Kate Schelter

Kate Schelter On Classic Style, Mine Cut Diamonds + Her Parents’ Pennsylvania Wedding

Who: Kate Schelter, Watercolorist, Wizard of Style + Art, Author

Why She’s Foxy: As the youngest of four siblings + daughter of design-driven parents, she’s been honing the craft of creating since her Quaker childhood — check out her illustrated guide to life through pictures in her new book “Classic Style”.

On Growing Up:” I was the youngest of four kids, and I looked up to my older siblings. I wanted to be my siblings: from my sisters’ blond ponytails and frosted pink lipstick, to my brother’s Stan Smiths and boarding school t-shirts and epic mix tapes. We were raised in Philadelphia and we all went to the same Quaker school. There was no dress code, so that was my invitation to experiment with my style everyday. I wore my way through garbage bags of hand-me-downs and trendy clothes from older friends, like Benetton rugby shirts. Through cutting, sewing, altering, patching, I reinvented all my belongings and made them my own. I was scrappy and savvy. I raided thrift stores and put looks together based on the photo editorials of Sassy magazine.”

On Her Parents:My parent’s meeting is very Love Story. They met while my dad was at Harvard and my mom was interning at an architecture firm. They were young, gorgeous, traditional, and, — suddenly — pregnant! My mom wore a white cotton eyelet wedding dress off the rack white cotton and a stephanotis flower crown veil. She was the real Philadelphia Grace Kelly. They married in a tiny twenty seat chapel in the woods in Pennsylvania.“

On Art: “My high school art teacher who went to both RISD and Brown suggested I look at RISD when I visited. When I tore open my acceptance letter from RISD, my mom said I screamed louder than any other time in my life (and I’m a loud person!). RISD was right for me, and came at a time when I was ready to focus and thrive on art and design. I poured myself into academic and studio work, majoring in graphic design and photography, and did a year at their program in Rome. When I was in college, I was fascinated by fashion. My segue to the industry was interning in the layout departments at fashion magazines like W. For years, I painted when I went on holiday, and people started to notice my paintings. When I had my daughter it marked a turning point in my career—I became a full-time artist. I feel more in my element now than I ever have.”

On Her Wedding: “I met my husband on a frigid January night at a friend's dinner party-turned-vodka-shots-Rhianna-dance-party. We weren’t set up, but then our friends played Cupid. He asked me out, and we’ve been together ever since. I was ready to get engaged after a year, but he didn’t like me pressuring him and he made me wait. He proposed on the calm beach, waiting for a hurricane to arrive. Suddenly he untied his slicker, dropped it to the wet, stoney sand and knelt down, and asked. I was shocked. Then he showed me the ring: old mine cut, 3 stone (past, present, future), and I knew he wasn’t kidding.”


On Motherhood:I was terrified. Birth was a total unknown. It was a slow learning curve; I had no plan and no childcare. Motherhood has taught me decision-making and commitment skills that I’d lacked before. I gradually started painting while my daughter napped, then I got my studio, and an awesome nanny. Good childcare is essential. I remember reading Amy Poehler’s book ‘Yes Please’ about how every mother needs a wife and a light went off in my head—I needed a great nanny. I also think it’s great to be a working mom to show my daughter that it’s exciting to love your job and be passionate about work. My mom worked out of our house and it paved the way for me.”

On Art + Style: “I talk a lot about this in my book, ‘Classic Style’ — my style is all the stuff I love and use on a daily basis — things that are easy, efficient and beautiful. My icons are the people who do the least to look exactly like themselves: Lauren Hutton, Ali McGraw, Steve Jobs, Coco Chanel. It’s sort of stylish by default because it feels so natural. Matisse is my greatest hero. His work projects joy in every medium: oil, pencil, murals, paper/scissors, fabric and stained glass. Yves Saint Laurent is my fashion idol. Every time I get dressed at night I think: would Yves approve?”

On Her Dream Day:It’s a day in June, my favorite month: Sleeping in with the windows open, family breakfast (croissant, jam, coffee), painting quietly in my studio or garden (listening to ‘Fresh Air with Terry Gross’), a salad for lunch from Candle Cafe, a walk, family dinner at my mom or my dad’s house with everyone, a giant bowl of ice cream, ‘Tommy Boy’ and bed.”

Fave Love Book: “‘Reflections on the Art of Living: A Joseph Campbell Companion’”.


Fave Love Movie: “‘16 Candles’, ‘Love Story’, ‘Splash’, ‘Dirty Dancing’ — in no particular order.”


Fave Love Song: “‘In My Life (I Loved You More’ by The Beatles.”


Her Fantasy Wedding: “I would have loved to go to my great Granny’s wedding because the photos are so epic and the dress of the entire 20-person wedding party was so grand. My husband is the best dance partner so he’s always my date of choice — especially if we could time-travel