Colour Analysis

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.

Party make up in your best colours


We all know that some rules are there to be broken, right? But sometimes it’s nice to have the rules in place for those times when you’re feeling a little less than confident, and make up is one area where a lot of us feel nervous.

Getting your make up right can help you to be more outgoing, have more fun and feel that you’ve put the metaphorical cherry on top of your outfit, but get it wrong and it’s an evening of rushing to the loos to repeatedly check your appearance or spending the evening wondering whether your look is less ‘flawless dewy finish’ and more ‘ageing sweaty panda’.

However, stick to our simple rules for perfect party make up, and you can stride out confident in the knowledge that your make up is fabulously festive and doing nothing except adding to your appearance and confidence.

  1. Pick colours that flatter you. Easier said than done, but if you’ve had a colour analysis you’ll know your best neutrals, and the bolder shades that go with them. For eyes, stick to dark neutrals paired with your best version of light cream/taupe/grey. For statement lips, simply choose your best red or pink from your palette.
  2. Use a primer if you want your make up to last. There are loads available now at a range of prices, so head to your local Boots and try a few. Try it out for the first time on a day when you can check your appearance a few times, so you can double check that it doesn’t make you shiny and does actually do what it promises. You can get separate eye primers, which are great if you have greasy lids, but often unnecessary otherwise.
  3. Smoky eyes OR statement lips. It’s an old rule, but it’s a good one to stick to if you’re not feeling super confident about your application. Keep one neutral/nude and go wild on the other one. As an aside to this rule, I have a personal rule that I go for eyes if I am likely to be eating greasy food, as I know I will forget to touch up my lipstick after eating and end up with a frightening bright red ring around the edges of my lips. Those of you who can be trusted to look after your own appearance probably don’t have this issue.
  4. Don’t fear the sparkle! Heck, it’s Christmas, there’s only so many times a year it’s appropriate to sparkle, so if you’ve always wanted to try it, now’s the time.
  5. Remember your nails – I know it’s not exactly make up, but if you want to keep the make up really light, add your statement colour on your nails. Your palette is your oyster when it comes to choosing nail varnish shades. Add a sparkly top coat over ‘your’ navy for a grown up party look.

If you’re still stuck for ideas, we’ve rounded up our favourite eye and lip looks for each season. Remember, stick to your personal colour palette and you can’t go far wrong.










This is officially the most versatile skirt ever

I’ve always been a huge fan of Kettlewell’s ruched skirt, but it’s just got even better; now available in two lengths and even more colours, this flatters-every-body-shape skirt is without a doubt the most useful item of clothing you will buy this winter. AND it’s basically as comfortable as wearing your pyjamas, thanks to the super stretchy fabric and soft waistband.

If the idea of a stretch jersey skirt clinging to every last lump is faintly horrifying, panic not. The ruched fabric means that the skirt, rather than highlighting every flaw, gently smoothes and disguises any bumpy bits, giving a flattering silhouette which can be paired with a huge range of fitted or slouchy top halves.



Styling the ruched skirt is a piece of cake. Ankle boots are always an easy win with a ruched skirt to keep things feeling modern, whether you go for flat chelsea boots or skyscraper heels. Keep your boots, tights and skirt all in similar shades for an elongating effect, or go for contrasting tights if you want to add a bit of fun. Add a slouchy top, either tshirt or knitwear, for effortless casual, or go a little more fitted for sleek workwear. Going super-fitted on top will really amp up the drama for evening as an alternative to a more draped look.

In short, you need to try one, whatever your body shape and style. The short length is great for, well, shorter people, and for putting together a more casual look (especially with boots and opaques in winter), while the longer one is great for (shocker) those with more height as well as for more formal outfits.


Items from Kettlewell: Cashmere Gauze Stole in Blue Mist, Long Ruched Skirt in Navy, Wrap Bracelet in Silver


Items from Kettlewell: Tasha Top in Neon Yellow, Ruched Skirt in Black, Wrap Bracelet in Navy


Items from Kettlewell: Tasha Top in Cobalt Blue, Ruched Skirt in Cobalt Blue, Sasha Belted Cardi in Charcoal, Tassel Necklace in Starlight Grey

Details of all other items can be found on the Kettlewell Polyvore Page

Think pink

headerPink has been a Big Thing for the past few seasons, and this one is no exception, with two gorgeous dusky pinks – one neutral, one cool – making it into the Pantone colour trend report. However, if soft pinks don’t float your boat, panic not. Pinks are going not one but three ways this winter – soft, deep, and bright – and I promise that at least one of them will work on you, whatever your season.


Your personal colour palette will determine which shade of pink will make the best statement for you this autumn/winter and beyond. Getting your colours analysed is the best way to discover your own palette, but if you haven’t had an analysis yet and want to give yourself a little head start, why not have a go at Kettlewell’s ‘which season are you?‘ quiz to get you started?



As a Spring, you can go for the very brightest warm pinks, from almost-red watermelon through to bright coral shades. Make sure you don’t drift into cool toned fuchsia and magenta shades. Also expect to see lots of your best soft warm pinks, especially in velvet, which seems set to be the fabric of the season.

Best pinks: watermelonrosemellow rosepink coral

For details of all items, visit our Polyvore page.

spring_daytime spring_nighttime


As with Springs, soft pinks in velvet and silk will abound, and with both Pantone colour trend pinks being firmly in the Summer palette, you shouldn’t struggle to find soft pinks. For a bit of a change from all the softness, you can also expect to see really deep pinks, almost burgundy, such as beetroot and mulberry.

Best pinks: musk rosepink clover marlsoft orchidbeetroot and mulberry

For details of all items, visit our Polyvore page.

summer_nighttime summer_daytime


Autumn isn’t exactly renowned for its huge range of pinks, but the softer peachy pinks in textured fabrics like velvet and corduroy will work fantastically well for you as well as for your fellow warm toned Springs. Make sure the shade is peachy rather than mauve, so it flatters your warm skin tone. Steer clear of the deeper fuchsia and raspberry tones.

Best pinks: mellow roselight coralpeach

For details of all items, visit our Polyvore page.

autumn_daytime autumn_nighttime


While those very soft mellow pinks are going to do absolutely nothing for you, console yourself with the thought that this seasons vampy deep pink lip will look absolutely fantastic on you. Or try adding that deep purplish pink to your wardrobe. If you prefer a lighter shade, cerise and hot pink will offer a great party alternative.

Best colours: mulberrydiva pink, cerisehot pinkfuchsia

For details of all items, visit our Polyvore page.

winter_daytime winter_nighttime

For details of all items, visit our Polyvore page.

…and for all things PINK, visit our Pinterest board

The new monochrome

headerMonochrome. The word conjures up images of stark black and white outfits or maybe shades of grey. But monochrome simply means shades of the same colour, so can apply to any colour in the rainbow existing in isolation.

Of course, if you’re going to go for a monochrome outfit, you really want to know that the colour you’ve gone for makes you look amazing. The last thing you need is top-to-toe unflattering shades to give you that oh so coveted ‘I haven’t slept much for the last decade’ look.

If you’re going to go for a bright monochrome, the trick is to do it with confidence and well cut simple styles that let the colour do the talking. I could have explored the single colour look all day, but rather than show you an outfit in every single colour, I’ve managed to restrain myself to my favourite bright monochrome shade for each season.

Spring – yellowspring_b

If yellow feels a bit too bold, try layering up a few Spring blues, from cornflower to royal to bright navy.

summer – pinksummer_b


Not a fan of pink? Burgundy makes for a grown up alternative – add in a couple of lighter cherry shades to stop it looking too heavy.

autumn – redautumn_b


Make sure your reds stay orange toned rather than blueish. If red is too much, try bright moss green for a monochrome look that is bold but grown up.

winter – bluewinter


It’s easy to go for the traditional black and white monochrome look as a Winter, but rather than playing it safe why not go for deep emerald and pine green as an alternative to blue?

For details of all items, visit our Kettlewell Colours Polyvore page >

red lipstick 101

Wearing red lipstick is one of those ‘check it off the list’ items for being a grown up, isn’t it? So many women would love to embrace red lips (I promise not to go all fashion blogger on you here and start calling it ‘a red lip’), but lack confidence in their appearance, the best lipstick shade, or the right application technique to avoid scarlet teeth and bleeding lip lines.

If you’re one of the many, many women who would love to channel their inner 1940s move star (or their inner early 2000’s Gwen Stefani, or whoever your red lipped icon of choice is) but feel you just can’t quite get away with it, read on for everything you ever wanted to know about red lipstick.

Which shade?

Finding your best red is straightforward if you’ve had your colours analysed. You just need to pick a red that tones with one of the reds in your colour swatch wallet. It really is as simple as that – and you thought colour analysis was only going to make getting dressed easier! If you need a reminder of which reds work for each season, hop back to this post where it is discussed in more depth.

If you haven’t had your colours analysed, you may have some inkling of whether you are warm or cool based on colours that you know work or don’t work for you, but if you really want to nail your perfect red now is the time to hunt down your nearest colour analyst and book in for a session. If you’re not quite ready to take the leap yet, why not try out our colour quiz for a quick and free insight into the kinds of colours that might work for you?

Establishing the type of red you can wear really is the most crucial step in finding the right red lipstick. Messing around with formulations, textures and application techniques is never going to achieve amazing things until you are putting the most flattering shade on your lips.



Am I too old?

In short, no. You might find, as you get older, that you need to be a little more careful about the lipstick formulations you use – very matt and therefore more drying lipsticks can be ageing, and ones that are too greasy can bleed out into fine lines around your mouth, but if you pick the right lipstick you can keep wearing it into your nineties, a la Iris Apfel.

In terms of getting the formulation right for your age, consider something with a slight sheen or shimmer (I’m not talking 1980s Rimmel heather shimmer here, just a few small reflective particles in the lipstick that make it look less flat), and a good moisturising formula. A good foundation primer around your lips, and even a lipstick primer if necessary, will make sure that your lipstick doesn’t bleed out.

When it comes to colour, lipsticks at the darkest end of your palette can get a little severe as you age, so go for a slightly lighter one. Remember, it doesn’t necessarily need to be softer, especially if you’re a Winter or Spring, but just a bit lighter than your deepest darkest reds or burgundies.

What type of lipstick?


Lipstick formulation is largely a matter of choice, and you may find as your confidence increases that you’re ready to try the next level of intensity.

  • Tinted lip balm – if you’re terrified of any lip colour at all, this is the place to start. It wears off incredibly quickly, but gets you used to a little colour on your lips with the added bonus that you’re stopping them flaking too.
  • Lip gloss – this can vary from almost completely transparent to fairly opaque, so make sure you test it before buying. Beware, they can be super sticky and don’t last that long, but are a good introduction to slightly more colour.
  • Sheer lipstick – a little easier to wear than gloss, and generally with slightly more colour, although there are some very sheer options out there. Again, limited staying power, but a great way to get into a red without the commitment of an opaque colour.
  • Frosted/shimmer lipstick – these don’t suit everyone’s style, but a subtle shimmer can make for a less intimidating option than full matt red.
  • Matt lipstick – the real deal. Your lips need to be in good condition, as this is the most drying of all the lipstick options, but get the application right (see below for tips) and you can have perfect looking, non-shifting lipstick for more or less the whole day. The colour will be totally opaque, so go for a slightly softer colour rather than trying to apply less if you’re nervous.

So how do I apply it?


For lip balms and glosses you can basically whack the colour on and go – it’s so sheer that it won’t last long, but any minor errors in application won’t show either. Once you get into ‘proper’ lipstick, even a sheer one, you’ll benefit from proper application. Here’s how to get a professional lipstick finish every time:

  • Make sure your lips are in good condition. Get into the habit of nightly lip balm as part of your cleansing routine, as applying lip balm right before your lipstick will mean it slides off in about four seconds flat.
  • Start with a primer on the skin around your mouth. This is really only essential if you have lots of fine lines which will cause your lipstick to bleed, but even if you don’t it will help keep everything perfectly in place.
  • Use a lip pencil to outline your lips. If you are still in beginner mode and using a gloss or a very sheer lipstick, go for a lipliner than closely matches your natural lip colour, or perhaps a fraction more red (in the appropriate cool/warm tone). If you are using a proper red lipstick, use a red lipliner to match. For real longevity, you can colour your lips in with the liner as well as line them, but this can be drying if your lips tend that way.
  • Apply one coat of lipstick – a brush is the professional way to do it, but as a dedicated red lipstick wearer I have found minimal difference in longevity, compared to the extra time it takes me to apply with a brush. Go with what works for you.
  • Using a decent quality tissue from a tissue box (not toilet roll, it will leave fibres stuck to your lipstick), blot your lips gently, by holding the tissue between your lips and pressing down on it with your lips.
  • Add a second coat of lipstick, blot and apply a third if you really want to be determined about it.
  • If you really want your lipstick to not budge, divide a tissue into a single ply layer, place it over your lips and dust with loose face powder over the tissue – some of the powder will go through the tissue and absorb any excess oil in your lipstick without removing any colour.
  • I am not a huge fan of lipstick top coats to prevent it wearing off, as I find they taste universally disgusting and often sting to boot, but if you are particularly paranoid, these can be worth a try.
  • Final and most important point! make your mouth into an O shape, insert a finger, close your lips around it and slowly draw your finger out. Any lipstick on the inside of your lips will be rubbed off by your finger, so it won’t be deposited on your teeth the moment you speak.

And there you go! Perfect red lips, every time.

13 into 31: Your spring wardrobe, sorted

We do love a good capsule wardrobe at Kettlewell, and since the season is a-changing, I thought it was about time for another one. I challenged myself to come up with a full month’s worth of outfits from a mere 13 items (and none of this February nonsense, a full 31 days. And not just because it’s a pleasing reversal of the 13 items).


Whatever colour palette you favour and whatever your personal style, there might come a time when you need to put together a capsule wardrobe, whether you are travelling for business, needing to live out of a bag for a couple of weeks during a house move or have rapidly lost or gained weight and need a handful of clothes to see you through until your weight ‘settles’. Knowing how to put together a wardrobe in colours and styles that suit you will make the entire process easier – you can see that even with the very bright Spring palette, I’ve still stuck to just a handful of colours, and included two fairly neutral colours – cream and navy – to keep outfit combinations straightforward.

Capsule wardrobes; not just for boring people.31-outfits

Visit our Kettlewell Colours Polyvore page for details of all clothes and accessories