How to dress for your shape


Annabel from Country Wives, Melissa and Jo from House of Colour

It’s always fun getting together and discussing colour and clothes with Annabel Simons from the much-read blog, Country Wives. Over the years we’ve loved finding out her favourites from each new collection and discovering how she makes Kettlewell work with her existing wardrobe. As a Summer, with a penchant for pastels from duck egg through to pale lilac and pink, Annabel is a great advertisement for ditching the black after 50 and letting fresh colour into your wardrobe.

Last week we had the pleasure of welcoming her down to our Somerset studio to do a vlog on a topic that lots of women will find invaluable: finding the right clothes for your individual body shape. As few of us are blessed with a supermodel physique, it can be a real challenge finding clothes that actually suit us and make us feel comfortable and confident, rather than self-conscious and exposed. But it’s not all about hiding what Mother Nature has given us – often it’s a case of showing off your assets, or at the very least working with them to best effect!

Thanks to our three lovely volunteer models - Louise, Annie and Teresa - we were able to demonstrate how wearing the right shapes and employing some clever dressing tricks can really make a difference to the way you look and feel. Watch the first of Annabel’s body image videos (with Louise) on the Country Wives website, followed by Annie and Teresa over the next couple of weeks.



Louise, 47, professional singer

Size: 14 and 5' 9"

Season: Winter

Style: Dramatic Natural

The challenge: To find clothes with structure that don’t cling to Louise’s middle.

The solutions:

1 Lulu Layered Top in Pansy – Loose around the tummy with a fitted under layer to shape, lift and enhance.

2 Tasha Top in Neon Yellow with Long Cami in Nimbus and Florence Infinity Scarf in Navy – Skims rather than clings with its longer length and flattering curved hem.

3 Cotton Ribbed Jumper in Chinese Blue with Long Vest in White – Slim on the arms and a boxy fit to camouflage the tummy.

4 Long Rio Wrap in Cassis with Breton Stripe Top in Navy Stripe – Breton stripes distract the eye away from the middle while the long cardigan creates drama.

Watch the first part of Annabel's video featuring Louise and then to make sure you catch all three of the Country Wives body image videos, sign up to their newsletter at



Annie, 68, semi-retired health professional

Season: Summer

Size: 14 and 5' 1"

Style: Gamine

The challenge: To find clothes that don’t swamp Annie’s narrow shoulders and short stature, camouflage bigger hips and define the waist.

The solutions:

1 Alexa Jacket in Ink and Everyday Cotton V in Iced Hyacinth and a Florence Infinity Scarf in Amethyst – Wearing colour around the face forces the eye upwards.

2 Swing V Neck Top in Aqua Green and Cashmere Gauze Stole in Dutch Blue with Ponte Leggings in Sailor Blue  – Fitted over the bust and waist then skimming over the hips creates a slimmer silhouette for pear shapes.

3 Faux Wrap 3/4 Sleeve in Rose Madder and Camisole in Soft White - Flattering side ruching defines the waistline.



Teresa, 50, quality controller at Kettlewell

Season: Spring

Size: 12 and  5' 0"

Style: Natural Romantic

The challenge: To accentuate Teresa’s hourglass figure (GG cup), and find styles that work with her short frame.

The solutions:

1 Ponte Peplum Top in Light Emerald – The peplum enhances the waistline, while front darts give shape to the bust. Soft scooped neckline adds length to torso.

2 Betty Cowl in Tropical Pink – Cowl neckline provides soft, visually minimising drapes.

3 Short Cascade Wrap in Periwinkle and Everyday Cotton V in Azure – Flattering V neckline + bright Spring colours = winning combination!


After a colour analysis to find your best colours, you can go on to learn how to identify styles that suit your body shape and your personal style. If you would like more information, you can find a colour stylist near you here.

Lynne on Mar 02, 2023 3:41 PM

Please, please a petite length. Love your colours but soooo long

Lynn on May 02, 2021 4:41 PM

I’d love to see something on Petite styling and especially for larger size ladies, so 16/18 etc. So many ladies around in this size, height and shape and often triply awkward to dress if you're also an Apple too!

Lorna on Mar 24, 2021 1:19 PM

I'm a Summer, Minimalist, 5'7", broadish shoulders, 30GG boops, a waist (of sorts), slight tummy, narrowish hips and long skinny legs. What can I wear with confidence please?

Judith Makoff on Sep 29, 2018 3:58 AM

Great article - we need more of these, please: as you introduce more styles it's wonderful to see what they look like on different body shapes before taking the plunge and buying - great styling ideas. Need more for us less willowy women, endowed with larger hips and a tummy, please!

Mrs Richardson on Sep 28, 2018 3:05 PM

I love the styling for the pear shape but surely the expanse of white t-shirt showing below the dark jacket just emphasises the pear shape even further. I try to camouflage it rather than play it up, but what do i know, the lady herself looked delighted..

Larraine Harrison on Aug 22, 2018 7:59 PM

Please please can Kettlewell consider doing petite sizes- especially for tops - so many are too long in sleeves and length.

Alison? on May 30, 2018 4:58 PM

Surely Louise is a summer? Those intense winter shades overwhelm her look, in my view.

Sharon Wright on Apr 30, 2018 9:30 AM

Interesting. Please do Apple shape too! I'm 5 foot 8 size 16 and a spring. I love floral print dresses but don't want to emphasise my tummy! Would be great to have advice on this shape.

Bronwen on Apr 29, 2018 9:18 AM

Having also got a top heavy hour glass figure, the one look I think is wrong is where the fabric pulls across the boobs bringing attention to the area. In my opinion the Betty Cowl does not enhance Teresa's shape. Although the colour is lovely on her

Kerry Holden on Apr 28, 2018 8:39 PM

Thank you, most interesting blog for ages, real women with real shape that I can relate to.

M. on Apr 28, 2018 6:18 PM

Thankyou! Very helpful and some new ideas. Also great to see " real people"

Suzy on Apr 28, 2018 4:24 PM

Glad you are now doing x-small, how about also doing petite lengths... so many of your lovely items are simply too long...

Also your small belt is about 2 inches too long, even when worn on the hips.

Debbie on Apr 28, 2018 10:01 AM

The ladies all look AMAZING!!! Their outfits are all beautiful and so flattering! It's really inspired me to book my appointment to have MY colours done.

Olwen on Apr 28, 2018 8:16 AM

Lovely useful piece. I would never have considered the peplum top, but seeing it on makes me think again - she looks so good in it!

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