I often think there are too many choices in life today Life hasn’t been made better, but just messier. We struggle to for quality, but the quantity of life, and an abundance of things, like clothes, often prevent us from living the life we want. Classic Style by Kate Schelter is a guide to life as well as style and aims to set us straight in a world filled with too much spending, shopping and indecision. The author’s reverence for simplicity in our closets and regard for what is old, beat, handed down, thrifted, found and treasured is something I personally love.
Kate Schelter is an artist and has had spins as a Vogue photographer, celebrity stylist, and a brand consultant. This book is her little guide to life and it had me at the sub-title: ‘Hand it down, Dress it up, Wear it out.’ That is all I believe in a nutshell about clothes, style and spending!
Kate shows us the current culture’s obsession with new, shopping as a hobby and continuous consumption does not translate into style, but rather a messy life and wasted money. A beautiful life isn’t something you get with a credit card, but curated over time. Kate helps us appreciate the greatest hits from our pasts- like Vans, Vaurnets and Top-siders and as well as family heirlooms. In this view, classics never look old, and when they do wear, they get even cooler.
Classic Style will have you shopping your closet for past favorites, and coveting hand-me-downs again. Kate is practical as well as chic and reminds one that style cannot be had with the latest, newest and most expensive looks. Chic comes from your personal mix of old and new and sometimes McGyvered clothes. It’s all part of what creates real style, something that will not only make you look and feel good, but bring a calm to your life. Cultivate a look, a uniform and stick to it with daily injections of quirkiness and fun via little additions and tweaks.
Kate advocates for less and making firm decisions. Closets overflowing are a distraction from life’s more important and wonderful things you could be doing. You should love what you have and wear it all, but have less. Quality items are worth spending on. Treasure those things you have kept and wear them often, wear them out.
Some of my own closet treasures are hand-me-downs. My grandfather’s lime green golf sweater, my mother’s 1960’s leopard corduroy tote and my father’s Coast Guard tunic are all items I wore and treasured over the years. I have a cameo necklace from a grandmother that is an Avon piece from the 1970s. It’s not worth anything, but sentimental value, yet it’s beautiful and people always remark on it.. My mother’s wedding and anniversary rings are stacked on my right finger and keep her in my heart always. My tiny diamond earrings, a five year anniversary present from my husband when we were young, are precious to me and will always be my preferred, over my larger and more expensive ones. These kind of the things give you a look all your own and tell your story too.
What you add to that mix should be things you find along the way- from your travels, from vintage stores, from happenstance and serendipity. Reading this will retrain your shopping brain. Reuse, modify, shop your own closet and second-hand stores. The most lovely finds are the items no one else has and already exist. Expensive and new does not equal stylish.
The best message of this book? Frugality is cool and you already have all that you need.
I seriously LOVE Kate and her book. Check it out for a fresh perspective and to break yourself of the consumption addiction, add more simplicity to your life and hone your own brand of chic.
Kate, below with her cute family and some of her art, in Domino Magazine. Pop over to Kate’s website that showcases her art, notecards, journals and more.