Book Review: Kate Schelter’s Classic Style: Hand It Down, Dress It Up, Wear It Out

As you guys probably know I was in Paris all week, so today I’m skipping my usual Friday links post to let you know about a really gorgeous book that just came out – excited for this one!

You may be familiar with artist Kate Schelter – she’s built a name for herself as an illustrator, creative director, and stylist, and now has a new credit to add to her impressive resume: author! Her new book, Classic Style: Hand It Down, Dress It Up, Wear It Out, is a gorgeously illustrated guide to over 100 iconic classics of American style (think: striped Breton shirts and Levis alongside everyday objects like Burts Bees chapstick and Weber grills).

Personal anecdotes and stories, quotes, and interviews with stylish friends like Rita Konig and Jane Herman share the pages with her signature watercolor illustrations, resulting in a charming and fun read full of whimsy and inspiration. Kate’s Cape Cod-meets-New York City aesthetic gives the book style, and her advice on paring down, buying and keeping only the things you love and really use, and making classics your own lends the book its substance – a perfect pairing!

Kate on classic style: “Studying the pieces I gravitate toward has helped me maintain an even keel and keep my integrity in the midst of an industry built on trends.”

And on “less is more”: “I truly believe that doing more with your personal style starts with loving (and reinventing) what you already have and buying less.”

As Andy Spade puts it in the book’s foreword: “Kate simply paints what she likes.” Classic Style is an illustrated guide to those things – the classics that are tried-and-true – as she puts it “the cream that rises to the top of everyday life.” It’s a celebration of the simple, the timeless, and the well-designed – of finding the beauty in everyday objects. I loved reading Kate’s thoughtful advice, learning more about her life, and taking in all of the visual inspiration!

For more on Kate Schelter, One Kings Lane has a great interview and peek into her gorgeous studio space, and Quarterlane is featuring Kate’s book and artwork in their summer Aesthete box!

PS – I shared a little video tour of my new apartment over on Insta Stories – it will still be available for a few hours so head on over and check it out if you’d like to see!

Leave a Comment

  1. April wrote:

    On an unrelated note, thanks for posting about the book Far From the Tree a few weeks ago. I decided to read it and finished it this week. It was difficult to read at times, but riveting.

    Published 6.2.17 · Reply
    • York Avenue wrote:

      You’re welcome! So glad you enjoyed it. I agree, difficult at times, both due to the density and the sometimes bleakness of the subject matter, but definitely a fascinating read.

      Published 6.2.17 · Reply
  2. Gretchen wrote:

    This book reminds me a great deal of Kate Spade’s trilogy series: Manners, Occasion and Style, which I purchased when they were first released years ago. In fact, because Andy Spade contributed the foreward, I wonder if Ms. Schelter was the illustrator for those books.

    Published 6.2.17 · Reply
  3. Victoria wrote:

    Hello, what is the name of the blue book?

    Published 9.16.20 · Reply
    • York Avenue wrote:

      That’s Paris in Bloom by Georgianna Lane – beautiful book!

      Published 9.23.20 · Reply