Kettlewell colours

Scarves for summer

We love a scarf here at Kettlewell. Or even lots of scarves. They bring colour, texture and interest to any outfit. A scarf feels like a super easy addition when the weather is cold, but if you’re someone who relies on your scarf to add a pop of colour and finish your outfit, how do you style it when the weather is warmer?

I’ve got news for you. Summer scarves rule. Especially if you live in Britain, because a scarf allows you to look all breezy and airy and summery without actually freezing to death on those days when the temperature only limps up to about 13 degrees. I’m looking at you, British weather.

Here’s how to wear my Kettlewell favourites for summer.

Cashmere Gauze Stole

Cashmere adds instant cosiness without bulk – the airy lightweight fabric of the gauze stole is deceptively warm, and doesn’t look like a heavy winter scarf so will fit in with your breeziest outfits. Ideal for combating vicious air conditioning when travelling, or adding lightweight warmth over a party dress.

Silk Leopard Scarf

Smarten up your workwear with a statement silk scarf. Tie in a multitude of ways, or even loop around your handbag strap, for instant Parisian chic.

Willow Scarf

Want insouciant skinny scarf chic? Willow is your friend here. Lightweight enough to wear in the warmest weather, the Willow scarf will add a simple pop of colour without any bulk, and will give any outfit a cool retro vibe.

Florence Infinity Scarf

Florence is your go to for for every single casual outfit all summer. You need one of these in every colour (well, maybe not every colour, but you’ll be amazed how quickly you want to try just one more colour). Keeps a summer evening breeze off, but the gorgeously silky fabric won’t overcook you when the temperature finally rises.

Metallic Print Scarf

If you like your outfits to be textured and more statement, you need a Metallic Print Scarf scarf in your life. Channel 90s chic with a simple vest and maxi skirt, or add an edge to a simple jeans and tee outfit.

A week in the sun: a wardrobe for every palette

Michelle wearing the T-Shirt Dress in Azure

After what feels like the longest winter since the last ice age, spring is in full flower and summer is finally beginning to hint that it might actually arrive one day. With the arrival of summer, of course, comes summer holidays. And with summer holidays comes a total panic over how to dress oneself in a hotter climate, maybe with the limitations of carry on luggage, and still look and feel amazing.

The solution is a well thought through, flexible and flattering capsule wardrobe where not only each individual piece makes you feel great but the whole lot works together to make holiday dressing a breeze.

The foundation of a good flexible capsule wardrobe packing solution is, naturally, the colour palette. Choose well, and your holiday dressing will be a dream come true. Choose badly and you’ll face a week of stressed mornings and compromise outfits. A colour palette that not only ties together and harmonises well with itself but also makes your eyes brighter, your skin clearer and your smile whiter is the holy grail here, and knowing your own seasonal palette is the key. If you have had a colour analysis and already know your palette, simply click on the link below to be taken to the seasonal post (and holiday wardrobe!) for that palette. If you don’t know your palette yet, why not take our colour quiz to get you started? Or read on to find a capsule holiday wardrobe which uses some of the most universally flattering colours we have at Kettlewell.

 

 

 

 

The trick for a holiday wardrobe is to seriously limit your colour palette (while making sure you don’t end up with only boring neutrals). Start with a dark neutral, a light neutral and, crucially, two core bright colours, and maybe add in a splash of one or two more brights as you get the basis of your holiday packing established.

When it comes to deciding which pieces to actually pack, you can’t beat the 5-4-3-2-1 rule…

bright navy gigi top, chalk white eveline blouse, jade everyday cotton v, true red pippa top, purple soft square vest

Choose five tops to start off your holiday wardrobe. Make sure you include at least one neutral and a couple of your favourite brights. Take at least one top which can double up for evening, and a lightweight long sleeved top in case of sunburn.

 white shorts, cropped jeans, white jeans, red and soft white stripe weekend skirt

Choose four bottoms which match your tops. Neutrals are often easiest here as they go with everything, but don’t be afraid to inject a splash of colour!Take three pairs of shoes – flip flops for the beach, a pair of evening-appropriate sandals and comfy shoes for sightseeing.

 

soft teal t-shirt dress, true red lola dress

A beach cover up and a smarter option that will take you from nice lunch to glamorous cocktails.

Teal bikini and navy one piece

Two swimsuits mean no squeezing into a wet swimsuit when you decide to go for an early morning dip.

 riviera blue suede shoulder bag

You only need one handbag. Make it comfortable and make sure it goes with the rest of your holiday wardrobe.

true red cashmere gauze stole

A cashmere gauze stole is perfect for covering up against any unexpected air conditioning chill as well as doubling up as a cushion on the flight or an evening wrap.

ink alexa zip jacket

A simple relaxed biker jacket will go with everything and won’t add too much weight to your packing – dress it up for evening with sandals, or dress it down with jeans and flip flops for sight seeing chic.

Colour conversation with Kassia St Clair

Kassia St Clair is an author, design and culture writer based in London. Her first book, The Secret Lives of Colour, was Radio 4′s Book of the Week, and is being translated into eight other languages. She is a regular contributor to radio shows including NPR’s Marketplace and Radio 4.

Your book, The Secret Life of Colours, has just been published in the US, and you have a second one on the way. Can you tell us about them?

The Secret Lives of Colour was my first book, and no matter how much other kinds of writing you’ve done, there’s something very magical about publishing your first book. The essential idea is that it’s an exploration of 75 different dyes, hues and pigments. It’s pretty informal, I’ve treated each shade like a sort of character sketch, just to give the reader the most interesting (to me, anyway) facts.

The Golden Thread, my second book, is perhaps a little more ambitious. Again the idea is that it is a collection of essays — this time about fabrics — but they are rather longer than the ones in the colour book, and a bit more exploratory, taking the reader from the linen found in the tombs of ancient Egypt to the woolen sails on board Viking ships and even into outer space via the Apollo 11 spacesuits.

What is your earliest colour memory?

My mother was a florist, and I do have early memories of being allowed to make little posies at her shop with discarded blooms after school. I loved that.

Every colour tells a story in The Secret Life of Colours. Do you have any favourites?

Mummy brown is probably the most fun colour story to tell — it’s all about a pigmet made from, you guessed it, mummmified human remains — but perhaps not the most attractive colour. The colour story I reach for most often when trying to explain the book and persuade people of the magic of colour is the one behind ultramarine. This is the queen of blues: beloved by Renaissance artists, more expensive at times than gold, and transported all the way to Europe from a single mine in north-eastern Afghanistan.

What do you think it is about colour that captivates and excites people?

Colours can inspire strong emotions in people and they also go through trend cycles, so that some colours or combinations of colours feel fresh and exciting one year and dated the next. I also think that the fact that people have gone to such lengths to create colour is fascinating to people. It’s so easy now to get your hands on a rainbow of hues, whether that’s in interiors or in your clothes. That hasn’t always been the case and I think people like hearing about that.

How does colour make you feel?

Of course it depends on the colour and on the context. Sometimes it feels really energising to be surrounded by strong hues, but at other times you might crave something richer or more neutral. I would never want to live in an all-white space (or an-all black one for that matter), but that’s entirely personal.

How much has colour made its way into your wardrobe?

I’ve become a lot more conscious of this since writing the book. I think like a lot of people I have tended to buy more black clothes than I strictly need, but now that I spend more time talking about colour I try harder to buy other colours and to experiment more. (When I was on Saturday Live Aasmar Mir laughed at me for wearing a black polo neck!) Since I went freelance I wear a lot more denim than I used to, so that’s something.

For colour inspiration, visit @secretlivesofcolour on Instagram

You previously wrote a column for Elle Decoration about colour. What colours fill your own home?

We’ve just redecorated, and we went for dark forest greens, mid-century pinks and whites. I haven’t tired of it yet!

Is there any colour you particularly dislike?

Before I started writing it, I was very nervous about writing the brown chapter. I had preconceptions about the brown shades being boring, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Mummy brown was a delight to write, so was taupe. Lots of people have asked me about khaki since the book has been published, and although it hasn’t received as much attention I really enjoyed learning about sepia, too.

Have your every had your colours analysed?

Never! I’m curious, but I have a natural inclination against rules, and what would happen if I was told that my favourites didn’t suit me at all?

Has your favourite colour changed as you’ve got older?

Yes. Over the years — like many women I think — I’ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship with pink. I’m definitely embracing it at the moment.

You can visit Kassia’s website here and you can buy her book The Secret Lives of Colour here.

Sizzling hot: how to wear red in summer

Sophie wears the Stripe Pocket Tunic and the Cotton Rib Bolero

Some might say we have a slight obsession with red at Kettlewell. We would argue, of course, that our obsession extends to all colours. Nonetheless, red holds a special place in the heart of anyone who has finally discovered which shade of the traditional siren hue makes them look and feel a million dollars, whether it’s in the form of a lipstick, the perfect striped top or a full on bold red dress. However, I noticed the other day, while cataloguing old blog posts, that I have never once talked about how to style red in summer. I have waxed lyrical about how well it fits in a Christmas wardrobe and to add a dramatic splash of colour to winter party clothes, but never about fitting this boldest of shades into your warm weather wear.

The answer is, as always, to just go ahead and give it a try. If you know your best red then the whole thing becomes so much easier, but if you don’t then I have great news. True red, which has no yellow (warm, orangey) or blue (cool, burgundy) undertone but is simply a bold, bright scarlet, suits every single skintone. This is because it will never fight against your natural skintone – on a cool toned person a warm red looks cheap and adds sallowness, on a warm toned person the cool red looks heavy and dulls skintone, but the ‘neutral’ true red with no yellow or blue added looks ace on absolutely everyone. So if you haven’t had a colour analysis, your first rule is to stick with true bold red.

If you’re lacking confidence, here are four simple styles to get you going with this boldest and brightest of colours

Florence Infinity Scarf in True Red worn with Breton Stripe Top in Navy

Stripe Pocket Tunic in true Red worn with Marl Cropped Leggings in Zinc and Suede Shoulder Bag in Riviera Blue

Cara V Neck in True Red

Joanna Dress in True Red, Metallic Leather Clutch in Silver and Star Wrap Bracelet in Light Grey Sparkle

Body shape: everything you need to know

Choosing what to wear isn’t only about getting the colour right. It’s about knowing the shapes and styles that flatter you, that emphasise your good bits and conceal the bits you’re not so keen on.

Knowing your body shape is crucial to understanding which clothes will work on you. While your lifestyle and personality all influence your own unique sense of style, the fact is that what you need to put the clothes on is your physical body, so the shape of that body is rather a linchpin of personal style.

So how can you figure it out? For so many of us, knowing our own body shape can be a surprisingly elusive piece of information. Rather than being able to focus on our overall appearance and shape we get hung up on our boobs, our thighs, or whatever other body part becomes our victim of choice.

However, it is perfectly possible to find out your true body shape. Our flowchart quiz will guide you to your true body shape, regardless of how you view yourself (and I speak as someone who considered themselves curvy of boob and round of thigh for years before discovering that actually an inverted triangle was closer to my true shape).

Although it is perfectly possible to do this quiz alone, I would suggest you get a friend to look at you objectively and help you answer if at all possible, particularly as some parts are more easily viewed from behind than in front – it took someone else to point out to me that my shoulders were broad, straight and angular for me to realise that that was the widest point of my body.

Once you’ve discovered your body shape, click on the links below to be taken to a post which will tell you everything you need to know about your shape and the styles that will work for you.

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/ 

 

Return of a classic

It’s another bumper year and the spring/summer collection is selling quickly, but if you’ve missed out on something you loved, panic not – as well as a stock refresh of some existing styles, a handful of new styles have arrived and are available online right now.

Although the new high summer collection boasts a dress named after yours truly (which I will, naturally, be ordering in every single colour that suits me), the item I’m excited to share with you today is actually a Kettlewell classic; a bestseller that has been revised, updated and reintroduced just in time for summer sun (there will be summer sun this year, I promise).

The Twist Top features a slimming v-neck and flatters a range of bust sizes. This time round it has cap sleeves for the summer, in a new improved soft stretch viscose fabric and is available in 8 delicious colours.

It can easily be dressed up for evening, but if you want to keep it more modest or add a splash of colour for daytime, simply layer it over a camisole. Here, the Twist Top in True Red is worn with Light Navy Rosa Trousers and heels for a smart daytime look and a Soft White Camisole layered underneath, adds contrast.

For a more casual holiday vibe, wear with a Weekend Skirt (here in Bright Navy). Just add sandals, sunhat and sunglasses and you are good to go. A Starburst Necklace adds a finishing touch.

Personally, I rather love the idea of this pretty, feminine top in Lobelia  contrasted with super casual denim shorts, sunglasses and sandals for the perfect holiday beach to bar outfit. Simply add a Bright Aqua Cashmere Gauze Stole for when the temperature drops in the evening and you’re good to go!