From the perfect party dress to the essential dinner party top, our Summer colour ambassador and lifestyle blogger Annabel Simons from CountryWives reveals the pieces on her Christmas wishlist this year…
What are your daytime essentials for work and weekend?
In winter, it’s jeans or leggings with a pair of Chelsea boots and something like a Silky Rollneck and Cosy Merino Wrap, which I’ll have hanging over the back of my chair when I’m writing the blog from home (your thermostat starts to go haywire when you get older so this is the perfect coatigan for shrugging on when you get chilly, just adding a Gauze Stole Scarf if you need to head out). I used to wear a lot of skinny jeans in the past but nowadays I find straight-legged jeans more flattering and work better with boots.
My perfect Christmas party outfit?
A great va-va-voom dress like the velvet Ava Dress if I’m going to a Christmas party or smart trousers and a top, such as the lovely new silky-feel Lulu Curve in Cherry, if I’m out to friends for a dinner. The Lulu Curve is double-layered and the lining means it hangs so much better and shows fewer lumps and bumps than a normal T-shirt. I always like to dress up because I think it’s nice for the hostess if you make an effort, and I’ll always make sure I finish off the look with earrings, scarf and a decorative necklace.
Favourite piece from new winter collection?
It has to be the Ava, but I also love the Velvet Scarves for a bright pop (the Peacock Blue one is fabulous). The Cosy Merino Wrap is also great. I like the fact that it works equally well over a dress and trousers – it’s the kind of item that I know will get plenty of use this season.
Your favourite Summer colours?
Pastel shades from pale blue and duck egg, through to pale lilac and pink (I wear a Cashmere Gauze Stole in Peony all the time). I also love red, especially a pop of it for a scarf or necklace.
My hair. Only because I know that everyone in the hairdressers is always asking for my hair colour! Everyone thinks it’s dyed until they meet my sister and realise that she has exactly the same colour hair. Feature I’m not so keen on? My neck – it’s very long and a bit wrinkly, so I don’t like it at all.
I also hate the fact that as you get older you put on weight in all the wrong places (although I don’t want to get skinny as that doesn’t actually suit me, either). I’m starting to come to terms with the fact that no matter what you do, you have to just accept your body, within reason, and then dress accordingly. Oh, and always look at your back. French women never forget to check what they look like from behind!
Claire (Autumn) wearing Cypress Green, Annabel (Summer) in Iris Bloom and Melissa (Spring) in Cosmopolitan Velvet Faux Wraps!
How does wearing your colours make you feel?
Wearing colour, particularly round my face, makes me feel better and gives me an instant uplift. As you get older your skin loses a lot of its dewiness and freshness, and without painting yourself like something out of the circus, it’s far easier to put on something close to your skin in a great colour.
Since I was first introduced to Kettlewell, there has been so much more colour in my life. If you’d looked in my wardrobe three or four years ago, you’d have found white, navy, grey, brown and black. Now it looks like a Summer wardrobe and is so much better for it, particularly as I tend to live in a uniform of jeans, jeans and more jeans. Even just having a sweater in my right colours can make all the difference.
No outfit is complete without…
A scarf. As you get older, you get colder, so putting something round your neck is immensely useful. I wear scarves all year round; even in summer when I go off on holiday I’ll pack a couple of scarves to drape round my shoulders in the evening. Nowadays I find that you don’t need a really thick scarf, even in winter: my Peony Cashmere Gauze Stole and Dusky Rose Florence Infinity Scarf are all the cosiness I need.
You can follow Annabel (and her friends Grace and Ellie) over on the CountryWives website.