A few lucky women have been born with style — think Diana Vreeland and Jacqueline Onassis — but for most of us, style is something that comes with time and experience. Above all, style begins with a sense of who you are and your self-confidence. Style comes from opening yourself to the world around you — to books and movies, art, music, go back and forth, and especially to other people.
In this upbeat and engaging book, designer Kate Spade talks about the many people and experiences that have inspired her. For Kate, movies as varied as The Swimmer and The Red Balloon have influenced her vision of style, as have such places as Mexico (where she and her husband, Andy, vacation each year), Napa Valley, and her hometown of Kansas City.
In the pages of Style, you’ll be able to find a large section devoted to the colors Kate most loves and suggestions for combining them. Accessories, which are the backbone of her wardrobe, are given full remedy here, including shoes, handbags, hats, gloves, and jewelry; and a portfolio of Kate’s personal favorites from her own closet is showcased. Style in the office, evening style, even ideas for style when you go back and forth and when you play are all featured here. The last section of Style specializes in maintaining your wardrobe, including tips on organizing your closet, caring for vintage clothes, and keeping your jewelry in good condition.
Style, with 230 watercolor illustrations, is a wonderfully personal and friendly book intended for readers of all ages and style temperaments. If there’s one rule Kate espouses, it’s that true style comes when you follow your own rules. Moreover, as the writers William Strunk, Jr., and E. B. White once wrote, “To achieve style, begin by affecting none.”
Back in 1993, editor-turned-designer Kate Spade made a splash in the fashion world by turning out a small collection of boxy, utilitarian handbags, each elegantly accented with her name stitched in discreet, lowercase letters. As a result, the simplicity and unabashed refinement of the Spade moniker on those Lilliputian labels has come to define the very foundation on which the designer has since built a fashion empire, one that now, along with handbags, includes shoes, clothing, and smart home things, all of which embody the Spade formula of timeless style–a seamless merging of cheerful colors, clean shapes, and well-chosen embellishments. Not bad for a Kansas City-born girl who used to comb vintage stores for fun. Having perfected and expertly marketed her own brand of personal style (one that has famously been counterfeited during the world), the designer has emerged with an equally elegant trio of books whose topics Spade has grow to be a virtual authority: Style, Occasions, and Manners.

The packaging, as well as the neatly clipped advice found in Style, is as polished and sunny as the pert designer herself. Spade draws pearls of wisdom from fashion greats like Diana Vreeland and Coco Chanel, and also employs the inspiration of iconic films, books, artists, and design movements. The layout and typography, whilst vibrant, can be overwhelming at times and her suggestions a bit old-fashioned (“…if you must wiggle into something, assume it won’t flatter you.”). But Style still stands out as a treasure in itself. From “endlessly” clothes like full skirts and jewel-neck sweaters to playing around with color combinations and cocktail rings, Spade has captured a place for herself in the modern fashion vernacular. And Style is a suitably chic way to celebrate her arrival. –Christene Barberich
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