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Help! I'm a Winter!

This is the fourth 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 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 Winter. But what does that mean, beyond a very 'fashion' looking palette which contains the boldest brightest colours you've ever seen in your life? To help you on your way as you begin to explore your palette, we've put together this seasonal palette focus for Winters to guide you through the early days after your colour analysis.

My palette is so bold!

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Most Winters feel a certain sense of reassurance the first time they see their palette and realise that they alone have retained black, charcoal grey and true navy as neutrals. On second glance, however, there is usually a little more panic as they realise that alongside those neutrals their palette contains the most terrifying brights of all four seasonal palettes!

But before you panic too much, slow down and have a thorough look at your swatch book. Rather than looking at the whole wallet at once, look at one colour at a time and I'll bet you find a few favourites in there - perhaps the colour of a tshirt or a jumper which always gets you compliments. Just think; now you have a whole palette of colours that look that good on you. And you won't need to wear all of those terrifying brights together - more on that in a moment.

The Winter palette is cool toned, which means every colour has a blue undertone. Your pinks are fuchsia and raspberry, your greens are deepest blued-emerald and even your yellows are barely yellow at all - almost an acidic neon green with no warmth whatsoever.

What should I start with?

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If you're feeling a little nervous, the simplest way to start with your Winter palette is to think 'dark neutral, light neutral, bright accent.' Three colours at a time is where your palette really works its magic, and contrast (between light and dark and neutral and bright) is your new best friend, so starting in a really simple way with, say, navy, bright white (yes, you get white!) and a splash of deep red in a florence infinity scarf or camisole is a really easy starting place which can be as classic or daring as you choose to make it, based on your own personal style.

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Once you want to upgrade, try pairing two brights with one neutral for slightly more impact. Remember that for you the magic isn't in piling on colour after colour after colour - as with your fellow bright season, the Springs, if you go too far the first word that comes to people's minds won't be 'stylish' or even 'bold'. It will be 'parrot'. But try silver grey with cobalt blue and acid yellow, or navy with raspberry and scarlet accents for a look that embraces a bit more colour without invoking the parrot.

I'm ready to add more colour. How?

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Don't be afraid of wearing your brightest colours top to toe - just don't wear too many of them at once. A bold bright red party dress can really bring out your sparkle, or electric blue shorts with a Chinese blue top for a tropics-inspired beach look. 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?

Beginning with a print rather than big blocks of colour can be a less intimidating way of getting going with wearing a more than one bright colour at a time. But what if you're looking at a print and some of the colours aren't in your palette?

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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 Winter though, it will look best if you try to avoid the most jarring colours for your palette in prints - peachy pinks, soft blues and sludge greens can all look a bit dull and dreary on you and detract from a pulled together look, whereas a splash of a grey that's a fraction warm or a pink that falls onto the soft 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?

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Accessories are your friend. They can add a hint of shine, which also brings Winter brightness to your skintone, and statement necklaces can add a great splash of one of your wow colours.

If you're still feeling alarmed about all this colour, go for something like a pompom necklace to add some colour on a neutral background of jeans and a white tee. Once you've got your confidence you can upgrade to a bold coloured scarf and from there the world is your oyster.

I don't want to wear only black, but I still want to look sophisticated

Once you've got over the excitement at getting to 'keep' black, there can sometimes be a bit of an anti-climax as a Winter, as often it's the rut of wearing endless black and grey that's brought you to a colour analysis, and now it turns out that it's either that or full on fuchsia.

With a little thought, however, you can retain all the sophistication of black without feeling dreary. Opt for silver or steel greys and pair them with crisp white and silver jewellery for an effortlessly elegant look that will flatter and brighten your skintone. And don't forget mole and stone, those totally under-rated Winter neutrals - even if you don't love wearing them up near your face, they pair perfectly with some of your bolder shades to create a less statement but still harmonious look - try stone tailored shorts with a bold hot pink tshirt for laid back summer chic.

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Make sure everything fits beautifully, and (especially if your outfit is based entirely on neutrals) add a well thought through accessory or two; a skinny belt in deep plum or a bolder royal purple can lift a sensible work outfit without removing any of the professionalism. Finish off with accessories in silver, and don't forget that diamonds (of course) and grey pearls will always work too.

If you want to keep your outfit 100% neutral, don't underestimate the power of adding a bright lipstick or nail polish to add a splash of colour without sacrificing your elegant look.

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 lobelia 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?

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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 emerald green boxy top looks cheap and tacky next to chocolate brown 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 pop - however you do it, get into the habit of adding a dash of colour to your outfit.
  3. Don't fear lipstick! A cool plummy pink will add a little brightness and polish, but take the plunge with bold reds and burgundy 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.

Claudia Ruschena on Jun 17, 2020 10:46 AM

Great tips to match colours! Thank you. I have always underestimated neutrals as I love bright colours and when I decided to use neutrals, not knowing I am a Winter, I chose the wrong colours! I have been reading a lot about colours recently and this is the best article I have found so far, full of practical and easy to apply tips.

Judith Plumridge on Jan 01, 2020 12:50 PM

just love my winter colours..but when will pansy be available in infinity an scarf?

Kettlewell Colours: We restock our bestselling Florence Scarves every season. The new season will be launched at the beginning of March and Pansy should be back in stock

Artist Helen on Aug 07, 2018 3:45 PM

Excellent introduction for Winters and a good reminder about using neutrals skilfully. When I was first analysed, I'd really lost my way thanks to unsuitable fashion colours and wasn't doing myself any favours. It was bliss to rediscover some of the cool '80s brights that had suited me so well.

I'm getting better at mixing and matching now and am less likely to fall into the "parrot" trap. Kettlewell has really helped and makes getting dressed a pleasure as I just have to ask "What gorgeous colour will it be today?" Apart from the basics (black, navy, charcoal and white - yes, we are the lucky ones), I don't shop much elsewhere. Absolutely love being a Winter!

Noo on Aug 05, 2018 9:37 AM

Thank you, really interesting, even though i’ve been wearing my colours (and buying your clothes!) for years - particularly the info about choosing prints - a girl cannot live in kettlewell prints alone...

It’s also really interesting to read the other three corresponding posts and see the similarities and differences.

Also, love those big chunky scarves - hoping there’s something similar in the new a/w collection 😀

Pat on Aug 04, 2018 1:14 AM

Got it, Thank you, my daughter has been visiting so I got behind.

Thank you

Pat on Aug 01, 2018 2:41 PM

Great tutorial! Please consider the Autumn colours as well.

Kettlewell Colours: There was a 'Help! I'm an Autumn!' post last week - this is the last in the series.