A year of living colourfully
This week we thought we would share with you the colour diary of our lovely customer Alison – a head teacher of an inner city primary school, who discovered Kettlewell and started her colour journey at the start of Lockdown One. Not only is she an inspiration to her friends and colleagues but we like to think she is nurturing a whole little generation of colour lovers…
My 50th birthday resolution in January was to wear less black, so as the weather has suddenly warmed up and I’m quarantining, it’s time to finally embark on a radical and long overdue overhaul of my wardrobe. I’ve been replacing all the contents that I threw on the bed – loads of tired-looking, baggy black clothes – with colourful styles from Kettlewell, a brand I discovered by chance when I Googled ‘colourful clothes’. Such a revelation… surveying the Kettlewell Winter palette of colours for the first time genuinely feels like coming home!
Previously, I had been reluctant to invest in ‘nice’ clothes and kept waiting to lose weight but now I’m genuinely enjoying shopping and the eagerly anticipated arrival of each turquoise parcel of joy. Hurrah for the Lulu Tops in Tango Red, Fuchsia and Chinese Blue that look and feel great.
A fortuitous combination of discovering Kettlewell and not being able to spend money on travel, socialising and eating out with friends means I’m fortunate enough to have the time and money to spend on experimenting with colour. Psychologically, I’m also beginning to appreciate the power of colour and how uplifting it can be. And I’m not the only one benefiting from the positivity…
The staff are loving the impact of seeing the new me in my colours and collectively are making more of an effort themselves to embrace wearing colourful clothes. Certainly our lunchtime distraction from all things Covid-related has been taking the Kettlewell colour quiz and analysing one another’s colours. I can’t wait for Lockdown to lift to have my colours ‘done’ professionally.
Across the Summer term at school, the Darcey Tops have been a godsend. Depending on the weather, I’ve been been pairing them with the Chloe Jacket or the Short Cascade Wraps in Tango Red, Ganzi Purple or the Fuchsia and Emerald Turquoise Mid Cascades.
Even the children in the playground have begun commenting. Most recently, the Year Five girls, AKA the Fashion Police, gave their unsolicited seal of approval to my Chloe Jacket in Silver Moon, but the Year Two girls would like me to wear fuchsia more often!
During the holidays, I’ve been pretty much living in a purple tie-dyed sarong, which was a gift from a family I met when I did some volunteer work helping to develop a school in the Gambia 20 years ago, paired with a Lace Camisole and a Short Cascade in Ganzi. On cooler days, I’ve been wearing either a Breton Stripe Top or a Lulu and jeans.
This month I joined the Facebook Colour Club. What an inspiration and how I admire those who post and comment regularly. But…Oops! I’ve just added a Charcoal Chloe to the two I bought last month (Silver Moon and Pine). I’m sure they’ll come in very handy in the Autumn term. Nothing like planning ahead!
Judging by the comments on the Kettlewell Club Facebook page, I’m not the only colour addict loving the new AW20 collection. I adore my new Rachel Jackets (notice the plural here) and have them in Cranberry and Lapis Blue, which look great with my Print Maxi Skirts, and the Winter Multi Stripe Breton, one of my favourite non-work tops.
I now have a colourful collection of clothes for work and weekends that all ‘play nicely’ with one another. I’ve also found my perfect Winter red (Carmine) and green (Dark Emerald). Thank you, Kettlewell!
Schools are open despite the country going back into Lockdown but there’s lots of anxiety in the air. To lighten the mood and make everyone feel better, I’ve decided to have a rainbow half term, with colour challenges every Friday. The children and staff have been exploring their own responses and associations to different colours and emotions and it has been really fascinating. Red, for example, means such different things to different people – for some it is excitement and energy, for others it’s the colours of our local football team or even danger. On the Friday of anti-bullying week, the children were all challenged to wear pink as a stimulus to challenging gender stereo-typing and I’m pleased to report they did not disappoint!
I thoroughly enjoy Jo’s Facebook lives on the Colour Club every Friday afternoon – my Friday night catch-up treat after a long week at school which invariably leads to a spot of ‘wardrobe shopping’ on a Saturday morning and just a little browse of the Kettlewell website… Fatal but oh so fun!
I’ve also really enjoyed seeing everyone responding to the 12 Days of Christmas Challenge on the Kettlewell Colour Club – the penultimate day, ‘wear your favourite Kettlewell item’, really got me thinking. I love everything I’ve bought over the past two seasons and were I following the challenge properly myself, every day, I’d genuinely find it impossible to narrow it down to just one piece.
The Christmas Live with Melissa and Jo was great, too. Melissa’s princess crown and curls have sown the seed for a story I might write for the children one day about a certain Princess Melissa, who rules wisely over her loyal subjects – the Kettlewellies, in the Kingdom of Colour, and who, in the year 2020, leads them to create a rainbow bubble and thus protect and overcome the spectre of darkness cast by the monster Covid-19 that stalks the land. Jo would feature as a wise Colour Wizard, as would Prince John in charge of the Kingdom’s coffers, with Dames Diane and Rebecca all playing key roles in the court of Kettlewell… and perhaps a happy-ever-after ending with a festival of colour!
Lockdown Three has begun but the school is still open for our most vulnerable children and those of key workers. Across the school, I’ve noticed how, as a staff, we are all wearing more colour (and layers!). Hurrah for the Pine Wool Coatigan and my growing collection of infinity scarves, as with the doors and windows open at school, I fear hypothermia may strike before Covid. I may just have to invest in some (more) Silky Scoop Necks and Merino Infinity Scarves to survive the winter.
The more I delve into it, the more fascinating colour and style analysis becomes. Lately I’ve been contemplating my style personality and seeing which, if any, category I fall into. I do so enjoy the drama of swishing around at school in my Print Maxi Skirts and Aurelia Cardigans but on the weekend I’m more of a natural, adventurer type, hence why I adore the Breton and Monaco tops and Evie Sweater with jeans. Can you have a split style personality, or is it just me?
This month I’ve also been making good use of the rainbow umbrella the staff gave me for my birthday – it makes standing out by the school gates in the rain a much more cheerful experience!
I’m still relatively early into my colour journey but what an impact it’s had. Over the past year, I’ve rediscovered old favourites that I haven’t worn in years (Fuchsia, Breton, Cobalt Blue and Ganzi Purple) and fallen in love with new ones too, such as Pine, Cassis, Deep Kingfisher and Chinese Blue. What’s brilliant about it is that I seem to have rediscovered the joy of playing. Playing with exciting new colour combinations has become my lockdown salvation. Now when I get dressed in the morning I increasingly choose what to wear according to how I want to feel. Fuchsia/Sangria is definitely my go-to ‘power colour’, especially for Zoom meetings, and my Supersoft Sweatshirt in Sangria is my favourite non-work top, as it’s somehow such a warm, comforting colour.
This has been a particularly challenging year as a school leader but discovering Kettlewell and the power of colour to uplift and energise has brought me so much joy. I genuinely feel better about myself than I have in years and as an unexpected side effect, have lost 2st in weight – no idea how as I’ve not consciously dieted so I’m putting it down to the fact that because I’ve felt good, I’ve taken greater care of myself. Ironically, because of the 'Kettlewell Diet' I’ve now shrunk out of my original Lulus. Thank goodness for the timely arrival of Kettlewell’s fabulous Spring/Summer 2021 collection. What a triumph!
I also love the effect that colour has on people around me, especially the children. Recently, one of our six-year-olds made a comment that provided powerful confirmation that ditching the ‘baggy black’ and embracing colour had been the right decision. “Black’s such a sad, empty colour, and it’s really boring when everyone wears dark clothes all the time. Teachers should remember we have to spend all day looking at you and learning should be fun!”
I think that says it all.