Can Style Be Judged

Can style be judged? I ask this question because at Art-n-Hustle we deal with Art and Style. In the art world the phrase “Art is subjective” is constantly thrown around. Can the same be said for style? If so, how would one then make a “fashion mistake” if its all subjective. If not how can it style be judged? This is question that I have pondered for sometime now and decided to contact a few friends for their thoughts on the subject.

Marisa Zupan from The Sig Other
“Yes, I believe style can be judged. It’s not the popular answer but there it is. To me, style is not a ‘thing’ it’s a skill. Take the skill of cooking, for example. Sure there are different tastes, but even so we can agree there are good cooks and bad cooks, and sometimes very bad cooks. Similarly, the skill of style, no matter what the genre, can be judged. There are the advanced and the amateurs. I’d argue that what separates good from not so good are two things, conviction and honesty. Consider, Steve McQueen and Johnny Depp and John F. Kennedy and Ouigi. They run the gamut but they’re all pros. Why? Because they all dress with conviction and honesty. Imitators might have conviction but they dress to be someone else; with no self-awareness; with no honesty. On the flip side, conviction-less dressers are not even in the game, they’re neither here nor here, zero sum when it comes to style. I think style is about making choices; as long as thery’re made with purpose and an honest sense of self, you’re golden.

Barron Cuadro from Effortless Gent
” When it comes to men’s style, there’s a certain base level knowledge of what’s right and what’s not, what goes together and what doesn’t. If a dude doesn’t have these fundamentals down, then he’s subject to style judgment. Things like proportion and fit, basic matching of color, pattern, and texture all have their standards, and while it’s okay for him to deviate from that and create a style all his own, he needs to at least have that basic understanding to be able to deviate knowledgeably.”

Rachel Brooks from The Style Cooperative
” Style starts as decorating the body- just as one would decorate a canvas, or wall, or mold objects to create a point of view- it’s all art. To this extent, style is completely subjective. The difference that exists here is that everybody makes decisions on how they choose to decorate their body every single day, and live their lives within this context for the world to see, experience, and form an opinion. 

In theory, there wouldn’t be mistakes in style. I once wrote that personal style begins and ends with confidence and nestled somewhere within that is being self-aware. Know what you like, build that into your life, and don’t settle.   Personal style therefore becomes lifestyle. Just like in the art world, there are artists who are more celebrated, who understand and execute on aesthetics. But the true art in creation can’t be taught; it is lived.”


Jeremiah Simmons from A Head Long Dive
” To question whether or not style can be judged is a difficult question to ask. Maybe we should be asking should style be judged rather than can, because it certainly is judged in our day and age. We all have presuppositions and preferences, thus when we interact with those who have style, opinions are naturally formed. In many ways, not only can style be judged, but it very much should be judged. It is a good thing to evaluate, assess and formulate one’s own opinion concerning fondness of certain aesthetics and ways of expressing one’s self. I am constantly taking in images and items that inspire me concerning my wardrobe but also who I am as a man. An old movie, a new piece from Michael Bastian, something I see someone wearing on the street or read about online are all places that impact my sense of style. We should embrace that having style is not forming rigid opinions about what is “right” or “good” but is free and open to new and beautiful interpretation. That is not to say I don’t have a penchant for the classics, but rather to say that developing one’s own style is not about crossing the finish line, but running the race. People only make “mistakes” when they fail to care at all.”

Robert I Brown from Robert I. Brown Style
“I do not believe style should or can be judged. With each person in the world, there is a different way of dress one may approach. While there are many extraneous rules on the subject of style—silly ones like no white after Labor Day—not many of them are followed, and this allows for an individual to showcase their style through character, individualism, and uniqueness. Originality is another important aspect of style…shunning a person’s way of dress to be judged. There is no right or wrong style—only people expressing themselves through the way they do things. Style is limitless and the uncreated is waiting to be created. How can you judge that?”



Corey Knight

Founder of A&H Group.