New Books Offer Insight Into Yesterday’s Icons

Two new tomes aim to resurrect a bygone era of elegance by celebrating two of the 20th century’s greatest icons: Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Grace Kelly. Their poise, polish, and class reminded our mothers to wear pearls, write thank-you notes, respect others, and maintain a smart appearance. These books offer their timeless fashion and lifestyle rules—seemingly lost on today’s style icons that lack that je ne sais quoi their forebears exuded—from the age before paid product placements reigned and $100,000 goody bags were mandatory for millionaires.

  • What Would Jackie Do? An Inspired Guide to Distinctive Living by Shelly Branch and Sue Callaway (Gotham Books) is a how-to guide for those who aspire to the elegance and sensibility of Jackie O. Billed as “the next best thing to having Jackie O. as your personal advisor,” the book applies her philosophies to contemporary life by reviewing her famous track record.

  • Grace Kelly: Icon of Style to Royal Bride by H. Kristina Haugland (Yale University Press) comes 50 years after the marriage of Grace Kelly to Prince Rainier of Monaco, reminding the world of the union and celebrating Kelly’s style and stardom. Beloved for her beauty, poise, career, and fashion sense, including her wedding gown complete with prayer book, Kelly’s famous “look” is also remembered.