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Help! I'm a Spring!

This is the first 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 Spring. But what does that mean, beyond a terrifyingly bright palette and apparently no neutrals apart from cream? To help you on your way as you begin to explore your palette, we've put together this seasonal palette focus for Springs to guide you through the early days after your colour analysis.

My palette is so bright!


There's no getting away from it; looking at the Spring swatches for the first time can be a little alarming. A sea of red, yellow, green, turquoise and pink, with apparently not one single sensible colour in it. Yours is the lightest and brightest of the four palettes, and in many ways can be the biggest facer when you first start out.

But before you panic too much, slow down and have a thorough look at it. 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!

The Spring palette is warm toned, which means every colour has a yellow undertone. Your pinks are all slightly peach or coral toned, your greens are leaf and lime, your blues have an aqua hue and even your greys have the brightness of a dove rather than being a cold stoney shade.

What should I start with?

If you're feeling a little nervous, the simplest way to start with your Spring palette is to think 'dark neutral, light neutral, splash of colour.' Three colours is where the colours in your palette really work their 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, bright navy, cream and a splash of 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.


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 - go too far and the first word that comes to people's minds won't be 'stylish' or even 'bold'. It will be 'parrot'. But try nimbus with flamingo pink and aqua, or cream with yellow and lime accents for a look that embraces a bit more colour without invoking the parrot

I'm ready to add more colour. How?

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 coral party dress can really bring out your sparkle, or bright blue shorts with a turquoise 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?

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 Spring though, it will look best if you try to avoid the most jarring colours for your palette in prints - black, sludge green and mauvey pinks 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 bit too deep or a pink that falls onto the cool 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 a hint of sparkle and shine, which also brings Spring 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 cream tee. Once you've got your confidence you can upgrade to a bold coloured scarf and from there the world is your oyster.

I like to look sophisticated, how can I do that?

One of the biggest concerns of newly diagnosed Springs is that they'll look like a children's television presenter, and their days of elegant sophistication are behind them. This absolutely doesn't need to be the case.

Opt for your neutrals - nimbus, bright navy, cream, palest shell pink, rich chocolate and camel - in beautiful fabrics which reflect the light and add instant sophistication - a dove grey merino or cashmere sweater for instance, or a cream silk shirt. Make sure everything fits beautifully, and add a well thought through accessory or two; a skinny belt in a light tan or a bolder corn yellow can lift a sensible work outfit without removing any of the professionalism. Finish off with accessories in your best metal - almost always yellow gold, although some blue/bright Springs can also get away with a bit of silver.

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 hyacinth 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 apple green 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 warm peachy nude will add a little brightness and polish, but take the plunge with bold reds and corals 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.

Lynn Nadjarian on Feb 05, 2021 8:04 AM

Yes, I am now investing n investigating my neutrals! ,I can see I need these for a capsule watdrobe. I have my wow colours so must find the neutrals so I can mix n match! Thank you😊

Michelle on Feb 04, 2021 9:17 PM

I love love love the print of that dress!! Please can we have something else with that kind of scale, clarity and vibrancy. Infinity and a top would be wonderful.

Ally on Feb 19, 2019 5:57 PM

Whenever I complete your colour quiz. I’m a winter. But apparently not. I’ve just been diagnosed as a paintbox spring. Nothing in my wardrobe is within the correct pallet. I don’t wear any pale neutrals, no yellows, peaches, orange, brown or green and very little red. Please help point me in the right direction, but staying true colours I like, without looking like a clown

Kettlewell Colours: Hi Ally, if you read this blog post this might help.

If you are still confused, let us know!

Stella on Jul 29, 2018 4:45 PM

Really good advice as it’s so easy to forget about personal style on the quest for the right colour. Also the useful tip about befriending neutrals even two together with a pop of colour!

Heather on Jul 25, 2018 3:31 PM

Hi I was ‘diagnosed’ as a warm spring, I’m sure there will be some colours within autumn that I could also choose other than just the spring pallet, please can you give me some advise. Thank you

Kettlewell Colours: If you go to the Shop by Colour page on the website and choose Autumn then also look at Spring, you will see that some colours appear in both palettes, for example Coral, Leaf, Tan, Sunshine Yellow - they are bright enough for Springs and warm enough for Autumns. Perhaps these are the sort of colours that would suit you? Also, if you read this blog post this might also help.

Mary Rew on Jul 18, 2018 5:29 PM

A great blog, thank you. I'm also a blue Spring and worry about the 'parrot' look. I'm now going to sort my wardrobe again using your very helpful guide. on Jul 14, 2018 10:52 PM

Good range of colours

Magdalena on Jul 13, 2018 11:52 AM

I would invite you to try dark chocolate brown, like a chocolate candy bar. it is elegant and can easily be used as a base. Mix it with cream silk blouse. As you are blue spring navy is always an option.

Barbara on Jul 11, 2018 9:12 PM

Thanks Jo. After a series of seasonal and garment related blogs it's good to have a good basic blog like this again. I can't wait for the Autumn edition.

Sue on Jul 11, 2018 12:02 PM

I’m a light bright Spring and experienced exactly all the difficulties mentioned after having a consultation 5 years ago. It took a while to get the hang of it but I got there in the end. The one big problem I have is dressing appropriately for a funeral when sobre colours are required. It’s not so bad in the winter as I have a navy blue coat. However it’s really difficult when all my clothes are light, bright and very colourful and I can’t wear the coat. Any suggestions please?