Summer palette

Meet our Summer Ambassador – Annabel Simons

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…

 Annabel wears an Alpaca Shawl in French Navy with a Pink Fiesta Three Way Scarf

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.


Annabel wears the Ava Dress in Iris Bloom, she also has a Leather Star Makeup Bag in Aquagreen and Grey

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.

Annabel is wearing a Lulu Curve top in Cherry and has a Light Grey Paris Textured Jacket over her shoulder. She has added a silver Multi Star 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.

Here, Annabel wears the Sofia Dress in Teal and French Navy, with a Velvet Scarf in Peacock Blue and a Cosy Merino Wrap in Bright Navy.

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.

Best feature?
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.

Annabel wearing a Merino Tunic in Bright Navy with her favourite peony Cashmere Gauze Stole

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.

A/W colour combinations for every palette

Autumn and winter are renowned for being vibrantly colourful times of year. Fashion has long drawn inspirations first from the reds, golds and browns of trees in full autumn leaf and the the blood red holly, deep green pine and crisp icy shades associated with the colder weather of winter.

This range of colour is bold, beautiful and inspiring, has a huge impact on what’s available in the shops and inspires us to dress in a way that reflects the season, but what are you supposed to do if you don’t fall into the appropriate palette? Luckily Kettlewell has every colour you can imagine available year-round, so finding the colours you need isn’t a problem, but how are you supposed to reflect this period of the year without compromising your best colours?

If you’ve had a personal colour analysis, just click on the link below to go to the appropriate post for your palette. If you haven’t had a colour analysis, don’t panic. You can either make a start on your journey into colour by visiting the Kettlewell colour quiz or simply read on for some great layering looks that will add autumnal shades to your outfit, whatever your skin tone.
 

 

 

 

Alpaca shawl in dark sage, Cara V Neck in lemongrass, Long Camisole in soft white

Dark sage/lemongrass/soft white – this is such a classic combination. We start to feel the beginning of the effects of autumn as deep leaf green blends beautifully with brighter golden yellow, softened off with a hint of soft white. Try layering these shades for a tonal look, and include a mixture of textures for added luxe.


Sara V Neck in bordeaux, Camisole in ochre, Florence Infinity Scarf in biscuit

Bordeaux/ochre/biscuit – a splash of bordeaux mixed with golden ochre evokes the memory of crisp autumn walks and the colours of late autumn. Make sure you add a scarf!

Merino Crossover in carmine red, Jersey Trousers in black, Lace Camisole in ice blue

Ice blue/carmine/black – move into the beginnings of winter with these deeper, more high contrast shades. Icy blue skies contrast with deep reds and black as the soft shades of autumn evolve into the more stark winter hues.

Milan Knit Crew in true blue marl, Silky Roll Neck in black, Florence Infinity Scarf in charcoal

Black/true blue marl/charcoal – layer up the bolder brighter shades of true winter. The deep blue of sloe berries contrasts with deepest blacks and greys as the warm autumn colour is leeched from the landscape, leaving only the strongest cool tones behind. Add a jet black silky roll neck for added cosy, but keep the bright with a true blue marl merino sweater.

Colour meets denim: everything you need to know


Sophie is wearing a Cosy Cotton Top in jellybean with boyfriend jeans

Whatever your personal style, the chances are you have a pair or ten of jeans in your wardrobe. We’ve talked about denim here before, but something that the good folk at Kettlewell and I get asked an awful lot is which Kettlewell tops go best with which jeans shapes. When faced with the challenge of seemingly limitless denim and t-shirt shapes, it can feel a little overwhelming to begin to work with colour as well, but I’m here to show you that putting the whole lot together can be a breeze.

Straight leg jeans are such a classic cut that it makes sense to pair them with similarly timeless top halves. For an easy smart-casual look, try pairing with a merino crew neck in winter or a simple cosy cotton stripe top. For an evening out, opt for the gorgeously drapey Daphne blouse and the Alexa biker.

Outfit 1 – Cosy Cotton Stripe Top in cornflower/light navy, Florence Infinity Scarf in dusky rose

Outfit 2 – Alexa Zip Jacket in cranberry, Daphne Blouse in pastel rose

Outfit 3 – Shawl Collar Wrap in navy, Darcey Square in blue moon

Outfit 4 – Cosy Merino Sweater in marine blue, Cashmere Gauze Stole in ocean blue

Skinny jeans are so ubiquitous now that it’s hard to think of them as an ‘extreme’ style, but they do require a little more balancing out than classic straight or boot leg styles. Longer tops are your friend here. Layer a long vest under a standard tee, or add the beautiful merino tunic for sleek longline style. Go for the Diane swing top for a change of silhouette.

Outfit 1 – Merino Tunic in deep claret, Tassel Necklace in pink mulberry sparkle

Outfit 2 – Tasha Top in charcoal, Long Vest Top in raspberry

Outfit 3 – Davina Tee in fig, Florence Infinity Scarf in grey plum

Outfit 4 – Davina Tee in dutch blue, Alpaca Shawl in mallard

The bootcut has been out of favour for a while, but increasingly it’s returning to the denim front line. So easy to wear and to balance with a variety of tops, it’s easy to see why many of us refused to abandon this wardrobe stalwart during the skinny jeans years. Pair with classic tees, or add a camisole under a shirt or wrap top if you are larger busted.

Outfit 1 – Sara V Neck  in grey plum, Cashmere Gauze Stole in dolphin grey

Outfit 2 – Cotton Jersey Shirt in navy, Lace Camisole in silver

Outfit 3 – Merino Crossover in glacier, Camisole in steel blue

Outfit 4 – Paris Textured Jacket in true red, Darcey Scoop in ice blue

 

The more extreme wide leg of flared jeans demands a more fitted top half to avoid accidentally landing in clown territory. Embrace the retro feel by pairing with a silky roll neck or a poncho layered over a fitted tee, or go for a simple fitted merino crew neck.

Outfit 1 – Silky Tee in true red, Multi Star Necklace in silver

Outfit 2 – City Poncho in deep claret, Silky Roll Neck in dolphin grey

Outfit 3 – Sleeveless Merino Wrap in bright navy, Silky Crew Neck in light aqua

Outfit 4 – Cosy Merino Sweater in marine blue, Tassel Necklace in charcoal sparkle

Boyfriend jeans can be worn with a relaxed top for a super casual look (go for something slouchy like the Tasha or Davina tees) but look their best contrasted with a more fitted option. Keep it simple with a short sleeve crew neck or a long sleeved silky v neck.

Outfit 1 – Tasha Top in meadow violet, Tassel Necklace in lilac sparkle

Outfit 2 – Alexa Zip Jacket in ink, Sleeveless Mock Turtle in raspberry

Outfit 3 – Silky Crew Neck in pink ice, Studded Scarf in grey

Outfit 4 – Cosy Merino Sweater in bright navy, Florence Infinity Scarf in pastel blue


 

Arctic aircon vs sunny afternoons – summer layering sorted

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you will no doubt have noticed that I have a bit of a vendetta against over-enthusiastic air conditioning, especially in the summer, in Britain. With the best will in the world, it’s not often that it’s so scorchingly hot outside that stepping into an office, store, train or plane cooled to the approximate temperature of an industrial fridge is a huge relief.

However, I gather that my one woman campaign to get the air conditioning turned down to ‘warmer than the actual arctic’ isn’t going terribly well (although I’m pleased to report that Kettlewell HQ has always maintained a perfectly normal temperature), so meanwhile we all need to plan our outfits to manage that endless summer dichotomy of beautiful warm sunshine and chilly air conditioned environment.

Top tips for managing changeable summer temperatures:

  1. Layers are your friend; a sleeveless top  with a cardigan or blazer layered over the top maintains a professional appearance with the ability to cool down when necessary.
  2. Don’t neglect your neck; a luxurious lightweight Cashmere Gauze Stole or a slimline Florence or Willow scarf will easily slip into your bag when you don’t need it, but is an essential defence against that nasty draft down the back of the neck.
  3. When in doubt, go for a dress; pretty, functional, stylish and with no gap between top and bottom when you sit down, a dress with an a-line skirt like the Arabella dress will be flippy enough to keep you cool when you’re out and about in the (possibly) sunshine, but layered up with a camisole and a cardigan will keep you comfortable in the artificially chilled air.
  4. Closed toe shoes; leather or suede will breathe when you go outside, but prevent you getting chilly feet while you’re sat back at your desk, when blood to the extremities can slow down somewhat from lack of exertion.

Start with a Print Arabella Cap Sleeve dress shown here in Cassis/Pink Violet, wear with an Ice Pink Camisole underneath, a Cassis Mid Cascade on top and finish off with an Ice Pink Willow Scarf.

Start with a Soft Square Vest in Blue Moon worn with a Bright Navy Jersey Pencil Skirt. Add a Milan Knit Cardigan in True Blue Marl and a Florence Infinity Scarf in Heliotrope.

Start with a Daphne Blouse in Iced Aqua worn with a pair of Marie Trousers in Silver. Add a Cotton Blazer in Blue Teal and carry a Cashmere Gauze Stole in Soft Aqua.

Perfect prints for every palette

While plain coloured clothes can form the building blocks of any wardrobe, prints really can be your wardrobe heroes. Whether you’re highlighting your best bits, camouflaging your, erm, less best bits, trying to find an effortless way of incorporating colour or simply embracing this season’s floral trend, prints can solve a multitude of wardrobe dilemmas.

The other problem with prints after your colour analysis can be deciding whether they’ll work for your palette. simple rule of thumb solution; the more a print aligns with your palette the better, but a bare minimum of 60% of the print falling within your palette will work well enough. Of course, the easiest way to get a print that fits perfectly within your season’s colours is to choose one from Kettlewell, where the colours have been carefully selected to match your palette.

And once you’ve bought your print, how do you wear it? Pick out a colour from within the print for the rest of your outfit, or go off piste and boldly clash? For information on how to wear prints for your season, click below to go to the appropriate post. If you haven’t had your colours analysed yet, why not take our quiz, or read on for more general tips and tricks to perfect your print game.

 

 

 

If you haven’t had your colours analysed and want to get started with prints, stick with either universal colours or ones you feel confident in and follow one of our simple formulas for wearing print. Start with a simple stripe and work your way up!

The stripe is right
Kettlewell items shown: Stripe Boat Neck in periwinkle, Ballerina Pumps in light gold

Keep it co-ordinated

Kettlewell items: Print Jersey Trousers in black/sapphire, Mid Cascade in black, Long Vest in sapphire

Neutral with a pop

Kettlewell items: Print Daphne Blouse in pastel & aqua, Short Ruched Skirt in pebble grey, Milan Knit Cardigan in light silver

Go for the clash

Kettlewell items: Stripe Boat Neck in true red, Short Ruched Skirt in ganzi purple, Ballerina Pumps in silver

Co-ordinated colour clashes

Every few years, another colour clashing trend comes around, and while some of us embrace it with huge confidence, the rest of us tend to sidle around it slowly, keeping our outfits nice and safe and, at most, ‘neutral with a pop of colour’. Well, it’s 2017 and the trend has cycled round again, but this time we’ve decided to make things simple for you by showing you how to pair clashing colours in a way that makes you look and feel amazing.

The rules of The Clash:

  1. It is so much easier if you choose colours from within your palette. Clashing doesn’t need to mean going outside your palette. Think of bright fuchsia pink with bold scarlet, or burgundy with delicate duck egg?
  2. If you want to go outside your palette, keep your outfit down to as few colours as possible, to avoid the clashing colours looking less ‘statement style’ and more ‘got dressed in the dark’.
  3. Unless you’re being super brave and adding a third clashing colour, keep your accessories/any non-clashing clothes as neutral as possible to avoid detracting from the bold colour statement you are already making. Going for a darker neutral makes those non-focus colours recede, while going light can add even more interest, and give a slightly retro feel.

Our favourite colour clashes

Pink and red (Winter, Spring)

cara v neck, short ruched skirt, tassel necklace, love colour tee, rosa 7/8 trousers

Navy and black (Winter)

cara v neck, short ruched skirt, leaf charm necklace

Blue and orange (Spring, Autumn with teal)

pippa top, short ruched skirt, tassel necklace, darcey scoop, rosa 7/8 trousers

Muted and bright pink (Spring, Summer)

milan knit crew, florence infinity scarf, rosa 7/8 trousers, long tie wrap, long vest, tassel necklace, marie trousers

Sky blue and vermillion (Spring)

darcey boat neck, tassel necklace, weekend skirt

Mint and mulberry (Summer, Winter)

milan knit cardi, fine cotton v neck, marie trousers, leaf charm necklace

Violet and pink (Summer)

v neck 3/4 sleeve tee, florence infinity scarf, marie trousers

Terracotta and yellow (Autumn)

milan knit cardi, square neck 3/4 sleeve, rosa 7/8 trousers, tassel necklace

Mustard and purple (Autumn)

mid cascade, davina tee, rosa 7/8 trousers, tassel necklace

Cobalt and ice green (Winter)

daphne blouse, short ruched skirt, coin pendant necklace

Purple and red (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter)

long tie wrap, love colour tee, short ruched skirt

Pink and orange (stepping out of your palette!)

simone cowl, rosa 7/8 trousers, coin pendant necklace

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)