Wednesday 23 August 2017

Meet the taste makers

Anna Carey

Kate Moss? Yes. Katie Holmes? No. Sarah Jessica Parker? Yes. Jennifer Lopez? No. Victoria Beckham, Cheryl Cole? Yes and yes. Some people have the power to influence our tastes, and others do not. Kate Moss has persuaded the women of the world to wear everything from waistcoats to hotpants.

But no matter how often Katie Holmes stepped out in baggy pegged denims and teetering heels, the look didn't really catch on.

So what gives these women their power? Perhaps it all comes down to confidence. The people who influence our tastes tend to be those who can carry even a, shall we say, challenging look with ease. Their confidence is infectious. If she can wear enormous fluffy boots and still look cool, we think, then so can I! And slowly but surely, Uggs enter the mainstream. By which stage the original trendsetter has long moved on to something else.

We all want to believe that when it comes to style, we have minds of our own. But whether we're aware of it or not, our tastes are affected and even created by many different factors -- and people.

From the celebrities who make or break new trends to fashion buyers who choose what clothes we can find in the shops, from the make-up artists who guide us in the right direction to food experts who introduce us to our new favourite dish, we're being influenced all the time.

Most of us don't even notice it's happening. It's a slow process. First we see a photo of, say, the aforementioned Ms Moss in ankle-hugging denims and think "Oh my God, they're back? Ugh. I'm sticking to my bootcuts." Then we see another photo of Moss or Alexa Chung in skinny jeans and think "Actually, it looks kind of cool".

At this stage, the jeans have been picked up by the high street. We give them a try and discover they can look pretty good, even on a normal-sized person. A few years later, most of us have at least one pair of skinny denims in our wardrobe, just in time for the next trend to make them obsolete.

And it's not just celebrities who influence what we like.

From high fashion to high street, from food trends to the latest make-up, it's the store buyers who are guiding us -- or at least offering us a carefully chosen and filtered selection of new and exciting trends.

So are we just blindly following orders? Well, no. Our tastes can be influenced, sure, but we still decide exactly what we wear and eat every day. Few of us blindly follow fashion; instead, we pick and choose from a variety of styles and stores, borrowing the looks of everyone from Dita Von Teese to Zooey Deschanel, and putting them all together to create something that's truly unique: our own style...

Irish Independent

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