Wednesday, November 19, 2014
What Is Taste Anyway?
No, this is not a rant about my favourite foods and why they are superior to all other food (the answer is candy, cupcakes, and pizza). This is a rant about taste in fashion terms. Left and right, you see fashion industry insiders declaring someone an authority on taste and you can't quite figure out what that actually means. You may consider a slew of options. You may even overlook it and respond, "she's Anna Wintour. Enough said". Or you may question the concept by asking yourself:
What is good taste? Who decides? How do we define bad taste?
A fashion savvy person will eye every single individual in their surroundings and analyze their look. Most of us do it subconsciously and some of us place judgment while we're doing it. It's human nature and we can't resist. After all, it's all in our head so what harm can it do? We may look at someone and envy their ability to put together an outfit in such a creative way. We may look at someone else and cringe. We might even think, "that person has terrible taste".
This may seem obvious. Some people have it. Others don't. However, this industry promotes self-expression, eccentricity, and a diverse sense of style. How can it possibly place judgment on taste?
So then I have to ask myself: Is taste a social thing or a fashion thing?
If taste is based on social norms, it becomes a question of conservative dress that fits in with the rest of the crowd. Examples include jeans, a t-shirt, a leather jacket, and black boots. It's normcore and brand whore at the same time. It's what all the cool kids are doing.
If taste is based on fashion, it becomes a dictate of the Anna Wintours of this world. It's utterly subjective and in fact, sometimes it's even a defiance of social trends. It's the decision to wear something that sets you apart and encapsulates your identity. It's caring about your appearance enough to try. It takes a certain nonchalance of someone who knows who they are and owns their look.
So, what do people "without taste" look like?
Perhaps they are bland, unconcerned with their appearances, and inattentive to fit.
But isn't this a fashion trend in and of itself? Haven't we established that anti-fashion movements like punk and hipster are still fashion movements?
So maybe taste is about being yourself. Maybe it's about finding your niche and wearing what feels right to you. It could be a question of ethics, social climbing, identity pursuit, or Kim K.'s choice to wear it. Whichever it is, good taste becomes defined as a conscious decision to be you. Or perhaps it's a subconscious decision.
If that is the case, can good taste and bad taste really exist? If we're all subjective about aesthetically pleasing fashion and we can look critically at different designer collections or the people in our environs, we can all be judges of taste. After all, fashion is individual, so taste cannot possibly be a public consensus.
P.S: This is item 2 on #Thingsthatmakemefeelreal.
1) Fluffy things make winter better.
2) Fluffy things make me feel glamorous.
3) It goes with EVERYTHING.
4) It was a steal.
5) It'll enhance a casual look.