Kettlewell colours

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

Which ice cream flavour are you?

It’s summer, it’s hot (intermittently, at least) and, if you’re anything like me, ice cream is featuring heavily in your life in all its many glorious flavours and colours.

There’s something about those pastel-yet-vibrant shades that just evokes an air of  glorious seaside holidays and stress-free living. Why not evoke that retro-beach-holiday vibe in your outfit too, and wear your favourite flavour? From orange sorbet to vanilla ice cream and chocolate to mint, there’s an ice cream shade for every palette.


So many spring shades sound decidedly edible anyway that it’s no problem imagining them in ice cream form! Keep your shades light and bright, with a sorbet pop to brighten things up.


Raspberry ripple, strawberries and cream, mint choc chip… All the softest and coolest shades belong in your Summer sundae.


Tropical fruity shades, from papaya to orange to kiwi fill your palette, and if that feels a little bright you can always play it safe with coffee and vanilla.


Contrast icy lemon sorbet or palest mint with bold bright raspberry, strawberry and blueberry. For maximum impact, ripple your shades with bright white.


* All images from Baboo Gelato who make our favourite local artisanal ice cream! If you are coming to Dorset, visit them in West Bay or Lyme Regis.

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.


Colour conversation with the artist, Vanessa Bowman

For this week’s blog post, another ‘colour conversation’ with people who champion colour in their work and everyday life, I’ve been talking to the Dorset-based artist, Vanessa Bowman, whose work embraces colour and observes the beauty of everyday objects, from a bunch of garden flowers to a striped shell and a bowl of lemons.

 I love the simplicity of your compositions. What inspires your choice of subject matter?

It is largely dictated by the seasons, as I centre the painting around the colour and shapes of the flowers. I then work in shapes and colours through objects such as jugs, cups and found objects, which relate to each other in the composition.

In spring and summer, I often paint hedgerow flowers or flowers from my garden, and going into autumn there are the warmer colours of berries and hips, along with accents of last of the summer garden flowers. Winter is mainly about painting bulbs such as hyacinths, paper whites, or snowdrops – cooler colours and muted greys. Colour pops come from accents of a bright cup or vase, or perhaps a tangerine or lemon to lift the painting.

Can you describe the creative process?
It involves setting up a still-life on a table in my studio, where I observe in detail, say, a jug of flowers, mapping out their shapes in pencil. I usually paint on card or board or primed canvas. In pencil, I then draw in shapes of objects or fruit around that image to create an overall composition, and start applying the oil paint, which I use fairly thinly, almost like watercolour, thinned down with painting medium. I build up layers of colour until I feel that an overall balance has been achieved.

Do you have a favourite flower that you return to time and again in your paintings?  

Snowdrops, for their beautiful simplicity in shape and colour, and hellebores in spring for their delicate, subtle colour and beautiful markings. I love painting irises, centaureas and geraniums, as well as anemones and tulips – in fact, most flowers appeal for their infinite variety of colour and interesting shapes and form.

As an ‘Autumn’, how much is your seasonal palette reflected in your art?

It’s reflected in the way I am often drawn to those colours in the flowers and objects I select to paint. My favourite jug is a wonderful mustard yellow, and I went through a period of painting with a lot of teal (against ivory anemones and a jewel-like deep red radicchio).

I love the autumnal colours and markings of winter squashes and pumpkins, alongside the rich shades of dahlias and chrysanthemums.

Describe your studio…

My studio is at the bottom of my garden, and is a glorified cricket pavilion! It is being replaced this summer, but will still stand in my vegetable patch, surrounded by trees, flowers, soft fruit and the hills beyond. It’s a real sanctuary away from the house.

Can you sum up your painting style in three words?

Colourful, naive, patterned.

Which artists influence your work?

Mary Fedden, Matisse, Winifred Nicholson, Anne Redpath, Piero della Francesco, St Ives artists, Vuillard, Picasso and many more…

How does colour make you feel?

Colour plays such a key role in my paintings. I get great joy from finding the perfect foil for, say, a yellow jug against a grey background. Generally neutral colours make accents of bright or opposite colours ‘sing’ in a painting. The intensity of pigment that you can achieve with oil paint is a large part of this.

 What colours form the basis of your wardrobe?

Largely neutral colours, which I pair with an accent of a brighter colour with a scarf or jumper or jewellery. I’m a fan of yellow, teal and warm brown shades.

Last great colourful buy?

A beaded necklace with an orange neon tassel!

And finally, do you have a favourite colour?
Mustard yellow, but I also can’t resist a gorgeous magenta in my paintings.

For further information about Vanessa’s work, visit

Photographs by Katharine Davies

Dark detox – get out of the navy, charcoal and black trap

It’s so easy, isn’t it? Throw on a pair of black trousers and a grey top for an evening out. Pair a navy dress with a navy jacket for work. Opt for the black swimsuit for your holiday. Time and time again we go for the safe dark coloured option without even considering the alternatives. But going for the safe, boring option makes us look and feel just that; safe and, shhh, a little boring. When we feel a little sluggish and dull on the inside, a diet detox makes us look and feel better. If you’re feeling a little sluggish and dull on the outside, having a dark detox is a guaranteed way to refresh the way you look and feel too.

If you’re feeling a little nervous about stepping away from your comfort zone, don’t panic. You don’t need to go out looking like a parrot carrying a cocktail and perched on a rainbow. Just lighten those dark neutrals, add a bit of colour, and enjoy the feeling of looking revived and refreshed.

Try simply swapping dark neutrals for light. It will lift and lighten your outfit (and your mood!) without any scary too-bright colours added in.

Kettlewell items shown: Shawl Collar Wraps in Navy and Cashew, Soft Square Vest in Blue Moon, Jersey Trousers in Navy and in Cream

Feeling a little braver? Go for a light neutral and swap that dark top for a brighter alternative. More flattering on your skin tone and more fun.

Kettlewell items shown: Short Ruched Skirts in Black and Latte, V Neck 3/4  in Dark Burgundy and Poppy, Florence Infinity Scarf in Black and Tassel Necklace in Savannah.

Want to go the whole hog? Swap that dark neutral for a bold beautiful bright and make the light neutral the accent part of your outfit rather than the main event.

Kettlewell items shown: Arabella Cap Sleeve Dress in Bright Navy and Fiesta Orange, Cotton Blazer in Blue Teal and Oatmeal Melange

What’s your Wimbledon white? For every palette



The world’s most famous tennis tournament opens in just a few days, and with it one of the world’s most famous dress codes. Wimbledon states that all its players must wear ‘almost entirely white’; a dress code that has existed since the club’s Victorian origins.

The dress code is believed to have originated in the 1800s, when tennis was a sport played primarily at social gatherings, and unsightly sweat patches were rather an unappealing prospect. The all-white outfits were designed to disguise this social faux pas.

While things have, thankfully, moved forward in the worlds of both technical sports clothing and anti-perspirant, nothing beats a predominantly white outfit for evoking long sunny days, effortless chic and the breezy confidence of one who might get up and do some sport, but in reality is unlikely to need to tackle anything more taxing than a gin and tonic at the end of a hard day’s sitting in the sun.

While Wimbledon still insists on true white (no off-white, cream or silver allowed), the rest of us are allowed to choose the white that works best for our skin tone. For many, true white is simply too stark and ageing, and a slight variation on the shade might be more flattering. If you already know your season, click on the link below to find your best ‘Wimbledon white’. If you don’t know your best palette, why not take Kettlewell’s colour quiz to start you off, or read on for more outfit ideas.




If you don’t know your personal colour palette, you may be sticking to true white when it comes to buying basics, as it tends to be very readily available. However, true white belongs only to the Winter palette, and is too stark for many skin tones, making us look tired and washed out. If you are not confident in looking your best in true stark white, it can be safer to opt for a soft white or a light dove grey shade, to give the impact of white without the potential challenges that true white can provide to the skin tone.

Camisole in Mallard, Mid Cascade Wrap in Soft White, Tassel Necklace in Teal Green – wear with cream jeans and tan flip flops.

Long Camisole in Soft White, Jersey Trousers in Cream, Long Linen V Neck in Silver Birch,  Tassel Necklace in Savannah – wear with tan flip flops.

Simone Cowl in Pebble Grey, Short Ruched Skirt in Pebble Grey, Tassel Necklace in Cerise Pink, Metallic Leather Clutch in Silver wear with silver sandals.