How To Acquire Taste

5 models wearing fashionable dress suits at a race track

Taste is such a loaded word. It’s very haughty and it’s also pretty undefinable.  I don’t know what it means to me — I simply like what I like — or how my taste level was developed, but I presume it’s been heavily influenced by my mother and how I grew up. Either way, a long time ago Pilar Guzman, the editor-in-chief of Condé Nast Traveler, spoke to The Cut on how to cultivate taste, and I loved her response:

It’s a hard question to answer, but I think it’s about being curious. It’s about being open to different influences: vintage, new, digital, print, movies, music, all of that kind of stuff. When you’re young, it’s about observing. It’s about having well-rounded mentors — people whom you look to for cues. Some of it is studying. It’s not about money, it’s about having an eye.

So much of it is about seeing things. Seeing movies and art, and reading — all of those things feed a sensibility. It’s about being a holistic person. It’s not just about someone who dresses great or has a cute apartment. What makes a great experience is usually not about money — it’s about a feeling. You go to a friend’s house and they have a table set up outside, and it’s a vintage tablecloth and chipped plates, but it’s about creating a mood. To me, that defines taste. It’s about putting two unlikely flowers together in an old vase, or the right cute thrift-shop vessel.

So, how do you improve your style and home in on your taste? It’s as simple as opening your eyes and being curious. I typically like concrete suggestions, plans or formulas and try to offer those up on this site, but as I start off the year I’m making it a priority to see, hear and experience more. Whether that’s reading more magazines, going to more exhibits, traveling more, watching more movies, flipping through more looks from fashion shows, etc. I don’t know if any of this will radically change my style or elevate my taste, but I assume that this type of attitude will improve my overall existence.


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