Colour analysis

Why should I get a colour analysis?

Keira, our graphic designer, had her colours analysed with Gilly from House of Colour and discovered she was a Jewel Winter

I spend an awful lot of time on this blog chattering on about the ways to wear each palette, the endless variations of any given colour and ways to style my Kettlewell favourites, but it’s been a long time since I’ve given the how a rest and discussed the why. Why exactly should you get your colours analysed? What are the actual benefits to you, a human being with a passing interest in looking and feeling good but also a busy life and other things to worry about?

Picture me rubbing my hands together gleefully at the prospect of informing you. I have just the one blog post in which to do this, so I’ve had to condense my reasons into just six points which hopefully will help nudge you over the edge if you’ve been wondering if this colour analysis malarky is really for you…

Lizzi (Autumn) from Loved by Lizzi blog had her colours analysed with the Red Leopard ladies, Rachel, (Winter), Ilka (Autumn), Manina (Winter) and Annie (Autumn)

Look good

Oh, it’s so obvious, isn’t it? But it really is true. Wearing colours that suit you, whether they are light or dark, bright or neutral, will make your skin clearer, your eyes brighter and your teeth whiter. You’ll look younger and fresher and more put together, because your outfit won’t be working against you, and that’s before you apply a scrap of make up. Wearing clothes that suit you essentially gives you a head start on looking good, regardless of whether you walk out the door bare faced or with full hair and make up every single day.

Annabel from House of Colour in her Winter colours

Feel good

All that looking good naturally translates to feeling good. And it’s not just about feeling ‘pretty’ (or whatever your word of choice is to connote physical attractiveness). Wearing colours that are in harmony with your natural colouring and style will give you an inner boost, be it conscious or subconscious, and allow you to be more open and engaging, stand up for yourself, carry more authority, and feel more attractive – whatever your own personal little hang up is about your appearance and however it holds you back, colour analysis is one huge step towards overcoming it. Wearing the right colours just makes you feel like you, but better.

Sarah, from the Kettlewell team who is a Summer wearing her Tropical Teal Helena blouse

Mix ‘n’ match

My personal favourite. All that looking and feeling fabulous is all very well by itself, but actually the thing I find incredibly satisfying on top of it is having a wardrobe where everything works. The beauty of colour analysis is that everything in your wardrobe will not only suit you, it will suit everything else, so you can mix and match endlessly to create amazing outfits. And (this is it: as a lazy and busy person, my number one benefit) you can get dressed in about 8.3 seconds, without even looking at which top and which bottom you are pulling out of the wardrobe, add some red lipstick, and look like you’ve got it together. Genius.

Annie, one of the Red Leopard stylists with Vanessa from The Model Edit blog – both Autumns.

Go bright

When it comes down to it, most of us don’t wear much colour. It’s very rare that I open a client’s wardrobe doors and see a riot of colour, of any palette. We just don’t have the confidence to wear colour. But seriously, it can bring a whole lot of joy, to you and to others. Knowing that you can in fact wear, and look amazing in, hot pink, or cobalt blue or saffron yellow is a huge confidence boost and can finally give you permission to wear colours you’ve hankered after for years (and stop you continually trying then giving up on wearing a bright colour that your best friend loves but looks dire on you).

Mary (Spring) and Lisa (Summer), from House of Colour in their Striped Pocket dresses

Stay neutral

Of course, if you’re anything like me and actually have zero desire to wear a bright colour 95% of the time, then discovering your best neutrals is even more vital than discovering your best brights. Imagine being able to look and feel absolutely amazing simply by knowing which shade of grey to pick. It’s akin to witchcraft, but anyone can do it.

Sian from House of Colour a Jewel Winter adds a pop of colour to her Silver Sparkle Crossover with her pink glasses!

Be you

Imagine knowing your best palette, not the colours that the fashion industry, your mum, your best friend or your nearest clothes shop, think you should be wearing. It is simultaneously liberating, empowering, terrifying and exciting. Finally you get to wear the palette that you love, not the one you’ve been told to love. You get to embrace the colours that feel like they belong to you because, well, they do.

‘Love Colour Tee’ worn by House of Colour Stylists Kristine (Autumn), Jennie (Autumn), Judy (Spring), Harry (Winter), Elisa (Summer), Catherine (Summer) and Lara (Winter)

Some of these images are taken from our Real Women Gallery on the website. We love to see how you wear your Kettlewell styles (old and new!) so visit here to upload a photo. We are awarding a Florence Infinity Scarf to our favourite image posted before midnight on 31st August 2017.

Autumn/Winter17 Press Day

Whoever said summer is the quietest time of year, has obviously never worked at Kettlewell! Last Tuesday, having only the week before wrapped up a fashion shoot in London, we headed back up for our autumn/winter 2017 Press Day – a sneak preview of next season’s collection in association with our friends at Red Leopard. Fashion writers, editors and stylists, working for titles from Vogue and The Times to the Evening Standard and The Pool, as well as some of our favourite style bloggers, turned up to have their colours analysed by the experts and to view the new collection in Red Leopard’s wonderfully stylish penthouse setting in Battersea.

And even the fact that the mercury outside was hitting 28C didn’t dampen the press’s enthusiasm for finding out what new styles and colours we have in store for autumn/winter, from jackets and skirts to tops and dresses. As new collections go, this one was particularly well received, with our faux-suede Alexa biker-style jacket in five colours proving the biggest hit (getting the journalists to try them on was easy – getting them to take them off was the hard part!), closely followed by merino knitwear in shades of carmine red, emerald, Indian ochre and teal, and our elegant new Paris jacket (with the star range of handbags and make-up bags also getting their fair share of oohs and aahs, too). Now all that remains to find out is what you, the customer, thinks of the new collection when it hits the website in six weeks’ time.

 The Autumn/Winter collection launches on August 30 2017

Do your colours work for your style?

Whatever colour palette you wear, whether or not you’ve had your colours analysed, the chances are you’ve had a time when your own personal style seemed to be in conflict with the colour palette you choose to wear. Whether you stick to soft colours and sometimes like to look dramatic or wear bolder colours but favour a more natural look, there will be times when it feels like your palette is working against, rather than with you.

Whatever palette you wear, rest assured that you can make any style work for you. To see how to work ‘against’ the natural tendencies of your own seasonal palette, just click on the links below. If you haven’t had your colours analysed why not take Kettlewell’s quiz, or read on for more inspiration and ideas.

 

 

 

Even if you haven’t had your colours analysed, the chances are that sometimes you’ve struggled to put together your clothes into the look that your trying to achieve, because the colours just aren’t playing together as you want them to. But whether you stick to a more bright and bold palette or a softer more muted one, it is possible to have fun with mixing up the look of your outfit to work ‘against’ the palette. If you want to style more muted colours in a higher impact way, the trick is to layer up dark colours or neutrals (embrace your inner goth, but resist the black if it doesn’t suit you!), perhaps adding a pop of neon colour to add contrast.

Alternatively, sticking to the natural and neutral end of a bright and bold palette is an easy way to embrace a more easy going nature inspired look without losing the colours that you love to wear. If you want to add a pop of bright to lift things without losing the tonal look, add a little lipstick or swap the necklace for a brighter one.


 

Colours for Life – by Melissa

One of the joys of doing what I do at Kettlewell is being able to see the impact on other people, whether it’s a teenage goddaughter having her clothing personality analysed for the first time or a lifestyle blogger having her colours refreshed  after 25 years.

It takes me back to the first time I had my colours done in my late twenties (John had his analysed first and, assuming I was a Summer too, would buy me beautiful cashmere jumpers in his palette of baby blues, pinks and lilacs, before I decided to try it for myself and discovered I was a Spring). Without putting too fine a point on it, it changed my life. Out went the black and grey, and in came yellow, turquoise and coral, like a burst of fresh Spring air. I’d never had so many compliments.

Since then I’ve convinced almost all my friends and family to get theirs colours done, including my three children, who were eight, six and two at the time (Tasha is a Winter Sprinter, Trixie is Vibrant Autumn and Tom is a Summer). Tom must be one of the youngest people ever to have had his colours done, although in all truthfulness it was more for fun than anything else and we only managed a few drapes before he wriggled away.

 

Recently, for her 18th birthday present, I took my goddaughter Mimi to Battersea in London to have both her colours updated and her style analysed by Rachel at the award-winning style consultancy Red Leopard , to help her avoid expensive shopping mistakes early on and set her up for life with a wardrobe of clothes in colours that genuinely suit and flatter her. Mimi had already been analysed as an Autumn when she was a child, and the minute the warm, earthy Autumn colours were draped around her, her eyes lit up and her skin glowed, and it was plain to see what palette she belonged to.

Just as important as identifying the colours that make you glow is finding styles that highlight your best bits and draw attention away from problem areas, and the fun part of any style journey is finding out your clothing personality. Having analysed everything from body architecture to face shape, Rachel identified Mimi as a ‘Bohemian’ (feminine, sexy, glamorous, yet earthy: think Julianne Moore, Sienna Miller and Sophie Dahl). She also advised her what to wear to a couple of important events in the diary, including bridesmaid at her sister’s summer wedding and an upcoming university interview (if she wanted to wear a jacket for authority, for example, it would be better curved with some texture or pattern, rather than the classic suit look).

Armed with this new-found knowledge, we headed off for an afternoon of shopping at nearby King’s Road and the home of boho chic, Anthropologie. To say that Mimi looked great in everything she tried on is an understatement. From the butter-soft chestnut suede jacket to the sage green ruffle-fronted linen top, one piece after another looked like it had been designed especially for her. The Red Leopard magic had worked.

But the final word goes to Mimi herself, who messaged me later to say how much she had enjoyed her day out. “Thank you for such a unique and thoughtful present – I had so much fun but also learnt so much. I know everything I found out today I will use for many years to come.” I think that says it all.

 

Yellow – the ultimate springtime shade, for every colour palette

Yellow is such a polarising colour. I would say that 75% of clients have strong feelings about it, either positive or negative. Of course, most of those feelings come from experience either of their perfect yellow (a Spring who has inadvertently hit on their perfect shade of canary), or their worst version (usually a Winter or Summer who has been persuaded into mustard or corn by well meaning friends and family). Whatever their relationship with yellow, as a consultant I get the chance to show every client which shade they can wear for maximum effect.

So what is your best yellow, and how should you wear it? If you know your seasonal colour palette, please click below to visit a post written specifically for you. If you don’t know your colour palette, why not take Kettlewell’s colour quiz, or read on for how to wear yellow if you don’t know your palette.

 

 

 

If you haven’t had your colours analysed, yellow can be a tricky shade to risk, as there is so much variation between the warm and cool shades, and it’s hard to find such a thing as a ‘neutral’ yellow, without too much warmth or coolness.

The best solution, if you are lacking in confidence with yellow, is generally to keep it away from immediately under your face (i.e. avoid high neck t-shirts and scarves in yellow). Opt for a lower neck top, with a safer shade scarf or necklace over the top, or a cardigan layered over another colour. In summer, pale yellow cropped trousers can be a cheery alternative to denim or white, and yellow sneakers or sandals can lift an outfit.

(Click to enlarge image)

Tonal directions or seasonal analysis? Translation 101

When I write the Kettlewell blog, I talk almost exclusively in seasonal terms (i.e. referring to the colour palettes as Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter), and within that the different ‘types’ of each season. However, the palettes can also be divided up according to ‘tonal directions’ rather than seasons.

In the interests of keeping things clear for all of Kettlewell’s customers, not just those who have had a seasonal analysis, a translation guide seemed in order.

Most modern colour analysis systems – including the two UK big names, House of Colour and Colour me Beautiful – use a 12 season analysis system. The difference is not so much in the palettes as in the different names of those palettes. I have dealt with the different seasonal types used by House of Colour in depth in four posts (Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter), and today it’s the turn of the Colour me Beautiful system to get a little in depth attention, and a translation to the seasonal system.

In the Colour me Beautiful analysis process, the client is assigned a dominant and a secondary tonal direction. These two tonal directions together determine the palette that the client is given. So a client may, for instance, be given ‘Clear and Warm’, meaning that their dominant tonal direction is Clear, with Warm being the secondary palette signifier.

So what do each of these tonal directions mean? Please note that the translations from tonal to seasonal below may not be exact – every analysis system is slightly different.  However, it should give you a good starting point for finding your colours.

Cool

A Cool dominant skin tone is one in which the primary, most important descriptor of the client is that they have a cool (blue) undertone to their skin and need cool toned colours to look their best. A Cool dominant person might be a Winter or a Summer in seasonal terms.

Cool + Clear roughly translates to a Cool/Sultry Winter, at the coolest, deepest end of the Winter palette, whereas Cool + Soft translates to a Cool/Deep/Dark Summer, which is the deepest, most saturated end of the Summer – the most ‘Winter’ end of Summer.

Warm

A Warm dominant skin tone is one in which the most important descriptor of the client is that they have a warm (yellow) undertone to their skin, and need similarly warm toned colours to look their best. A warm toned person might be a Spring or an Autumn in seasonal terms.

Warm + Clear translates to a True/Warm Spring, at the warmest, most vibrantly yellow/golden end of the Spring palette, while Warm + Soft equates to a Warm/True/Vibrant Autumn which, like the Spring equivalent, is the most golden, warmest end of the Autumn palette.

Light

Rather than being predominantly warm or cool, the defining characteristic of the Light dominant palette is, well, light. Often fair of skin, hair and eye colour, the lightness of the colour is more crucial than whether the colour falls just to the warm or to the cool side. A Light dominant person might be a Spring or a Summer in seasonal terms.

Light + Cool equates to a Pastel/Light/Cotton Wool Ball Summer, the lightest and brightest summer colours – these colours are the least ‘greyed’ of the summer palette, and seem to be softened by white more than by grey. Light + Warm translates most closely to a Light/Pastel Spring, containing the lightest and most pastel end of the Spring Colours.

Deep

As with the Light palettes, the dominant characteristic of the Deep palette is not warmth or coolness, but depth of colour – tending towards the dark and saturated, and the more neutral end of the spectrum rather than overly warm or cool. A Deep dominant person might be an Autumn or a Winter in seasonal terms.

Deep + Cool translates as a Deep/Dark/Burnished Winter, the Winter palette containing the most neutral (in terms of warmth and coolness) tones, seen as the ‘softest’ in the Winter palette, as much as any Winter colour can be soft. Deep + Warm is a Deep Autumn, again tending towards the darkest, most neutral (in terms of warmth and coolness) end of the palette.

Clear

The Clear dominant palette has as its most defining feature an absence of greying or muted tones to its colours – all the Clear colours are ‘true’ shades rather than softened versions. A Clear dominant person might be a Spring or a Winter in seasonal terms.

Clear + Cool translates to a Clear/Bright/Sprinter Winter, which falls at the lightest and brightest end of the Winter palette, whereas Clear and Warm equates to a Bright/Clear/Blue Spring, at the brightest and most ‘Winter’ end of the Spring palette.

Soft

The predominant feature of the soft palette is an element of muting, or greying, to the colours, rather than a dominance of warmth or coolness. None of the colours appear at full saturation. A Soft dominant person might be a Summer or an Autumn in seasonal terms.

Soft + Cool equates to a Soft/Brown Summer in seasonal terms, featuring the least cool Summer colours, such as the jade greens and rose browns. Soft + Warm is a Soft Autumn, at the lightest and most muted end of the Autumn palette.

Hit colour refresh

What a month March is turning out to be. Not only have we been busy putting the finishing touches to our A/W17 collection, but we’ve been zipping between location recces in Bath, high summer brochure photo shoots in London and filming in Henley-upon-Thames. Added to that, Kettlewell has had the best start to a season ever, for which I must say a huge thank you for all your continued support.

Anyway, there’s nothing like the shift from winter to spring to get everyone talking about colour, and that’s what we were doing last week in Henley with our good friends at Country Wives . For those of you who may not have heard of it, Country Wives is an online magazine, set up by Annabel, Grace and Ellie, three friends from their London days, who have come together to share tips and ideas about everything from food to fashion. We’ve been lucky enough to team up with them once before , but this time we were videoing Grace having a colour refresh  with Helen Venables, MD at House of Colour.

It turns out that 25 years after she first had her colours analysed, Grace’s wow colours have shifted in her seasonal palette and she is now a vibrant autumn, which, I have to say, is a perfect match for her personality. Enthusiastic, vivacious and ever open to suggestion, Grace embraced Helen’s wonderful bright colour drapes with an open-mindedness that was refreshing to see, and loved our Acid Lime, Fiesta Orange, Saffron and Mallard tops, which I highlighted in the second of the vlogs, How to (successfully) wear bright colours .

Back at Kettlewell HQ, we’ve been busy doing some filming of our own this month, and the eagle-eyed among you may have spotted a number of short Style Guide video clips dotted around the website, as I talk through a range of styles, including the Striped Boat Neck, Silky Tee, Print Daphne blouse and Butterfly Print Tee. We’ve had some really positive feedback so far, with one customer telling us that the style clips give her a good idea of “whether I’ll like it on myself… It makes outfit ideas come alive when you can see them in real life.” Look out for more as they pop up over the next couple of months, as well as some longer ones where I’ll be sharing my favourite pieces for Spring/Summer 17, and do let us know what you think. After all, it’s because of you that we’re here!