What’s your idea of ‘good taste’? Take our quiz and find your style

‘Whatever you call it, taste matters terribly,’ says presenter Anne Robinson. ‘It’s about who you are, what you want to express and the way you want to live. My mother, a self-made businesswoman who started her career selling chickens in the market in Liverpool, set tremendous store by the right linens and crockery. They were a manifestation of her success and what she had become.’ While Robinson, 79, thinks that worrying about having ketchup on the table is outdated, ‘personally, I can’t bear it when people don’t put milk in a nice jug. Make an effort. Have some pride… it’s all very complex and nuanced isn’t it? Having taste is far more important than the Northern Ireland protocol.’

She’s only partially joking. Ezra Klein, a writer at The New York Times, and Kyle Chayka, a writer for The New Yorker, both decades younger than Robinson, are of similar mind. In a recent podcast entitled How To Discover Your Own Taste, Klein confessed that in his 20s he had little time for seemingly superficial matters such as taste. But in his late 30s, he realised this partially cultivated obliviousness was in itself a form of snobbery. When he concluded he was missing out because he’d never given himself time to learn to appreciate classical music, he spent a year listening to different composers until he acquired the taste for the likes of Steve Reich. ‘I’ve come to see taste as a kind of superpower,’ he says. ‘It’s an act of resistance against algorithms and what they’re doing to us.’

Anyone who’s been presented with endless messages assuring them that if they liked that, they’ll love this, knows what he means. The internet paradoxically offers limitless choice, but also a funnelling and flattening of options. That’s just as true of political views as it is of books, TV and style recommendations. It’s all too easy to find yourself in an echo chamber. This is why equipping ourselves with a sense of taste or style matters, argues Kyle Chayka. ‘There’s nothing superficial about taste,’ he says. ‘It’s not just about what band or paint colour you like. Finding what resonates makes you feel more you. It’s about knowing who you are and what you like.’

What’s the best way to discover this? ‘It’s a muscle, like confidence,’ says Martha Ward, a fashion stylist who works with Gillian Anderson inter alia. ‘The more you use it, the easier it is to work out what makes you happy. It’s definitely not about someone else’s rules. You have to put the work in but once you have, things fall into place. You create your own sense of style where everything kind of works.’

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