Good Taste Doesn’t Always Mean Good Style

But it can mean a very reliable opinion on the latter


I bought this pair of white suede platforms at the end of last summer and I was sure I was going to wear the hell out of them. They’d really well compliment a pair of peg leg jeans in their spectacularly gargantuan glory but they’d also serve as the most effective trick under flare leg pants, creating the illusion that I am 6 feet tall when in reality, I am absolutely not.

Still high on my purchase, I met a friend for a coffee and, of course, showed her the shoes to which she explained that she hated them. Not only that, though, she was determined to explain that in just a few weeks time, I would probably hate them too.

I appreciated her honesty but respectfully disagreed. They were white! And suede! There was absolutely no way they wouldn’t become a pillar of my wardrobe. And in any case, I didn’t care very much for the way that she dressed herself, which was obviously a marker for her taste, wasn’t it? She was often found in loose fit, uneven hemmed lace v-necks and cropped palazzo style drop crotch pants that would have been decent had she forgone the damn v-neck and opted not to wear them with knee high socks and high top sneakers.

So what would she know about white suede platforms in conjunction with me anyway. Am I roiiiiight?

Fast forward three months though, and not a single wear.

Fast forward six months. Still not a wear.

Now fast forward to about three weeks ago and you can find an image of me regrettably stuffing the never-worn platforms into a black garbage bag titled “Stuff to Sell.” And just like that, the lace v-neck wunderkind of yore was right. I was going to hate them. I did hate them. So, that got me thinking about taste, style and the difference between the two because ultimately, it turned out, you can totally trust a person’s taste without agreeing with their style.

It’s just, why is that — or maybe easier to answer is, how is that?

When considering taste, it’s important to break down the experience. Humans receive the anterior through sensory glands, right? Sometimes they’re delightfully digestible (pun absolutely intended) and sometimes they’re repulsive. What you find repulsive, I might find delightful and vice versa. Often too, we may even agree on the way taste makes us feel. Take chocolate for a moment — is it safe to call it a universally accepted comfort food?

I’m going to do it anyway.

I love chocolate.

So do many women, as evidenced by the not-backed-by-stats spike in sales near Valentine’s Day and approaching menstrual cycles. But just because we all like chocolate, doesn’t mean that we eat it the same way. Or even that we eat it as frequently as, say, a man might.

Make sense?

Now consider a woman and her perception of what makes an outfit good. I, for example, may absolutely love the way Kate Moss looked in a photo shot by Corinne Day, where she is wearing white Birkenstocks and loose fit white jeans and a cropped vest top that was accompanied by dangling fringe trim topped off with yarn balls. I can appreciate why she wore it, the point she emanated and the reason it worked but that doesn’t mean that I should wear it, too.

And see, just because my friend may not wear clothes the way I do does not mean that her taste — her opinion on style, and her understanding of why something does or does not work — is off. Because, really, what was I thinking with a pair of white suede shoes, anyway?

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