Oct 19, 2010
Readers, do you have good taste?
Tell the truth; I can keep a secret.
At a time when nearly anything goes, from sagger jeans to pierced septums (septa?), is there such a thing as bad taste? If so, how would you define it? (Britney Spears for Candie's perhaps?)
The book above is a favorite of mine. This 20-year-old classic, hilariously written by Jane and Michael Stern, includes extended entries on everything from Ant Farms to Zoot Suits and a hundred things in between. While some choices -- Chihuahuas for instance -- seem wildly off the mark, most are spot-on to this day.
Let's face it: there's a lot of tacky out there, especially right here in the US of A.
But if it's easy to identify bad taste -- especially in others -- what exactly is good taste and who gets to decide?
Is it something you're born with or something you acquire? (And what's up with those Parisians?)
If we were really confident about our own taste, would people like Martha Stewart be as popular as they are? Isn't the appeal of the celebrity designer label -- or any conspicuous label for that matter -- that you're acquiring the good taste it confers and telegraphing it to others?
It's complicated, though. Is a Chanel quilted bag really that beautiful? Yet my hunch is that most women would carry it with tremendous confidence, knowing it to be a symbol of (good) taste and sophistication.
Conversely, think Frederick's of Hollywood -- p. 126 in the Sterns' Encyclopedia. A lot of what they're selling is not very different from the Jessica Simpson collection or Victoria's Secret. The stripper aesthetic -- for lack of a better description -- is everywhere. It may not be Chanel, but it's not shocking. Times change.
So what is good taste? Modesty? Good fabrics?
Assuming most of us here do have good taste -- at least in sewing blogs -- did you ever have bad taste, perhaps at an earlier age when you didn't know better? Does someone close to you have bad taste? What makes it bad exactly?
If good taste can be acquired, where do we find it? London? Milan? Unidentified location, somewhere in Europe presumably?
Has sewing helped you acquire it?
Please -- the taste-challenged among us have no time to lose!
PS - There has been sewing taking place here at MPB: by hand and at glacial speed. As we say in romantic Rimini, Pazienza!
Labels: clothing and culture