Bad Taste

There's something inherently charming about intentional bad taste. Not actual bad taste or a genuine cultural/sartorial miss, which are true to their bad taste descriptions, but decisions made in full knowledge of any faux pas's or clashing colors or acknowledgment of good taste in general. Bad taste done not in ignorance of good taste, but in spite of it, is, indeed, good taste, or at least something near it. What is good taste, anyway? Critics, both established and otherwise, are always quick to label something as being in bad taste, but the requirements for good taste seem to be a bit more elusive. Good taste, clothing-wise at least, is usually present in pieces that in some way coordinate in proportions, colors, materials, textures, or references. "Good taste" looks put together, thoughtful, and fresh; a slight risk to start out with that was tackled with the smallest bit possible of originality to keep it somewhat new. (Because an outright copy would be the very worst of bad taste, but anything too challenging on the eye wouldn't make the cut for good taste.)

Intentional, acknowledged bad taste is funny, stylish, and acceptable. Pure bad taste is, well, just plain bad. A tackiness of taste is never a good fashion statement, whereas intentional bad taste is. The line between bad taste and tacky is a thin, overly-bejeweled one, but if one can tread lightly in their neon platform heels then bad taste can really be quite easy to manipulate.

When it comes to taste, I live by two quotes, the first being Good taste is better than bad taste, but bad taste is better than no taste (Arnold Bennett), and then good ol' All or nothing. So basically, I'm either wearing good taste from my head to my Stubbs and Wootton-clad toes, or I'm in prints so clashing that Miuccia Prada would sue me for copyright with taste so bad that even John Waters is jealous. There is, of course, some gray area, or rather gray outfits, where I mix and match good and bad taste, as exampled by the fact that I referenced so many levels of taste in the above sentence (I never thought I would get to use Stubbs and Wootton, Prada, and John Waters all in one sentence), but it worked.

Ultimately, an outfit on its own can only be in good/bad taste so much, but the end identification of said outfit really lies on the wearer. The same outfit can be worn by, say, Tilda Swinton and Mama June and it's not hard to imagine which one would be in good taste and which one bad. (Heck, even Tilda Swinton in two different characters could be two totally different levels of taste. Just think of I Am Love Tilda versus Only Lovers Left Alive Tilda. Okay, so they may both be in good taste, but still.) Taste, like style, is not something that can be bought off a mannequin, but rather something that develops inside of you, bubbling in your sartorial soul.

Divine.

John Waters is often renowned for his bad taste, which he does better than most do taste in general, if at all.

Divine.

Anna Wintour and Suzy Menkes in matching Versace. (photo: Niall McInerney)
I recently had a bit of an Instagram argument over this photo, but I'll always defend Anna and Suzy. It's one of those ironic iconic moments and if it's not #twinning goals than I don't know what is.

Absolutely Fabulous! 
The name, jauntily held cigarette and alcohol accompanied by the red lipstick, pleather, and pink feathers speak for itself.

8 comments:

  1. trash culture and not taking fashion too seriously are the secret to happiness

    secret-hipster.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. we've uncovered what many spend a lifetime searching for.

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  2. Fashion is so inspired by "bad taste", countless trashy-chic editorials. I love people that do it on purpose and definitely win- like ab fab
    Anna | aforvogue

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes, ab fab definitely wins at fashion; ab fab is fashion.

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  3. Ab Fab is my fave, the outfits are so mad but always give me inspiration! Have a good Monday,
    Bethany xx

    bethanygraceo.blogspot.dk
    I return all follows and comments on my blog, so be sure to check it out :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Replies
    1. Honey, i don't need your cheap Louboutins...

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