I came across something the other day and it made me contemplate the differences between the two, the difference between judging style and critiquing style. I’ve concluded it all comes down to a person’s open-mindedness and understanding about style.
One can judge, but critiquing is a whole other game. We always say “you are quick to judge” but we don’t say “you are quick to critique” do we? Judging is where you form an opinion and that’s the end of things. Critiquing is forming an opinion, but having some kind of analysis to back up your opinion.
I see fashion as a subjective part of life and style an even more complex aspect of fashion. There isn’t a right way and there isn’t a wrong way to these things. However, there is such thing as personal preference where we decide we like and don’t like certain things. But how many times do we stop and think about WHY we don’t like it or WHY a look isn’t to our personal tastes? Do you think about the person wearing the clothes, their lifestyle, their personal tastes? How open-minded are you about seeing someone wearing something before you declare it as “tacky”?
Let me point out, I don’t mean to say that some have more authority over what goes in fashion over others because I understand we all are entitled to our own opinions. My point is when it comes to fashion and style, empathy should play a certain role. Example: Person A can immediately declare Person B is a “fashion victim” simply because they do not like what they are wearing. My understanding of this is judging. I feel a simple addition of a few empathetic words would change the “fashion victim” statement into a critique. If Person A were to say Person B is a “fashion victim because they lead this kind of life”, while I don’t think that is any better to say, it goes to show Person A is at least creating an empathetic connection. There is an attempt to understanding both the preferences of Person B and of fashion itself. I do feel people should try to dig a little deeper into their thoughts about fashion, whether they see someone wearing something from a fast fashion shop or they are looking at a head-to-toe look from a luxury designer.
A friend told me knowing what’s fashionable and stylish should be a conscious effort and I couldn’t agree more even if that means what you consider fashionable is personal taste. In this day and age, social media has to lead to the world being exposed to so much more fashion. Despite that, I do think most of the time the effort to expose ourselves to more fashion is quite contained because of the limited access to information. Most of that information consists of Hollywood celebrities. But I’m saying it now, what Hollywood wears isn’t always “what’s in”, especially when you consider we have a whole world full of style. And this is where that conscious effort and empathy should come in. There is a world full of styles and fashions not many know exist and it’s effort put into learning about these that allow people to become more open-minded about fashion.
Next time you see someone wearing something you don’t like, take a little time to ask yourself why you don’t like it?