25/07/2013 09:07 BST | Updated 23/09/2013 06:12 BST

Good Taste: It's All in the Details

In my experience, the whole discussion about good taste is constantly under siege. I mean, who's to say what represents good or bad taste? To a degree, good taste can be an outcome of family conditioning, or having a good taste 'eye', like a gift or talent - something one is born with. Or, perhaps, like a hobby, something you take pleasure in aesthetically, that enables you to feel more in touch with your creativity. Whether or not any of these characteristics are accurate, the fact of the matter is this: Good taste is an outcome of taking care of all the details. And when we become familiar with taking care of our details, it's as if a new habit becomes attached to our DNA.

I'm reminded of a man I met a while ago who's known as an expert on communication. A nice man, well spoken and from an acting background. At an event I attended where he was sharing nuggets about how to communicate, he explained to the audience how his reliable outfit of navy blazer, white shirt and grey slacks enabled him to feel confident and comfortable. He referred to his outfit as a kind of uniform. That's all very well, however, these days, one's uniform needs to appear as being current. This gentleman's blazer was indeed navy, yet it looked tired and worn. Furthermore, it didn't echo any of today's styling details. His white shirt was far from crisp, in fact, it looked a little yellow. His slacks were too short, they waved around his ankles when he walked. In addition, to a discerning eye, the grey fabric of his slacks was clearly synthetic, which manifests itself as lifeless, flat and frail and cheap looking.

One of the details this communications expert failed to recognise was that by openly discussing his uniform, he brought what could have been unwanted attention to his out-of-another-era outfit. Many of the details in this man's attire were far from as good as they could/should have been. And yes, having a 'good eye' is very helpful when we choose clothes, furniture, grooming regimens, etc. Therefore, making the effort to develop a good eye is imperative, if one is desirous of having good taste. Had I known this gentleman better, I might have attempted to share my views, albeit delicately, with him. Remember, these days, fashion and style have been democratised, so no matter what your budget is, I feel sure it can be satisfied.

Like so many men and women I come across, this gentleman seemed to be stuck in his way of thinking, so sure of himself, it was as if he was unbendable regarding his appearance. If one is not willing to be flexible, willing to change, eager to improve then good taste is likely to elude you. In essence, it's to do with how much time we give to attending to the details. If you are not willing to invest quality time ensuring that good taste is present in your life, it may never come to fruition for you.

An effective way to ensure you are able to come across as someone who has good taste is to keep up-to-date. Read good quality magazines that are considered tasteful, visit stores that sell stylish, of-the-moment clothes and accessories. That way, as if by osmosis, you'll become both familiar and au fait with what for some of you may be very new. Being more aware of what is happening in the world of style, design and appearance has become a 'must have' in the times we live. Many people make snap judgements about us with little or no time for further investigation. By delving into the realms of beautiful architecture, refined art, well designed clothes, superb footwear and elegant grooming, our aspirations for ourselves become more sophisticated. We begin to learn new and different ways to embody good taste.

Lastly, good taste teamed with good manners are an essential combination if we want to communicate in a sophisticated fashion.

Some tips that'll help you to develop good taste:

- Be aware of the current trends in fashion, art and culture

- Read magazines that purport to be of good taste

- Visit stores and shops that are up-to-the-minute in the realms of clothing and accessories

- Don't be led by fashion, be informed by it

- Start to develop your own Personal Style

- Know that good taste is not a birth-right, it takes hard work and discipline

- Good taste is a result of learning, patience, being very selective and disallowing quick fixes

To learn more about Malcolm Levene, visit