshest ice lemon and zingy neon to a lovely warm shade of corn yellow.

Above LTR: Cashmere Gauze Stole in Canary Yellow, Pocket V Neck in Ice Lemon, Breton Stripe Top in Neon Yellow, Everyday Cotton V in Corn Yellow

 

I also love the new Bretons. I used to think stripes were a bit classic or tomboy for me but I’ve since discovered that you can create a prettier, softer look by choosing colours like this juicy shade of watermelon and wearing with skirts or adding a necklace or scarf.

Above: Breton Stripe Top in Watermelon, Weekend Skirt in Capri Blue,  Starburst Necklace in Gold, Starlight Necklace 

 

For some reason I seem to feel the cold more than most, so the Milan Knit Crew was the most-worn item in my wardrobe last spring (I can’t have been the only one as it became one of our bestsellers!). I know I’ll get a lot of wear out of this new Milan Knit Crew in Apple green – it’s such a fresh, crisp colour and the perfect way to usher in spring.

If, like me, you can’t get through the season without buying a new scarf, you’ll love these new metallic ones, which are a quick and contemporary way to update your wardrobe. It’s impossible to see from the photo how good they look and feel but they’re soft, lightly textured and easy to throw on, and the metallic threads really lift the colours.

Above: Milan Knit Crew in Apple, Metallic Print Scarf in Copper Camo, Friendship Bracelet in Spring Gold

 

One of my favourite pieces – which I can see becoming a weekend classic – is the new Eveline Blouse in 100% cotton slub, a new fabric for us, which will appeal to all you cotton lovers. It has a bit of texture and is not at all clingy. I like to wear the front tucked in to show a bit of waist and then to leave the back long.

At this time of year when you don’t know what you’re going to get in terms of weather, everyone needs an extra layer or two. I’m wearing a Lace Cami + Silky Scoop under my Eveline Blouse, and finishing it off with a Cashmere Gauze Stole (which never leaves the back of my chair in the office!). Last but not least I can’t resist these neon pompom necklaces – such a great, fun colour pop.

Above: Eveline Blouse in Light Aqua, Pom Pom Tassel Necklace in Coral, Lace Camisole in Flamingo Pink

And just one more thing – the orange and gold wedge-sole floral trainers. Not only are they colourful, substantial and beautifully made, they also make me smile. All the ingredients, in fact, for a happy wardrobe!

Patterned Sneakers in Coral

 

Meet our Spring Ambassador – Amy Mulcrone

Nothing beats a pop of colour on a grey winter’s day, says our new Spring Colour Ambassador Amy Mulcrone, jewellery designer and creative director of Chambers & Beau.

What are your daytime essentials for work and weekend?
Jeans and ankle boots in the winter; jeans and trainers in the summer  – so easy to throw together and dress up or down. My weekend look tends to be the same as my work look as I’m a jewellery designer and work at home, so I’m generally alone in the studio with no particular need to dress up. But I’m a sucker for a handbag and I love scarves (although they do cover up my jewellery, so I may need to rethink that!).

Go-to dressed-up look for evening?
A pair of heels and plenty of bling. A pair of statement earrings has the same effect as popping on your favourite heels.

Favourite piece from the Kettlewell A/W collection and why?
The new Alexa faux-suede biker-style jacket is totally gorgeous. The colours are lovely and it is the perfect piece for that layered look. Only problem is working out which of my seasonal colours I love best!

Favourite colour and why…
I have only recently had my colours done and discovered I’m a Blue Spring, so for a long time I tended to stick to neutrals. But I’ve always loved red and been complimented whenever I wear it, and as it’s one of my ‘wow colours’ and this season’s key colour, I am totally going with it. I also love Kettlewell’s Royal Blue and Hot Coral, which work really well on me.

Amy wears the Alpaca Shawl in Hot Coral

Best feature (and parts you prefer to play down)?
My upper body is much better than my lower half. I have good shoulders and toned arms so I get them out whenever I can. I hate my legs, so I keep them tucked away ­ hence the jeans wardrobe.

How does wearing the right colours for you make you feel?
It has made such a difference and has really changed the way I dress. I love seeing pops of colour, especially during our drab grey winter. I won’t be saving them for holidays and sun-kissed skin any more.

No outfit is complete without…
Lashings of Chambers & Beau jewellery, naturally!

You can see all of Amy’s jewellery on her website Chambers and Beau.

Photographs by Katharine Davies

Thanks to Cherryade Life Store, Poundbury, Dorset

Up your workwear game

Feeling a bit flat in your workwear recently? Bored with the same old dark skirt, light top, nondescript shoes uniform?

It’s time to re-inject the fun into workwear dressing. Don’t under-estimate the power of feeling confident and stylish in a work environment – just imagine how much more you might achieve by feeling fabulous instead of flat five days a week!

Keep the same level of formality but up the confidence by a factor of ten simply by adding your best colours. Stick with traditional shapes but go for something unexpected like canary yellow or bright green to maximise the wow factor.

Items shown: Milan Knit Cardigan, Grace Pencil Skirt, Darcey Square, Silk Leopard Scarf

After a decade in the fashion wilderness, the suit is back in fashion with a vengeance this season. Play with the traditional idea of a suit by going for one in comfortable but smart fabric like the amazing herringbone effect Grace suit. Add a bold basic top underneath and luxe flats for maximum impact.

Items shown: Grace Jacquard Blazer and Trousers, Sleeveless Mock Turtle, Leo Print Scarf, Velvet Ballerinas

You can’t beat a classic dress for easy work dressing, right? Actually, you can. Go for a classic dress in an unexpected but still formal shade like royal purple, then layer up with a bright jacket for immediate impact.

Items shown: Paris Textured Jacket, Classic Ponte Dress, Tiny Star Necklace

This week’s post uses colours from the Spring palette. Each week we will be choosing a different seasonal palette to illustrate our blog posts – watch out for yours!

Silk square 101

I adore this new addition to Kettlewell’s repertoire. A bold and beautiful silk scarf adds sophistication to almost any outfit you care to name. If your jeans and t-shirt feel a little lacking, add a silk scarf. If your work outfit is lacking a little impact today, add a silk scarf. If your raffia beach bag is looking a little dull, add a silk scarf.

Kettlewell’s silk scarves have been designed with the four seasonal palettes in mind, so no need to worry about whether enough of the print fits with your colours. And they feature so many colours that they’ll go with an almost endless range of colour and clothing combinations.

As well as wearing with endless outfits, there really is no limit to the number of ways you can tie these silk square, but to start you off, here’s a few of our favourites.

SHAWL

Couldn’t be simpler. Simply fold in half and drape over the shoulders. Great for adding a splash of colour to a simple outfit. Secure with a brooch or scarf ring if you’re worried about it flying off.

FRENCH CHIC

A classic tie for a silk scarf and perfect for a Parisienne look. Fold diagonally, then fold or roll until you have a long strip. Wrap either once or twice round the neck (depending on whether you want tails) and tie off to one side.

WILD WEST

Silk scarves are surprisingly warm, and this tie really works to keep a chill out, as well as making your silk square work with more relaxed outfits. Fold diagonally. With the large point facing downwards in front of your neck, drape the long ends around the back of your neck, cross them over and bring them back to the front.

Want more inspiration? Try searching on YouTube for silk square tutorials, there are literally thousands.

How to care for your wardrobe

From moth solutions to the best hangers, we asked Julia Dee, founder of Total Wardrobe Care, to share her secrets for keeping your clothes pristine all year round

 What would you recommend for tackling a moth problem?

A few moths flying around is not an epidemic. But for the price of a lunch, a moth box, which is a sticky pheromone moth trap, monitors the problem and should be kept in each room throughout the year. The moth season is May to October but once the moths have got a hold they will happily live throughout the year in your wardrobes. They eat keratin in natural fabrics and fibres, which include your clothes, carpets, blankets, upholstery and fur and sheepskin. If that happens to have skin and hair particles, a bit of food or baby sick combined with dog hair then it’s a smorgasbord of delight for the moth. The female is programed to eat mate and lay eggs preferably in a dark and undisturbed area with a food source. The male just wants to mate. Then the baby (larvae) eats his way out of his cocoon and chomps into your clothes.

So….

Keep clothes clean and protected.

Keep wardrobe and drawers closed.

If it’s a walk-in wardrobe keep doors and windows closed.

Put jumpers into knitwear bags.

Add natural fragrances to the wardrobe to repel, i.e. hanging moth sachet (the female moth doesn’t like strong smells.)

Keep a sticky moth trap in every room.

If you start to get more than five or so moths in your moth trap… call us and we can talk you through the next stages.

 Is it best to organise a wardrobe by colour or outfit? 

In my experience, the easiest way is to put clothes into happy families – i.e. trousers together, jackets together, etc, and then colour coordinate. If outfits are put together you may miss a new and interesting combination. So when you open your wardrobe in the morning to get dressed, you may think I really want to wear that skirt, then you take it out and match it up against tops and jackets and something different may jump out at you. Then it always goes back in the same place.

What hangers should I use? Are there specific ones for different items of clothing?

Hangers are very important to keep your clothes pristine in the wardrobe, so that even after six months of hanging there, once you pull them out to wear they won’t need ironing and there are no funny creases in the middle of your skits or lines across the knees of your trousers, or stretched areas in the sleeve head of your Kettlewell top.

Jackets need a wider shoulder area to fill out the sleeve and mimic your shoulders.

Trousers ideally should be hung from the waist with peg hangers. If you don’t have the hanging length in your wardrobe then a trouser hanger with a good padded hanging bar so you don’t get the knee crease.

Skirts also need the peg hanger, and should definitely not be hung from the hanging loops at the sides, as the skirt will dip in the middle and be squashed and have horrible yawning creases down the front.

What are your tips for caring for cashmere?

Try to keep it as clean and protected as possible.

Gentle hand wash.

Put in to shape and dry flat if possible. Light steam iron if necessary.

Use the cashmere comb to de-bobble, don’t use scissors or an electric de-bobbler as these can both slip and, ooops, a hole!

 

If they are to be hung use the rubber non slip coat hanger that is 38cm wide and curved so that it doesn’t leave misshapen shoulders.

If they are not being worn, then store out of season knits in a knitwear bag.

Is there any wardrobe maintenance I should be doing throughout the year?

Twice a year, in spring and autumn, have a mini detox. Take everything out, re-evaluate, get any repairs done, take to charity or sell anything that is not wanted. Check everything is hung correctly on the right hanger and that everything is in order. Have a big clean of the inside of drawers and cupboards, then spray an anti-moth linen spray on the wood and replace all anti moth scented sachets,

 Can you share any helpful ironing tips?

  • Invest in a good steam iron.
  • Test on the inside of the garment for temperature.
  • Do read all care labels before you cut them out.
  • To stop shine, take a tea towel and wet it and wring it out so its damp all over, put this on top of the garment and then press gently, this will stop any shine.
  • To steam only, hang the garment on a hanger and on a hook, then put the iron into the upright position and gently guide the steam over the garment, almost stroking it, this can help gentle fabrics drop their creases.
  • Let the garment cool before it’s folded or put back into the wardrobe.

 What should I do with any unwanted clothes?

Find a local charity shop. Visit them before landing on them with a large box to see what they are collecting. If the clothes have a well-known desired label, try selling in a second- hand shop, or on ebay. If it’s an expensive designer piece, try Rebelle, Hardly Ever worn it, Vestiaire, or ShonaMac – websites that have a good following and might achieve a better price. Then any money raised can be put towards a new key piece or be given to charity.

 Is it best to leave alterations to the professionals or is it ever worth trying yourself?

I have run an alterations business for 25 years and this is how I learn about my clients’ needs for wardrobe-care products. A good seamstress is like a good hairdresser or beautician – hang on to them. It’s best to get a personal recommendation.

Try to get the garment fitted by the alteration professional – sit down, wear the correct shoes and underwear and ask to see the back view.

There is nothing to stop anyone doing their own alterations if they have good sewing skills. You know who you are!

 How should I go about doing a wardrobe edit? How do I decide what goes and what stays?

The first step is an image overhaul. Find a good consultant to do your colours and style, which will give you the blue print for your wardrobe, a job that is quite daunting and hard to do on your own. I would also recommend taking advice from a wardrobe buddy (or your stylist). Commit to do it for each other – get rid of the kids, switch off the mobiles, get the rations in and then go for it. It will need your best buddy to say to you, “How many ugly cardies do you really need?”, “How many gardening jeans is it necessary to have?”, ‘Really would you want the man of your dreams seeing you in that matted old dressing gown?” A friend will ask pertinent questions you know deep down. It’s also worth reading Marie Kondo’s Magic Art of Tidying. My rule is: Does it spark joy? Or as William Morris said: “Do not have anything in your home that you do not believe to be useful or beautiful.”

What is the best way to store shoes? 

This really depends on space. Oh, for a lovely shoe cupboard built with slightly slanting shelves or drawers that pull out. Most people don’t have this luxury, so other options include the bottom of the wardrobe, under the bed, or perhaps even an old book case.

 I never seem to get it right when it comes to packing for a weekend break. Any words of advice? 

This really depends on where you are going and what you are going to do. Is it a quick weekend city break in Europe with 10 kilos or packing the car and driving off?

I have invested in a collapsing two-foot garment rail from Morplan. Then I hang all the clothes I really want to take and then cull, until you have the correct number for the days and nights. Bearing in mind that garments can be worn twice or more and rinsed out.

There are lots of lovely packing lists on line to get you going!

Any other tips for prolonging the lifespan of my wardrobe?

I think if possible have a good mix of some investment key pieces and some cheap and cheerful which can be updated every season. Then general care, dry clean or launder, alter or repair and a good hanger.

 Total Wardrobe Care is offering Kettlewell customers 20% off products on its website until September 30 2017 using the code TWC17

 

Arctic aircon vs sunny afternoons – summer layering sorted

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you will no doubt have noticed that I have a bit of a vendetta against over-enthusiastic air conditioning, especially in the summer, in Britain. With the best will in the world, it’s not often that it’s so scorchingly hot outside that stepping into an office, store, train or plane cooled to the approximate temperature of an industrial fridge is a huge relief.

However, I gather that my one woman campaign to get the air conditioning turned down to ‘warmer than the actual arctic’ isn’t going terribly well (although I’m pleased to report that Kettlewell HQ has always maintained a perfectly normal temperature), so meanwhile we all need to plan our outfits to manage that endless summer dichotomy of beautiful warm sunshine and chilly air conditioned environment.

Top tips for managing changeable summer temperatures:

  1. Layers are your friend; a sleeveless top  with a cardigan or blazer layered over the top maintains a professional appearance with the ability to cool down when necessary.
  2. Don’t neglect your neck; a luxurious lightweight Cashmere Gauze Stole or a slimline Florence or Willow scarf will easily slip into your bag when you don’t need it, but is an essential defence against that nasty draft down the back of the neck.
  3. When in doubt, go for a dress; pretty, functional, stylish and with no gap between top and bottom when you sit down, a dress with an a-line skirt like the Arabella dress will be flippy enough to keep you cool when you’re out and about in the (possibly) sunshine, but layered up with a camisole and a cardigan will keep you comfortable in the artificially chilled air.
  4. Closed toe shoes; leather or suede will breathe when you go outside, but prevent you getting chilly feet while you’re sat back at your desk, when blood to the extremities can slow down somewhat from lack of exertion.

Start with a Print Arabella Cap Sleeve dress shown here in Cassis/Pink Violet, wear with an Ice Pink Camisole underneath, a Cassis Mid Cascade on top and finish off with an Ice Pink Willow Scarf.

Start with a Soft Square Vest in Blue Moon worn with a Bright Navy Jersey Pencil Skirt. Add a Milan Knit Cardigan in True Blue Marl and a Florence Infinity Scarf in Heliotrope.

Start with a Daphne Blouse in Iced Aqua worn with a pair of Marie Trousers in Silver. Add a Cotton Blazer in Blue Teal and carry a Cashmere Gauze Stole in Soft Aqua.