Taste versus flattering

It is that time of year again. June is the beginning of the “season” here in the UK.  History of the season  if you are interested in how this term originated. The “season” includes events such as The Derby, Royal Ascot, Henley royal regatta, Polo and Cowes just to name a few.

I thought I would introduce a “slightly tongue in cheek” discussion of taste versus flattering. One of the definitions of the word “taste” in the English Oxford dictionary is “aesthetic discernment in art, literature, conduct etc. especially of a specified kind as in – a person of taste, dresses with good/bad taste and we can go on from there to tasteful or tasteless. It seems to me in some way to be a slightly old fashioned concept as depicted in behaviour according to Debretts Peerage. Or is it? Does it still have some bearing in the way we dress today or has all of this been thrown out following the youthful rebellion of the 60s and the current rise of celebrities and/or “wags” and their handbags. Maybe “appropriately attired” is more suitable to those occasions that arise and call on us to make suitable sartorial choices such as weddings, funerals, formal occasions and such like.

How is this word “taste” similar or different to “flattering”. Can an outfit be flattering yet at the same time be in poor taste? How different is our definition of taste? Is it personal or dependent on culture, race or even religion etc. Does it change as we get older or is it influenced by the vagaries of fashion, in other words does what we consider to be in good or bad taste evolve with time?

Might it be considered simply unflattering if we enter the public domain dressed in lets say too short, too tight etc. etc. garments or is it “bad taste”?

My own opinion is that taste definitely has nothing to do with money and how much you spend on clothes. You can certainly be dressed from head to toe in designer which may be both not flattering and not in good taste. At the same time you can dress from the high street or second hand shops and put an outfit together with excellent taste. So that being said how do we define that elusive quality that calls itself “good taste”

 What are your thoughts on the subject?

For a bit of fun if you want to check out what to wear to formal British occasions you can check it out at Debretts here or even more fun Debretts guide to British behaviour and etiquette
Check out dress code for Royal Ascot here. Fascinators have apparently been banned – Her Majesty doesn’t approve of fluff stuck to headbands!

Royal Ascot – Photo from Debretts
Photo of Henley Royal Regatta

Thank you for reading. I really love to hear from you and appreciate the time you take to leave comments.
Fashion and Style, Beauty tips, Lifestyle


  1. 3rd June 2013 / 09:53

    I hope that means that fascinators have had their day;proper hats are so much prettier and more flattering. I love the one in the photo.

  2. 3rd June 2013 / 10:00

    I hate the ‘uniform’ of summer weddings & go out of my way to avoid: a) LK Bennett shoes, b) a pashmina and c) a fascinator (although I own all three). That said, my choice of black for any happy occasion is probably considered ‘bad taste’ by many. Flattering is generally ‘tasteful’, because it’s pleasing to the eye although I’m sure there are plenty of exceptions.

  3. 3rd June 2013 / 12:22

    I think that “taste” means following the generally accepted guidelines for an occasion and “flattering” implies fit, colour and style that are aesthetically pleasing on an individual’s body. I might look great in shorts but it would be in “poor taste” to wear them to a funeral. The guidelines in North America are probably much less prescriptive than those in Britain.

  4. 3rd June 2013 / 18:45

    Agree with you – taste has absolutely nothing to do with money. (PS the Queen may dislike fascinators, but Kate Middleton is a bit of a fan!)

  5. 5th June 2013 / 13:16

    While it is quite true that “taste” and “flattering” are completely independent creatures, oh, how wonderful it is when we get an outfit that meets both criteria!

  6. 6th June 2013 / 02:02

    I am a fan of fascinators and of headwear in general. For me hats make the world go round and can be flattering and tasteful.

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