What Is Good Taste And Do You Have It?

Be faithful to your own taste, because nothing you really like is ever out of style - Billy Baldwin

I seem to be late to the party having come across the ‘Things that Nicky Haslam Finds Common’ tea towel yesterday. Regardless, it’s been thought provoking. The first thought being, how ironically common the tea towel itself is. Another irony is that Haslam wrote ‘common lists’ for the Daily Mail. I worried as I shared it on the N + B Instagram that it would look like an undeniable reference to class. After all, common is a politically charged word and by default controversial. It is no surprise, given legendary Haslam’s reputation, that this viral tea towel sparked a posh or not debate.

I like to think that Haslam’s use of the word common, translates to what the kids would call basic, or simply means a lot of. Plus, it’s tongue in cheek. Nevertheless, reading the list took me back to an interactive, Grayson Perry show (Them & Us). He constantly drew the audience’s attention to how divisive taste is and in turn politics. In fact, Brexit was exposed as the main theme in the grand finale- there’s just no escaping it! It’s no secret that Perry thinks taste is inextricably woven into our class system. I get it, at the very least, taste is outwardly materialistic. Taste signifies the tribe one aspires to. And people appraise themselves and others by observing their homes and clothes. BUT there is a secret tea towel list in all of us and that’s OK.

We now live in a meritocracy. The binary world of good - bad taste is long gone. And a creative ‘high low’ culture is appreciated. The common list is a personal one, do your own. Taste is an expression of personality and that can be anything. But being confident and comfortable is the key. As an interior designer it’s impossible not to be driven by your own taste, however curating the client’s taste is the most important… The point is, we don’t need to say bye bye, to scented candles.

Bella Tiarks