In a new book, Kate Schelter reveals the key to finding ‘Classic Style’

22classicstyle - Kate Schelter (Patrick Cline)
Patrick Cline
Kate Schelter, stylist, artist, and author of the new book, “Classic Style: Hand in Down, Dress it Up, Wear it Out.”

Long time stylist, illustrator, and new author, Kate Schelter has a keen sense of style. Over the course of her 15-year-career as a stylist, Schelter’s clients included Architectural Digest, Toms, Bonpoint, Toyota, and Vanity Fair.

Five years ago, some of Schelter’s clients began encouraging her to do illustration work for their accounts. The resulting watercolors captivated a much larger audience.

“The art just took off,” recalls Schelter, who splits her time between New York City and the Mid-Cape. Soon, her paintings were in high demand and she was focusing most of her attention on creating vibrant watercolors.


Following that success, a book deal came to fruition. The result is “Classic Style: Hand in Down, Dress it Up, Wear it Out,” (Grand Central Publishing, 2017) a hard-to-put-down guide featuring over 500 of Schelter’s watercolors paired with her insights on clothing, objects, and other essentials that she deems “the classics” — pieces that exude American style.

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Along with references from Schelter’s own life, plenty of hilarious passages, and details on how she acquired her style, the book serves as a handbook of sorts to help readers develop and curate their own.

“The biggest luxury is to be yourself,” says Schelter. In the book, she provides multiple steps to help readers embrace their individuality and fill their lives, wardrobes, and homes with what they truly love. She’ll be at a book signing on Friday, July 21, from 6-8 p.m. at Design Works, 159 Main St., Yarmouth Port, MA; Read on for some of Schelter’s tips.

Get rid of it

“I love getting rid of things,” writes Schleter. “I donate, I give to friends ... I repurpose and recycle to those who want, which makes me feel like my beloved possessions (that don’t serve me anymore) are going to a good home. Instead of shopping and adding, I edit and eliminate. My design tendency is to add only if it’s necessary to communicate the essence of my message. My style, my identity, me, Kate, is to remove to the point where I have shown what needs to be shown, nothing more, nothing less, nothing terribly overthought or agonizing.”

Love what you use everyday and remove the rest

When it comes to beauty products, skincare, and personal hygiene Schelter recommends storing only the things you trust and use daily.

Shop like an editor


As big part of Schelter’s work as a stylist involves being a considerate and studied shopper. “I am intrepid in my search for the perfect ‘thing,’ and I love the hunt,” she writes. “Aim to eliminate as much as possible and find the needle in the haystack, especially when the haystack is a pile of fabulous items. Hunt the one special piece that you’ll never tire of—that you’ll wear out.” When you tune into yourself, according to Schelter, you’ll realize you really don’t need that much. “I don’t believe in fast fashion; I believe in eternal style.”

Save up

If you wait for it, you will be rewarded with quality, craftsmanship, and charm. “Save up for it. Buy only what you truly love,” Schelter says. “you’re not sure you love it, wait (a day, a week, a year), and if you can’t stop thinking of it, then it’s yours. Avoid fast fashion, fast furniture, fast anything. Good comes slowly.”

Jaci Conry can be reached at