Behind the scenes

How to dress for your shape

Annabel from Country Wives, Melissa and Jo from House of Colour

It’s always fun getting together and discussing colour and clothes with Annabel Simons from the much-read blog, Country Wives. Over the years we’ve loved finding out her favourites from each new collection and discovering how she makes Kettlewell work with her existing wardrobe. As a Summer, with a penchant for pastels from duck egg through to pale lilac and pink, Annabel is a great advertisement for ditching the black after 50 and letting fresh colour into your wardrobe.

Last week we had the pleasure of welcoming her down to our Somerset studio to do a vlog on a topic that lots of women will find invaluable: finding the right clothes for your individual body shape. As few of us are blessed with a supermodel physique, it can be a real challenge finding clothes that actually suit us and make us feel comfortable and confident, rather than self-conscious and exposed. But it’s not all about hiding what Mother Nature has given us – often it’s a case of showing off your assets, or at the very least working with them to best effect!

Thanks to our three lovely volunteer models – Louise, Annie and Teresa – we were able to demonstrate how wearing the right shapes and employing some clever dressing tricks can really make a difference to the way you look and feel. Watch the first of Annabel’s body image videos (with Louise) on the Country Wives website www.countrywives.co.uk, followed by Annie and Teresa over the next couple of weeks.

 

COLUMN SHAPE

Louise, 47, professional singer

Size: 14 and 5′ 9″

Season: Winter

Style: Dramatic Natural

The challenge: To find clothes with structure that don’t cling to Louise’s middle.

The solutions:

Lulu Layered Top in Pansy – Loose around the tummy with a fitted under layer to shape, lift and enhance.

Tasha Top in Neon Yellow with Long Cami in Nimbus and Florence Infinity Scarf in Navy – Skims rather than clings with its longer length and flattering curved hem.

3 Cotton Ribbed Jumper in Chinese Blue with Long Vest in White – Slim on the arms and a boxy fit to camouflage the tummy.

4 Long Rio Wrap in Cassis with Breton Stripe Top in Navy Stripe – Breton stripes distract the eye away from the middle while the long cardigan creates drama.

You can watch the first part of Annabel’s video featuring Louise here and then to make sure you catch all three of the Country Wives body image videos, sign up to their newsletter at http://www.countrywives.co.uk/newsletter-signup/


PEAR SHAPE

Annie, 68, semi-retired health professional

Season: Summer

Size: 14 and 5′ 1″

Style: Gamine

The challenge: To find clothes that don’t swamp Annie’s narrow shoulders and short stature, camouflage bigger hips and define the waist.

The solutions:

1 Alexa Jacket in Ink and Everyday Cotton V in Iced Hyacinth and a Florence Infinity Scarf in Amethyst – Wearing colour around the face forces the eye upwards.

 

Swing V Neck Top in Aqua Green and Cashmere Gauze Stole in Dutch Blue with Ponte Leggings in Sailor Blue – Fitted over the bust and waist then skimming over the hips creates a slimmer silhouette for pear shapes.

3 Faux Wrap 3/4 Sleeve in Rose Madder and Camisole in Soft White – Flattering side ruching defines the waistline.


HOURGLASS SHAPE

Teresa, 50, quality controller at Kettlewell

Season: Spring

Size: 12 and 5′ 0″

Style: Natural Romantic

The challenge: To accentuate Teresa’s hourglass figure (GG cup), and find styles that work with her short frame.

The solutions: 

 

1 Ponte Peplum Top in Light Emerald – The peplum enhances the waistline, while front darts give shape to the bust. Soft scooped neckline adds length to torso.

2 Betty Cowl in Tropical Pink – Cowl neckline provides soft, visually minimising drapes.

3 Short Cascade Wrap in Periwinkle and Everyday Cotton V in Azure – Flattering V neckline + bright Spring colours = winning combination!


 


After a colour analysis to find your best colours, you can go on to learn how to identify styles that suit your body shape and your personal style. If you would like more information, you can find a colour stylist near you here.

To make sure you catch all three of the Country Wives body image videos, sign up to their newsletter at http://www.countrywives.co.uk/newsletter-signup/ 

 

What the team are wearing

 A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my favourite picks from the S/S18 collection – the Eveline blouse, which I practically live in at the moment, topping the list, closely followed by the Watermelon Breton Stripe Top and the Milan Knit Crew in Apple. For this week’s post I thought I’d hand the baton over to the team and find out what they are loving from the new range – the tops and tees, dresses and jackets that they’ll be slotting into their summer wardrobes for work and weekend.


 

Shop Keira’s choices : Gigi TopAlexa Jacket, Starlight Necklace and the Kiss Loafers


Shop Sarah’s choices: Eveline Blouse, Imogen TopMetallic Print Scarf and the Ponte Leggings


Shop Hannah’s choices: Everyday Cotton TeeBreton Stripe TopSuede Shoulder Bag


Shop Diane’s choices: Swing V Neck TopFlorence Infinity ScarfCotton Rib Jumper


 

Shop Zoe’s choices: Ponte Peplum TopCotton Shirt DressBreton Stripe Top


Shop Claire’s choices: Eveline BlouseMetallic Print ScarfCotton Shirt Dress


 

Our new home

As you may or may not have gathered, there have been some big changes afoot at Kettlewell recently. Quietly, behind the scenes, the team has been busy packing up boxes of clothes (hundreds and hundreds of them, in fact – a whole warehouse’s worth of stock), as well as all our day-to-day admin, in preparation for our big move to brand-new Kettlewell HQ.

It has been seven years since we first moved into our old warehouse in Crewkerne, Somerset, and just like any growing family, we had simply got too big for it (something we’d never thought we’d hear ourselves say when we first moved in to the huge empty warehouse space – it felt cavernous at the time). It’s no mean feat moving an entire business lock, stock and barrel but it’s only now that we’re in that we can properly appreciate the difference the move has made – and the view out of the office window alone makes it worth the upheaval. On a cloudless day, you can even see the sea.

Needless to say, we have a lot more space – 12,000 sq ft to be precise, which is what we need to be able to accommodate all the new styles, colours and sizes that you have asking of us. For example, having looked at our analysis of sizes being sold, we realised there was a demand for a size smaller than our size S, so from next month we will be introducing size XS in selected styles and colours. Our sizing will now run as follows: size XS (6-8), size S (10), size M (12), size L (14), size LL (16-18). There is no change to the fit of size S but having listened to our customers we understand that the size S was a little generous for our size 8 customers.

The increased storage space in our new HQ also means that we are able to bring you a greater colour choice for the different seasonal palettes, as well as more exciting styles to keep you looking and feeling your best. It’s a far cry from the early days when John and I first moved down from London with three small children and launched out of tiny space that started off life as a pig shed. In those days it was just the two of us in the office (with Tom in a cot) and we’d rope in friends and family to model the clothes and even involve the children in how the cover looked (they loved having their say in the design as young as five). This year our brochure will go out to 2 million customers and our styles are regularly featured in the fashion press (speaking of which, did you catch Fearne Cotton in our silky roll-neck in The Sunday Telegraph’s Stella magazine?). It’s times like these that I appreciate how far we’ve come as a brand and am genuinely excited as we move on to the next phase. Thank you for joining us on the journey.

Postcards from Cape Town – Melissa’s blog

Apologies if the weather back home is a bit on the chilly side, but today’s blog post comes to you from sunny South Africa, where for the past four days we have been busy shooting our summer 2018 brochure.

This year, we are dividing the shoots between two stunning beach houses just outside Cape Town: Britannia Bay, where we are shooting Analu, our Brazilian Winter model, who lives in New York and whose dark skin tone looks amazing with the strong winter colours, and Kommetjie, where we are shooting our South African Spring model, Michelle. (The eagle-eyed will recognise Michelle from last summer’s catalogue – she has since had baby number two, as well as a fabulous new pixie haircut!).

Our January Cape Town shoot is definitely one of the highlights of the year for me – not just because it’s great to feel the sun on my face again, but because I get to see all our amazing new colours in their very best light: drenched in sunshine and brought to life by the reflected intensity of those vast blue skies.

I also love being able to see the new styles in exactly the sort of holiday location we’d envisaged at design stage – that easy jersey shirt dress worn for a stroll along the beach; that simple V-neck tee teamed with a pair of denim shorts for a relaxed sunny lunch on the terrace. It feels like the final step on the journey before the clothes appear in the catalogue destined for your doorstep.

Excitingly, for our summer 2018 collection, we’ve gone bigger on colour than ever before, with everything from limeade and electric blue to tangelo orange and neon yellow, as well as soft lilacs and pretty pinks. We also have the most amazing eye-popping hot pink for you winters. And I don’t think I’ll be spoiling the surprise when I say that our stylist Keira has some colour-blocking treats in store that are bound to be a great source of inspiration next summer.

For a live, behind-the-scenes sneak peek of our Cape Town shoot, watch us on Instagram Stories, where we’ll be posting videos and sharing moments from our day. But be warned: it may bring on a serious case of wanderlust!

Colourful, colourful Copenhagen

As you have probably gathered by now, I’m never happier than when I’m hunting down new colours from everyday life, whether it’s the terracotta of Portuguese rooftops or gorse yellow of a Cornish headland. You never know when you might come across that next big shade that, translated in to a seasonal palette, our customers will love and want to embrace in their wardrobe.

Cities are jam-packed full of colour inspiration, and nowhere more so than Copenhagen, which John and I visited for a couple of days last month to source ideas for our AW18 collection. According to a recent fashion piece in The Times, colour is surprisingly big in the Danish capital at the moment, with the clothes as colourful as the crooked houses down on the waterfront at Nyhavn, a deliciously vibrant riot of pinks, oranges, blues and yellows.

Scandi style used to be synonymous with neutrals, minimalism and endless monochrome, but if the clothes shops I visited are anything to go by, colour has certainly come to town, with my current colour crush, orange, leading the way, from the palest peach to vibrant winter orange and burnt orange styled with gold. In fact, it was all that I could do to stop myself going into a colour shopping frenzy (Copenhagen is eye-wateringly expensive, so I was restrained and came away with just a few pieces of clothing, some watermelon nail polish, and some rolls of colourful ribbon to make a start on my Christmas wrapping).

If you’ve never been before, I’d heartily recommend Copenhagen as a city break destination. To the soundtrack of a thousand tinkling bicycle bells – bikes have outnumbered cars in Copenhagen for years now – you’ll find lots of historic back streets to explore and great places to eat (we had dinner by candlelight in a little restaurant that felt like we were dining in someone else’s home, with only two choices on the menu, and the rest of the time feasted on the most amazing open sandwiches with earthy homemade rye bread). And if, like me, you’re a fan of colour (which I’m assuming you are!), you certainly won’t be disappointed.

Meet our Winter ambassador – Helen Noel

Our Winter Colour Ambassador, Helen Noel, 48, who runs her own creative agency Brand+Soul, shares her wardrobe secrets – from the top she can’t live without to the best confidence-boosting colours for meetings

 Helen wearing a Merino Tunic in emerald with a Studded Scarf in sapphire

Do you have a casual uniform?
Striped Breton, long cardigan, scarf, skinny jeans and boots. You can’t go wrong.

Helen wears a Cosy Cotton Stripe Top in Navy/Fuchsia under a Grace Jacquard Blazer in Navy

Favourite dressed-up look for evening?
Something simple, like a maxi wrap dress with a slightly 1970s vibe – no necklace but statement earrings. And always heels! I love deep colours, such as black and cassis (I’m actually hankering after a deep green or emerald evening dress).

Favourite piece from the Kettlewell A/W collection?

So many favourites, how to choose? The entire Merino collection – the wool is beautifully soft and the colours are just amazing. The Alpaca Shawl will be a constant friend in the office (no central heating!). And because you can never have too many stripes in my book, I would go for the Cotton Stripe Boat Neck for work and the Cosy Cotton Stripe for weekends.

Helen wearing a Greek Blue Alpaca Shawl over a Stripe Boat Neck in Indigo Stripe

Your favourite seasonal colour?

Royal Blue. It just works, always.

Here she is wearing a Grace Jacquard Blazer in Grey over a Silky Crew Neck tee in White and a Cashmere Gauze Stole in Winter Lobelia

Best feature (and parts you prefer to play down)?  
Not sure about best feature – can I say dimples? I definitely like to play down my tum ­ and I’m not overly fond of upper arms, either!

How does wearing the right colours for you make you feel?
It sounds a bit dramatic but having my colours analysed really transformed my understanding of what works for me. Knowing the colours that suit me best makes shopping easier (particularly when spending out on an investment piece), gives me more confidence in client meetings and presentations, and makes choosing clothes and getting dressed a pleasure rather than a minefield. Even after a bad night’s sleep, popping on the right colour can perk up your complexion and hide a multitude of sins.

No outfit is complete without…

…a scarf – preferably in Fuchsia cashmere!

 

Photographs: Katharine Davies

You can contact Helen at Brand+Soul creative agency.

Special thanks to Hardy the dog…

 

Meet our Autumn Ambassador – Ilka Dunn

Ilka Dunn wearing an Alexa Zip Jacket in Taupe with a Leo Print Scarf in Truffle print

We put our Autumn Colour Ambassador, Ilka Dunn, 39, a colour consultant for Red Leopard, under the spotlight to find out how she blends Kettlewell with her own personal style and her favourite piece from the new A/W17 collection

Do you have a casual uniform?
I like pairing skinny trousers in dark brown or dark olive with an interesting top or blouse. For cooler days, I love chunky sweaters. I always wear an eye-catching necklace or a scarf, and a pair of flat ankle boots or high boots.

Favourite dressed-up look for evening?
My go-to pieces are dresses and shoes with a heel because it takes just seconds to get dressed and yet makes a dramatic change. I like to wear slightly darker colours than during the day and I tweak my make-up to make sure that it still looks good when the lights are low.

Ilka wearing a Paris Textured Jacket in True Red, with a Silk Leopard Scarf in Bright Orange Print

Favourite piece from the Kettlewell A/W collection?
It’s not really like me to wear the bright colours of the Autumn palette, but I love the Paris Textured Jacket  in Leaf and True Red. It’s great if you have limited time to get dressed in the morning: paired with jeans and a T-shirt, it will instantly make you look more put together. All you have to do is add the Leopard silk scarf to look perfectly stylish.

Your favourite seasonal colours?
Dark sage and moss – colours that are very flattering on most autumns. I also love coral as an accent colour in a pattern on a blouse or a scarf because it throws a lovely glow on to the face.

Ilka wearing an Alexa Zip Jacket in Forest Green with a Leo Print Scarf in Petrol Green print

Best feature (and parts you prefer to play down)?    
I am slightly narrower at the bust, so this is where I try to draw the attention to in order to visually balance out my proportions. I have a slim waist and try to accentuate that with belts, tops that come in at the waist, high-waisted trousers or high-waisted skirts.

Ilka wears a City Poncho in Indian Ochre over a Silky Roll Neck in Chocolate

How does wearing the right colours for you make you feel?
Life is just easier and more fun when you wear the right colours. They can make you look healthy, energetic, more capable and radiant. When you look great, you feel great. And when you feel great, everything is possible.

I also love that dressing is much easier and faster with my clothes being from the same seasonal colour palette because everything goes so well together. My wardrobe is sorted by colour – it’s like flipping through an Autumn’s colour wallet.

Ilka wears a City Poncho in Chocolate Marl with a Leo Print Scarf in Truffle Print

No outfit is complete without…
…a smile! Twenty years ago I saw a Snoopy cartoon in which he was very beautifully dressed but looked miserable. Underneath the caption read: “The best clothes don’t work if you don’t smile.” It is so true!

With thanks to the Duchess of Cornwall Inn, Poundbury, Dorset

Photographs: Katharine Davies

To book a consultation with Ilka, visit the Red Leopard website.