Taste: noun ( JUDGMENT ) a person’s ability to judge and recognise what is good or suitable, especially relating to such matters as art, style, beauty and behaviour.
I adore full skirts, cinched waists, and classic pumps. I totally dig motorcycle jackets, engineer boots, and anything with enormous chunky chains. I can’t resist button-down shirts, pencil skirts, and cashmere cardigans. I’m a sucker for bright, clashing prints and avant-garde construction. I love tissue-thin graphic tees and structured wool dresses, flowy maxi skirts and tailored blazers, graphic polka dots and outrageous abstracts. All of these things suit my personal taste, different though they may be. And I do my best to sprinkle them throughout my wardrobe and wear them in ways that seem organic and unified. (Emphasis on “try.”)
But how is it that I can love these fundamentally different aesthetics, and love them equally? How can I see something and know IMMEDIATELY if I adore or loathe it, even if I’ve never seen anything similar? Why do I like design aesthetics that bear no discernible relationship to each other?
I realize that if I dig a bit deeper, I’ll find some common threads: I prefer clean lines, I prefer cinched waistlines, I prefer tall shoes. All of these motifs can appear in classic or rocker or preppy or boho aesthetics, depending upon the designer and garment. But it still amazes me that I can have a visceral reaction to a piece of clothing (or art, or music, or literature) that is only thinly connected by logic and pattern to other objects that please me. I’m also dumbfounded by the origins of my tastes. My dad is an architect who furnished my childhood home in chunky blonde wood furniture and minimalist light fixtures, so that’s where the whole “clean lines” thing comes from, but the rest? The 50’s silhouettes and rocker influences? Beats me, friends.
We may all agree that taste is, essentially, personal preference but it can be hard to determine its true origins. Or how it evolves. Some possess tastes that encompass apparent opposites, and some possess tastes that are narrowly defined. But perhaps its mystery is also its power.