Whether you believe it or not–and whether you like it or not–you have taste. You may prefer chocolate ice cream to vanilla, a vacation at the seashore to one in the mountains, or fluffy ruffles to severe pleats–and everyone has a favorite color. So you have taste, but do you have confidence in it? Perhaps THEY aren’t using ruffles this year, or its much more chic to be seen at Estes Park than Cape Cod or Martha’s Vineyard. Or, you just don’t DO a room with yellow (your favorite color). Would this pressure affect your feelings about any of these? There seems to be in progress a concentrated, persistent, and efficacious conspiracy devised to weaken your confidence in your own taste. ~ Mary Jean Alexander, Decorating Begins With You, 1958.
If Mary Jean Alexander was lamenting the conspiracy by experts to destroy your confidence in your own taste, imagine how she would feel now with scores of television shows, magazines, websites, blogs, and Pinterest constantly giving us an ideal that we “fail” to live up to because we either don’t have the resources or the ideal doesn’t ring true for us.
Last fall, I was sharing information from a 1937 home decorating textbook written by Elizabeth Burris-Meyer. While I found many of her ideas useful, I was starting to get annoyed by her pedantic style of writing. If we didn’t follow her rules, then we didn’t have any taste.
Baloney (to put it nicely).
My goal in sharing the information from these mid-century books and textbooks that I find is to help us take what we love about that time period and make it our own in the modern world. It is also to help us learn what we would have learned in Home Economics if it were still being taught in the schools.
One of the things I really enjoy about leading the Only Own Beautiful Clothes virtual retreats is helping the participants gain confidence in their ability to define and create their own personal style. They go in thinking that I’m going to tell them what to wear and end the retreat with a personal vision that reflects who they are as women.
You have taste. Let’s develop your confidence in it and figure out what to do with it!