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Help! I'm a Summer!

This is the second in a series of posts which will introduce you to each of the four seasonal palettes. These posts are written for those who have recently had a personal colour analysis, but will be equally useful if you've been wearing your colours for years and just need a burst of fresh inspiration to reboot your colours!

If you don't know anything about colour analysis, now's your time to find out more. Why not learn the basics of the colour analysis process, then pop over to our quiz and find out more about your own seasonal palette.

If you're reading this, there's a good chance you've been analysed as a Summer. You've admired your palette, full of beautiful soft greys, blues and pinks, and a few somewhat alarmingly punchy colours, but what do you do now? To help you on your way as you discover your palette, we've created a seasonal palette focus for Summers to guide you through the early days after your colour analysis.


My palette only contains three colours!

The Summer palette, at first glance, seems to consist largely of blue, grey and pink. Before you despair of ever wearing anything other than those three shades again, I would encourage you to first take a moment to look at the huge range of those colours - the difference between raspberry and powder pink is so great that they might as well be totally different colours. Once you've done that, take a moment to look at the less obvious hues within your palette - pastel primrose yellow, deep ocean green, bright jade, mushroom browns and statement purples.

What does unify the palette, is a sense of soft smokiness. Almost every colour has an ever so slightly grey tint to it. As well as that softness, every single colour has a cool blue undertone - your pinks are all rose or mauve shades, no warm peach or coral shades, and your blues are indigo and sky rather than turquoise.

What should I start with?


Your palette is perhaps the least terrifying to get stuck into, containing as it does easy shades of denim and chalk white, but if you've been wearing a completely different palette before discovering your Summer colours, even that can feel like a shock.

Summers usually look fantastic with layered tonal shades, wearing several tones of a colour together rather than pairing one or two high contrast colours. If you're already wearing a couple of summer colours at a time - say that chalk white tee with denim jeans - try simply adding a third tonal shade, maybe a brighter cornflower blue, in the form of a scarf or wrap. Observe how the shades play nicely together, pulling your look from boring to stylish.

Once you're ready to upgrade a little further, try layering in an extra colour. In the same jeans and tee outfit, we might add a slate colour jacket to keep the tonal feel but taking it a little darker and more interesting. The challenge for you is likely to be finding ways to add more colours rather than looking too bright and colourful!

I'm ready to add more colour. How?


Although the Summer palette is by its nature softer and smokier than the other three seasonal palettes, you can still go bold. If you're feeling confident with your 'easy' colours and want to experiment a little further, try playing around with a little more contrast, or with adding some of your less obvious Summer shades.

A splash of vibrant raspberry or cherry red can really lift an outfit, especially paired with a harmonious statement lipstick. Contrasted with navy and icy grey it can create a professional look which packs a punch, or paired with chalk white it looks fabulously tropical in the summer heat.

And don't forget those more unusual shades - a dash of light jade green or primrose yellow can completely change the look of your outfit, making it more casual and playful.

The important thing to remember is that whether your look is classic, sporty, girly, outdoorsy or romantic, you can achieve any look you want to, whatever your palette.

What about prints?


Summer lends itself to prints very well - easy blends of the tonal shades of your palette. Think how well Monet's paintings swirl from one shade to another and you'll see how effortlessly Summer colours go together in print. But what if you're looking at a print and some colours aren't in your palette?

As a rule of thumb, as long as at least half of the print is within your palette, it will be ok, but might not be an absolute wow - if the style is perfect, and you love it though, half is plenty. Once you get over two thirds of the print falling within your palette, no one will even notice the 'wrong' colours, as the whole look will tie together. As a Summer though, it will look best if you try to avoid the most jarring colours for your palette in prints - deep warm Autumn mustards, lime greens and stark black can all dull your skintone and detract from a pulled together look, whereas a splash of a blue that's a bit more turquoise or a pink that falls on the warm side isn't going to detract from a great print.

Of course if you're lazy, like me, you can just stick to Kettlewell's prints, all of which have been carefully selected to fit entirely with your palette.

How do I accessorise?

Accessories are your friend. They can add another layer of texture and colour, which brings that lovely glow to your skintone. Statement necklaces and scarves can be a great way of incorporating your wow colours into your outfit near your face.

If you're still feeling alarmed about colour (some Summers struggle to get out of their navy and grey comfort zone), go for something like a pompom necklace to add some colour on a neutral background of jeans and a simple tee. Once you've got your confidence you can upgrade to a bolder coloured scarf and from there the world is your oyster.

How can I have more fun with colour without looking like a crazy colour lady?


The Summer palette makes effortlessly stylish dressing a dream, but something a little more punchy and fun is a little more challenging with this most elegant of palettes. But fear not - it's perfectly manageable!

Look at your brights - cornflower blue, raspberry pink, cherry red, jade green, and base an outfit around some more contrast using those shades. Try a preppy-fun striped pocket tunic with contrasting bottoms, and add a splash of your best (blue toned) red lipstick.

Likewise, it's perfectly possible to go for a more dramatic look - french navy top to toe with silver statement jewellery and a bold lipstick or eye make up and you're ready to wow.

I'm worried I won't look like me

It's important, once you've had your colours done, not to get so fixated on the colour of a garment that you forget to look beyond that. Does it fit well? Does it reflect your personal style? Don't compromise these things in your excitement at finally finding something in the elusive shade of primrose you've been hunting for. The aim of colour analysis is to add the power of colour into your own unique personal style, not turn you into a colour clone!

Does everything I wear need to match my palette?


The answer is both yes and no. If you only want your face to look good, your eyes to sparkle and your skin to glow, then by all means worry only about your t-shirts, scarves, jumpers, dresses, jackets... (actually, this list gets pretty long once we consider all the items of clothing that actually reach up to your neck).

But if you want to maximise the other amazing benefit of colour analysis - that of a wardrobe where everything goes, and makes you look effortlessly put together without trying - you'll need to make the leap and start to move your entire wardrobe over to one that sits fully within your palette. If that sounds a little daunting, just think how wonderful it would be to pull out a top and a bottom and know that they will look great together, or to be able to mix and match your clothes for a completely new look without having to face that 'ugh' moment when that oh-so-now dusty pink boxy top looks cheap and tacky next to black culottes. And it doesn't need to be an instant massive job, just gradually replace clothes with better colours as they wear out.

Still worried?

In case that all felt like a lot and you're still wobbling, here's five straightforward tips to get you started right now:

  1. Note your neutrals - start to switch your basics over to these colours.
  2. Add a splash - however you do it, get into the habit of adding a splash of colour to your outfit.
  3. Don't fear lipstick! A cool rose pink will finish off your look, but take the plunge with deeper raspberry and plum shades too.
  4. Prints charming - experiment with prints if single blocks of colour feel too much.
  5. Don't lose your style - use colour to enhance your personal style, not diminish it.

Louisa on May 30, 2020 5:18 PM

Excellent info on this website. Colors done years ago indicated ~summer~ ~always struggled with that as I am not into the lights despite grayish hair now. Love soft but mid to dark tones so lean to winter colours. Would love to see more examples of outfits in the summer mid to dark tones . Thank you,

Antonia on May 30, 2020 8:27 AM

I really like a lot of your clothes, but despite frequent web-visits, virtually everything I like is always unavailable in my size

Susie Berkengoff on May 22, 2020 4:15 PM

I have just received my first summer order and am really pleased with it. Years ago I was Winter but love the slightly softer versions of a Summer. I am hooked on Kettlewell and your style info but being a devout Matchy Matchy I would love some more ideas for mix and match, to be able to go through my wardrobe and know what to add to make the most of it.

Nicola on Jul 25, 2019 1:13 PM

I'm a bit gutted. I'm a soft summer and while I don't have anything in particular against the colours prescribed to me, I do have a problem with how they are used in fashion. It's always sappy, romantic, floral, basic, ultra feminine and utterly boring. I cannot find anything I like at all. I think I'm going to have to learn to make my own clothes because I feel like I'm trying to be someone else.

Kettlewell Colours: Hi Nicola, we wrote a blog post about this a while ago

I'll suggest we revisit this subject and bring it up to date with more examples.

Cindy Day on Jun 06, 2019 2:09 PM

Just received my order 618047, cascade wrap in mushroom. It is fantastic but PLEASE can I exchange for next size up from small?

Thank you so much


Kettlewell Colours: Pleased you like the Short Cascade Wrap! Please return to us using the Freepost returns label included in your parcel and stating on the returns form that you wish to exchange it for a size M and we will be happy to help you.

Cindy brown on Feb 07, 2019 10:43 AM

Do you have fabric swatches to carry in purse?

Kettlewell Colours: No sorry, as we have over 300 colours from several factories, it would be too difficult to organise.

Helen on Sep 02, 2018 2:57 PM

Would appreciate more pastel shades, trying to build outfits in one colour and lots of shades, eg shades of grey, shades of pink, shades of teal, shades of navy... and long silk scarves in prints to tie them all together.

Carrie on Jul 30, 2018 7:33 PM

I second Claire's comment on more brown options for us Brown Summers. Thank you!

Claire on Jul 25, 2018 12:42 PM

Thank you for this. Really useful. Could Kettlewell produce more in the more brown end of the palette for summers to help us get out of the navy/grey rut?

Olwen on Jul 25, 2018 11:22 AM

This is my first year of stepping out of the box - normally navy, silver, white, with a small amount of aqua. I went for Kettlewell's Hyacinth and then some Blackberry ready for winter season. Am pleased to say that not only do they work with most of my closet, but they have refreshed the items I currently have. Now considering a Raspberry top for Christmas time (fingers crossed for A/W collection 😊

Ruth Fuller on Jul 24, 2018 4:48 PM

I had my colours done years ago and after much umming and aahing was told I was Winter. I think these summer colours would look so much better on me now that I am very old and have white hair!!!

Kathleen on Jul 18, 2018 5:56 PM

I think I'm beyond saving - I am clearly a Summer, but I hate pink! Am I doomed?

C M Oldfield on Jul 18, 2018 2:02 PM

Thank you for the information.

Caro on Jul 18, 2018 12:49 PM

Really useful advice for any season, especially the half rule for prints - now confident that my new and much loved linen dress will work for me even though it would be best for a summer rather than my winter palette!

Allison J Cains on Jul 18, 2018 12:03 PM

Very helpful and thank you, I love fashion and my summer colours. 😊