Colours for your wardrobe to suit your season

John and Melissa at their home in Dorset

John and Melissa at their home in Dorset - Credit: Archant

Melissa Nicholson is helping women to embrace their inner butterfly. With a stylish range of fashion pieces in colours to suit your season she can make you shine, says Claire Bowman

January is a good time to take a long, hard look at what’s hanging on the rails of your wardrobe. Could you inject a touch of pizzazz and bring a splash of colour to what you wear on a daily basis? If you are the kind of person who clings to navy, black and grey for dear life, and prefers to blend in rather than stand out, this can be a challenge.

Where do you start? Enter Crewkerne-based Kettlewell Colours, which for the past 12 years has helped women from Manchester to Melbourne, embrace their inner butterfly thanks to a range of high-quality separates in 150 colours. Along with her husband John, co-owner Melissa Nicholson is a passionate advocate of colour analysis – in fact, Kettlewell is founded on its principles; they believe that by finding out, and properly understanding, what season you fall into - Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter - you can build a wardrobe that truly suits your hair colour, skin tone and personality.

“For some people colour can be intimidating but it needn’t be if you know what really suits you,” says Melissa, whose own love affair with colour began as a four-year-old with a penchant for poppy red woolly tights. “We’ve all seen ourselves in photos and thought, ‘ugh, I look awful in that top/jacket/dress’. Often it’s because you’re wearing a colour that does nothing for you, rather than the outfit itself. If you’re a Spring, like me, for example, dark colours like navy are a no-no, while soft, light shades like peach melba, mint green and turquoise really lift my face and brighten my eyes. Finding out what season you are is a game changer. It frees you up by making it easier and quicker to dress as every colour works with each other within the palette. It also puts an extra bounce in your step as you will get lots of compliments.”

Colour has been big news for Autumn/Winter 2016 with a spice palette of turmeric, mustard and red rust, as well as jewel tones of burgundy providing a welcome shot of colour into our winter wardrobes. And it’s not just older women who are embracing colour and turning to pieces from Kettlewell – model and TV presenter Alexa Cheung is a fan of its popular silky roll-neck, the perfect layering piece for wearing under winter jackets, while sales of the brand’s jersey wide-legged trousers in a range of colours from teal to chocolate, have proved a definite hit among the young and style-conscious.

“Don’t turn your wardrobe into a riot of colour overnight, especially if you’re not used to seeing yourself in anything but darks or neutrals,” says Melissa. “I would suggest a flash of a colourful lacy camisole peeking out from one of our V-neck cashmere jumpers, for example, or a vivid scoop-neck top beneath a jersey jacket. It’s a great way to give your wardrobe a boost in the dark depths of winter.”

Melissa also recommends getting your colours done by an expert at the House of Colour, who will identify which season you are and then, which palette you are within that season. “You can then banish all those shades that have been working against your skin tone, eye and hair colour for years. It can even have an impact on the shade of lipstick and eyeshadow you use and whether you suit a pink or a yellow-toned foundation. I have had people tell me that colour analysis has totally revolutionised their lives.”

To find a professionally trained colour analyst near you visit

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The story of Kettlewell Colours

Kettlewell was founded 12 years ago by Melissa and John Nicholson after Melissa, who had her colours analysed in the depths of winter, was told she would struggle to buy clothes in her season until the following spring. Realising that other people must also not able to access a good range of colours right for them all year round, Melissa and John left their life in London and moved to Dorset with their two small children, and Kettlewell Colours was born in an old converted pig shed.

Having found factories that aligned with their ethical considerations, they started producing their signature basics in a rainbow of colours, before introducing a wider range of jersey basics, scarves and knitwear. Some 12 years later their ethos remains the same: high-quality clothes in a wide range of colours, top-class customer service and a determination to spread the word about the power of colour analysis far and wide.

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