Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Monica Lee Talks Fashion: Style Vs. Taste

On Nov 19, I'll be the "red carpet hostess" for a huge fashion show happening in Brattleboro, in honor of this event I'm focusing on Fashion/Style until that date. Please join me and welcome my first guest....

Monica Lee is an illustrator, designer, writer, and fashion lover~  today she is my special guest here on The Desha Show! Welcome, Monica!

I am so excited to be guest posting here today! I met Desha at a blogging event and instantly connected with her. As we chatted away we both confessed to have a particular interest in fashion. It is often interesting when and where I choose to bring my passion for fashion up in conversation.. I have had other artists look at me with complete disdain when I talk about fashion or styling. Fashion is often associated with trends and trends are associated with a lack of authenticity.

About 100 years ago (okay, maybe just about 20 years ago,) I will never forget reading an article in a magazine discussing true style verses good taste. The author was making the differentiation between someone who wore large gold kite earrings and seamed stockings everyday to work verses someone who looked liked they stepped off the page of a catalog. She pointed to iconic Cher as someone who had style and Grace Kelley who merely had good taste. It made perfect sense as I was reading it. You may not like Cher's style, but she certainly marches to the beat of her own drummer. Elvis, Betsy Johnson, Marlene Dietrich all had style. George O’keefe had style simply because she dressed with an anti-style attitude. Jackie Onassis, Kate Middleton, Michelle Obama have good taste. What? Blasphemy! Times have shifted 20 years later and we use the phrase style icon much too casually. Grace and Jackie are now considered “style” icons. But are they really?

Well, here is an interesting take on it. I watched an episode of Project Runway where the young designers had to use Jackie O’s style as their muse. The designers really struggled with the challenge and the resulting runway show was tepid at best. 

I was surprised that none of the designers reached back into the photos of Jackie’s more casual, sporty looks. I think you see a glimmer of style when she was not dressing appropriately for an event. If those same designers where asked to use Bridgette Bardot or even Mick Jagger as their muse, I am sure the runway show would have been much more eventful!

These days most of whom we see on the Red Carpet have been styled. A stylist or image consultant tells the said important person how to wear their hair and even picks their outfits for grabbing a cup of coffee, “you never know when you might be photographed”! Don’t get me wrong I would jump at the chance to style someone with a bigger budget than mine! Truthfully, style doesn’t really need a big budget. Style says, “I feel like wearing a T-shirt and long velvet skirt today” or “I am going to wear my father’s 1950‘s cowboy rodeo belt buckle with my little black dress.”
Style wears the same pair of spectacles for 20 years because they suit her face. Style knows that trends may come and go but knows herself well enough to avoid most of them. Style is everything from relaxed and unaffected to adventurous and daring. True Style does not need dip her toe into the pool of gaudy. She really doesn’t need that kind of attention. Style lives by her own design and it resonates in everything she does.
Someone with taste is a good listener. 

Taste is careful not to question. Let’s give Taste a little credit though, she understands scale and proportion. That’s good and pleasant but it doesn’t necessarily turn heads or make you think. Taste appropriately mixes high and low in a nod to the ailing economy. Taste knows what brands are up and coming and does them a favor by being seen in them. Style is not necessarily loyal to any brand but if something genuinely speaks to her, she is passionate about it.  In the end, that is the difference between style and taste, True Style has passion. She carries her own authentic energy. Who would you like to meet, Taste or Style?

Monica Lee is an illustrator, designer, writer, and fashion lover, make sure and check out her playful illustrations on her blog and "like" her page on Facebook. Thanks Monica!


  1. I love your post. This is so true, and it also holds true for Interior design. Taste fades, Style is forever.

  2. I would like to meet Style, with excellent taste! Great article!

  3. Love this article! Wow, such great points you made, and made with such STYLE!

  4. Thanks Christine, Ann and Kathy! Monica is a great writer!


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