trends

Green – for every palette

Green, the colour of renewal, of nature, of life. It’s an uplifting shade and goes with a multitude of other colours. It can range from palest mint through to darkest pine, from softest olive to vibrant emerald. And you know what else? Most people hardly ever wear it.

You may or may not remember that Pantone’s colour of the year this year is Greenery. Unlike 2015, when the colour of the year, Marsala, was absolutely everywhere, Greenery hasn’t made quite the same impact. People just aren’t as brave with green, in my experience.

I’d be willing to bet that this is because most of us have been put off by a negative experience with green, because when it’s wrong, it’s really really wrong. The right green can brighten and lift, whereas the wrong one will drag you down, add shadows and insta-age the skin.

So which green should you be wearing, and how do you identify it? If you’ve had your colours analysed, just click on the seasonal links below for more information about your best greens and how to choose them. If you haven’t had a colour analysis, why not start with Kettlewell’s quiz, or read on for more information.

 

 

 

If you don’t know your personal colour palette, your safest green is always going to be one with a hint of teal to it, which makes it a more universally flattering shade. If you want to go greener but you aren’t sure if it suits you, just keep the colour away from the area directly under your face, or add another safe universal colour to help balance out any negative effect from the green you have chosen. The chances are, when it comes to green, you’ll be able to see whether it works or not. If you try one and it doesn’t, do persevere, as the right green is like wardrobe magic!

A safe feeling blue with a hint of greenish teal is a great tentative step into the world of greens. Go for Mallard, a universal shade that flatters almost all skin tones.

Kettlewell items shown: Short Cascade Wrap, Soft Square Vest, Suede Tassel Clutch

Light olive shades are usually everywhere in the spring/summer, so another easy green to try, as it won’t stand out as a ‘look at me, I’m wearing green!’ shade. Pair it with a soft white tee, a fairly safe shade for most skin tones.

Kettlewell items shown: Mid Cascade Wrap, Silky Tee, Tassel Necklace

Ready to go bright? Pair a grass green with nature inspired neutrals to keep it boldly tropical but 100% stylish.

Kettlewell items shown: Mid Cascade Wrap, Fine Cotton Tee, Short Ruched Skirt, Tassel Necklace


 

Nautical but nice – the 100 year history of the breton

Bretons are a mainstay of many a wardrobe. Smartened up with a blazer and skirt or thrown on with denim shorts, they are the ultimate dress-up-dress-down style staple. But have you ever wondered where this wardrobe cornerstone originated?

Bretons have been a fashion classic since Coco Chanel introduced them a full century ago in her 1917 nautical collection, but did you know that their heritage runs even further back? In 1858 they were introduced by decree as part of the French naval uniform, and Chanel was inspired by the smart look sported by the sailors on a trip to the French coast.

The original naval breton stripe was a strictly regimented affair – the breton was intended to be long enough to cover the lower back of the sailor, fitted enough not to get caught on rigging, and the stripes were a strict 2cm of white to 1cm of blue (and if the use of centimetres in the 19th Century seems strange, consider that the French actually started using the metric system in the 1790s, and it was adopted by the country as a whole in 1837. Ahead of the game in more than just style staples).

The breton has been sported by everyone from Chanel herself to Audrey Hepburn and Ginger Rogers. In more modern times it was revolutionised by Jean Paul Gaultier, and has been popularised by fashion icons such as Alexa Chung and Olivia Palermo, and the Duchess of Cambridge frequently turns to a classic breton and jeans outfit for less formal engagements. We’ve collected images of famous breton wearers over on our ‘Nautical but nice’ Pinterest board, click image to view.

Of course, the breton in 2017 is every bit the style solution is was in 1917. A few twists and tweaks, and it still has all the fresh nautical appeal of the original, with added wearability. Kettlewell’s version has a slight change on the stripe width, and comes in four flattering colours, so if navy and white isn’t your best look, there’s still an option that looks amazing on you. And if you love the breton stripes but feel the need to wear something other than a striped tee occasionally (I suppose it’s possible that this might theoretically happen to some of you) then look no further than the maxi dress,  which carries the same classic-but-insoucient look of the original breton, brought right up to date.

Stripe Boat Neck in True Red, Cotton Blazer in Iris, Suede Tassel Clutch in Lobelia and Ballerina Pumps in Light Gold – all from Kettlewell

 

Stripe Maxi Dress in Red, Short Cascade Wrap in Azure, Tassel Necklace in Neon and Cream, Suede Tassel Clutch in Cobalt Blue – all from Kettlewell

Cosy Cotton Stripe Top in Deep Sea Green/Grey Marl, Florence Infinity Scarf in Soft Teal, Jersey Trousers in Marine Blue

If you haven’t adopted the breton stripe as a wardrobe staple yet, you probably should.

 

Saluting the sunshine hues by Melissa

Did you spot Kettlewell in The Times this week? T2 had dedicated the front page and a double-page spread to our favourite topic, colour, and specifically how to wear it this summer. Fashion Director Anna Murphy was telling us all to move beyond blacks and neutrals and embrace the season’s sunshine hues, and for those overwhelmed by all the colour choice on the high street right now, Kettlewell was the place to go to find the colours that work best for you. It’s always great to get a mention in the national press and to take part in any conversation about colour, so we were thrilled to be included.

Talking of summer colour choices, we’ve been poring over Pantone charts and mood boards in the studio this week, choosing colours and prints for our Spring/Summer 2018 collection.

With Pure Zen, Living Garden, Drawn Botanicals, Mystical Tribes and Neon Tropics among the predicted style trends for 2018, it was a case of assessing a range of potential prints to identify ones that would best work for our styles and fabrics, as well as, of course, our customers. Then it was down to the serious business of choosing new colours, with each of the four seasons, Spring (me), Summer (Sarah), Autumn (Claire) and Winter (Anna) selecting the shades for their respective palettes from literally thousands in the Pantone charts. It’s rather like a group of people in a restaurant intently viewing the world’s longest menu, imploring the next person to go first before making their own choice.

The key is to leaf through the Pantone charts, colour by colour, and hone in on the shades that you are instinctively drawn to, with an eye on the style it would suit. With 150 shades already in the range, it’s no easy task to find ‘new’ colours.  Winter is the hardest season to work with, as the colours have to be spot-on:  intense and vibrant or icy and sharp, with no shades in between, but the three others have plenty of variation either side. After hours of intense colour scrutiny, we had whittled it down to our favourites.

Heliotrope, blue jewel, shell pink, dove grey, azure and pink geranium have been our bestselling colours this summer, with the apple butterfly print and red and white Breton stripe among our most popular prints. It’ll be interesting to see which of the shades we’ve just picked out will be topping the charts this time next year.

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)

Time for tees – by Melissa

There’s something about the arrival of spring, the sun shining, the birds tweeting and that hint of warmer summer days to come, that has got me excited about wearing T-shirts again, this time unencumbered by winter cardis and jackets.

As well as being one of the most useful pieces in my wardrobe, tees for me are bound up with nostalgia. They remind me of sunshine and happy holidays as a child in Cornwall and Brittany; of ice-creams and seaside and being together as a family. They also remind me of being at school in the 1980s, sporting my favourite oversized bright orange tee with the words ‘Relax’ from Frankie Goes to Hollywood emblazoned across the front, and then later, when I moved to London and started working for a fashion mail-order company, buying a 100% cotton Ralph Lauren tee for the princely sum of £45 (what seemed to me like a small fortune for a T-shirt 20 years ago), which felt fabulous.

Tees have followed me right through life and, as you probably know, are the reason John and I started Kettlewell in the first place, wanting to provide this simple basic to the very highest quality and in a range of colours that had never been done before.

The first Kettlewell catalogue from 2005

I also love the fact that few other items of clothing have such a long, cool and varied past – something my daughter, Tash, and I discovered a couple of years ago when we went along to the History of the Tee exhibition at the V&A. Did you know, for example, that the T-shirt is 106 years old, originating from underwear and only officially becoming outerwear in 1913 when it became regulation uniform for the US Navy? It grew in popularity as sport became a common activity, and was a teenage staple in the 1950s, due in no small part to the dashing screen icons of the day like James Dean and Marlon Brando, and in the 1960s the T-shirt became a pop art canvas for boutique designers. Flick through any fashion magazine today and you won’t be able to turn for images of the slogan tee, saying it loud and proud. The tee has certainly earned its place in fashion history.

From a design point of view, people tend to assume that nothing could be simpler than a tee, but as we have come to realise over the years, the basics can often be the most difficult to perfect, as there’s no hiding from the shape, fabric and stitching. The hard-working tee must accommodate the tall, short, straight, curvy, broad shouldered, narrow shouldered, busty and flat-chested among us (I’m always amazed by how many different body shapes actually fit into a size M), as well as those who like a smooth fabric, a thick cotton or one with stretch. Then there’s the question of how short or long do you like your sleeve, which colour to choose from your seasonal palette (if you’ve had your colours analysed you’ll know about wearing your best colours close to your face), and what sort of neckline flatters your shape, from v and crew to scoop and boat. Who would have thought that such a simple basic could throw up so many choices?

Style considerations aside, the T-shirt has always been a wardrobe stalwart for me – versatile, feminine, hard-working, super-comfortable… and always, at the back of my mind, evoking memories of childhood holidays and ice-cream. Roll on summer.

Melissa’s Four Favourite Tees:

1 Stripe Boat Neck (True Red Stripe)

2 Butterfly Print Tee (Apple/Soft White)

3 Love Colour Tee (Flamingo Pink)

4 Silky Tee (Blue Jewel)

 

To see our Pinterest board ‘Time for Tee’ visit Kettlewell on Pinterest

The Pantone Colour of the Year 2017: Greenery – by Jo

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I know this isn’t the very first post of the year, but writing about the Pantone Colour of the Year has started to feel a little like the official start of the new year for me and my work, which is, after all, largely based around colour. So let’s say Happy New Colour Year!

The Pantone Colour of the Year is surprisingly significant, even for non-fashion-followers. It sets the trends for fashion, interiors and art, and heavily influences what will be available in shops in the coming year.

This year’s colour choice marks a bit of a shift away from the muted, unobtrusive tones of Rose Quartz and Serenity, and the previous year’s big hit, Marsala. 2017’s Colour of the Year is Greenery, an ever so slightly muted, but still saturated, grass green.

In the words of Pantone, ‘Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the reassurance we yearn for amid tumultuous social and political environment’. Pantone goes on to explain that ‘Greenery is symbolic of new beginnings’ and ‘evokes the first days of spring… Greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate’. Broadly speaking I think it’s safe to translate that to green = plants = new growth = new beginnings = a time of change and reinvigoration, whether socially, economically, or sartorially!

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Kettlewell’s ‘We love Green’ Pinterest board

Greenery sits somewhere on the cusp of Spring and Autumn – perfect for Golden (Warm) Springs and Vibrant (True) Autumns, as well as being wearable for other types of both seasons. Of course, the Winters and Summers among you probably already have your heads in your hands, but panic not. Although this is very much a warm toned shade, even Pantone’s own introductory video to the shade features a range of tones from acid green through to deep emerald and soft jade. Expect to see cooler greens appearing for both Winters and Summers.

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Tasha top in Turtle Green, Florence infinity scarf in Olive Grove,  Shawl collar wrap in Light Moss, model is wearing a Maria Cowl in in Olive Grove (currently 50% off in sale)

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Mid cascade wrap in Kerry Green (also worn by model), Florence infinity scarf in Leaf, Long camisole in Apple

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Tasha top in Spruce (also worn by model), City Poncho in Emerald Turquoise (currently 30% off in the sale), Semi scoop 3/4 sleeve in Soft Teal

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Silky scoop neck in Pine (also worn by model), Scoop neck 3/4 sleeve in Emerald, Shawl collar wrap in Dark Emerald

 

 

We can’t avoid it any longer. Let’s talk about velvet.

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You know sometimes all the fashion magazines declare something to be the latest must have, and then five minutes later it’s disappeared without trace? That’s kind of what I expected to happen with velvet. A couple of mentions in the more adventurous fashion pages, then a rapid sinking.

But apparently velvet is here to stay, for a season or two at least. And why not? It’s luxurious, perfect for party dressing and comes in a wealth of rich colours. Of course, it’s not exactly the most wildly practical fabric anyone ever invented, but you can’t have everything.

It is also not the easiest thing to style. Assuming you don’t live in a world where a co-ordinated burgundy velvet suit is de rigeur, the chances are that you’ll need to go for a more subtle touch in your outfits this winter, but believe me, it’s worth it. A nod to trends like this (without necessarily going burgundy velvet top to toe) will help your wardrobe feel fresh and current rather than fashion victim-esque.

The best ways to introduce velvet:

  1. Keep it to one item – a camisole or tshirt, or even just a choker or skinny scarf if you’re feeling nervous. Favourite among the fashion types is velvet footwear, but if you have to walk anywhere in the great British weather this may not be the ideal option.
  2. Layer up – a velvet camisole is a great way to access this trend, and can be made stylishly wearable by actual humans (as opposed to slim and long limbed 23 year old models) by layering a dark colour over a slim fitting roll neck in one of your best light neutrals.
  3. Try pairing a long tunic/short dress with simple leggings and ballet flats, for an absolutely effortless way to get some velvet into your life.
  4. Keep the rest of your outfit casual, unless you’re at a party! Velvet works incredibly well with a certain laid back insouciant sort of look, but can easily look over-done for daytime wear. Of course if it’s a party, then please ignore me entirely.
  5. If you’re not a Winter, keep an eye out for velvet in soft greys, camel and other neutrals – there is a bit of a dearth of velvets in accent colours for any season apart from Winter, so keep an eye out for some more unexpected colours or neutrals from your palette.

 

Details of all items shown can be found on the Kettlewell Polyvore page here