Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Style Quiz - The Parts Clothing Can't Hide

For the following quiz, write A, B, C, and D on a piece of paper.  Put a mark next to the letter each time you choose that answer (only 1 answer per question).  When you've finished, tally up the score, and see how you did.

1. When hosting a party at home for 20 or more, you serve drinks in:
A. Glass, always glass (rented for the big parties if needed).
B. You hire a caterer for all of your parties.
C. Plastic was good enough for college, it's good enough for us now.
D. Plastic cups.  We’re likely to get more than 80 in here.

2. At the party, someone spills wine on your expensive Anatolian. You first:
A. Leap into action with towels.
B. Assure your guest that it can be easily cleaned, and not to worry.
C. Roll your eyes and hope to deal with it when everyone leaves.
D. Immediately refill that guest's glass.

3. When leaving a restaurant, the coat-check attendant hands you an overcoat and you notice a hole in the elbow.  You say:
A. "WHAT?!! Look what happened!! I want the manager's name!!"
B. "Ooh, this is embarrassing.  I've got to get that repaired."
C. "Excuse me, you handed me the wrong coat."
D. "Thank you" (because it is your coat and the hole has been there since the Reagan Administration). 

4. You get an invitation to attend the annual ball for a local "foundation", tickets are $450 each.  You:
A. Immediately purchase tickets and ready your evening wear.
B. Call around to see if anyone you know is also going.
C. Call the foundation to complain because big donors should be comped at these events (though it was your grandparents who were the big donors).
D. Call the foundation and ask how they got your name. 

5. Being preppy is very important to you.  You are:
A. Over 30 years old
B. Between 18 and 30 years old
C. In a photograph, and were 5 to 18 years old
D. Being sarcastic
***[Quadruple points.  Add four total marks to the answer you choose]***

6. Your cotton L.L. Bean sweater has faded after only 3 months.  You:
A. Blog about how products today aren't what they used to be
B. Return it and demand a new one
C. Give it away to a younger cousin or relative
D. Obviously had a nice summer, continue wearing it.
***[Double points.  Add two total marks to the answer you choose]***

7. The monogram on your shirt:
A. Is yours.
B. Belongs to your spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend.
C. Belongs to your father, grandfather, great-grandfather, etc.
D. Finally came off, but you had to work at it with a seam-ripper

8. You love getting catalogs in the mail because:
A. You can peruse each season's new collection.
B. It's so much nicer than seeing the exact same thing online.
C. At least it’s not an invitation to something.
D. Liquor stores that send out catalogs deserve your business.

9. If asked, you will explain that "summer" is:
A. A seasonal collection.
B. A verb.
C. A time for the same vacation you've taken for 6 generations.
D. Time to mix in tonic. 
***[Double points.  Add two total marks to the answer you choose]***

10. You never leave the house without:
A. Bringing your [insert name here] bag or accessory
B. Carrying your camera... you may need a picture of yourself for your blog
C. Offering the dog a walk.
D. Running into someone you know.

11. A true gentleman is:
A. Versed in popular etiquette and always impeccably dressed.
B. A man with excellent table manners who always pays for dinner.
C. A model to which young men should aspire.
D. Impossible to define, but you know it when you see it.

12. To prepare for a party at home, you:
A. Make sure that the hors d' oeuvres are noteworthy, that the house is perfectly arranged, and that the guestlist is very carefully selected
B. Make sure that only the best wines and liquors are on hand, and you have enough room for all of the guests to remove their shoes
C. Stock up on your favorite types of booze, throw in some wine for good measure, and recruit a few friends to arrive early with beer.  A few deli platters with crackers will do. 
D. Invite as many people as possible, ensuring that the age range is from 22 to 82.  Have lots of whatever food and plenty of booze, and the rest will take care of itself.

13. To host a large group, it takes you:

A. Weeks to plan, supply, and bake.
B. Most of a day or two to take care of absolutely everything, including the tiny details.
C. Between one and two hours... you have it down to a well-rehearsed routine.
D. A moment's notice.  Your best events actually started off as small lunch gatherings, organically grew into large parties the same evening, and continued into the wee small hours of the morning as epic events with several distinct waves.

14. The bartender asks how you would like your Cosmopolitan.  You say:
A. "With Absolut."
B. "With Grey Goose".
C. "Oh… ummm… I forgot to ask her.  What’s cheap?"
D.”I didn’t order that.  I was the bourbon.”

15. You and a friend see some tourists looking lost.  They are dressed as horribly as could possibly be.  You say to your friend:
A. "Ugh. Check out these tourists... shorts and white socks?"
B. "I hate tourist season.  This is why we have our beach-house."
C. "I bet they're looking for the [nearest local attraction]"
D. "Let's see if they need directions."

16. At a dinner party, one guest gets far more inebriated that the others, and speaks inelegantly about someone who is not there.  You should:
A. Speak to the host or hostess and decide the best way to deal with it.
B. Blacklist the individual from future parties.
C. Halfheartedly defend the person who is not there, then shrug it off.
D. Enjoy it. Every dinner party needs a bit of spice, but make sure that person doesn't drive.

17. You walk into a restaurant, and you are the only one in a coat and tie.  You:
A. Quickly remove your tie.
B. Hope that the staff remark about how well-dressed you are, and scoff at the other diners.
C. Don't really notice what the others are wearing.
D. Notice it, but don't care.  Your companions and the food are your reason for being there.

18. You have been invited to a large country house for a three-day weekend, but are unsure about the dress code.  You decide to:
A. Bring a few outfits that you know will be PERFECT.
B. Bring more than enough clothing, so you can cover every base.
C. Bring your Bean Boots and skis (winter) or bathing suit (summer) and assume that they will have a towel.
D. Call the host and ask what clothing or equipment would be best.  There's no shame in that.

19. Someone gives you a bottle of wine as they arrive at your house. You:
A. Thank him or her profusely and comment on the quality of the vintage, quietly setting aside the bottle for cooking purposes if it seems cheap.
B. Give quick thanks for the bottle and make haste to introduce him or her to the other guests, as you've already chosen the wines for the evening.
C. Absent-mindedly accept the bottle while trying not to be slightly annoyed at the  implication that your own wine might not be good enough.
D. Be glad that the bottle reminds you to promptly ask whether your guest would like a drink.

20. You find out that a friend will bring a famous actress as his guest to a party at your house.
A. This settles it: the party will be the best you have ever thrown.
B. Wow! Make sure we get plenty of pictures. Should we tell the local paper?
C. Well, she can't be any worse than that lobbyist he brought last time.
D. For once it will be easy to remember the name of his new girl.

21. At an outdoor party near a body of water (pool included), one or more guests casually decide to swim naked.  You:
A. Gasp.
B. Gasp.  Gain your composure, and authoritatively tell the nearest person that “it is common in Europe.”
C. Approach their pile of clothing, and carefully put their sunglasses on top of their shoes, so they won’t get lost or stepped on.
D. Are that person.

If you answered A 17 or more times:
You are very high-strung and constantly plagued by class-anxiety.  You likely subject your spouse to endless psy-ops concerning your interpretation of a "Preppy" operational outlook, because your [spouse] won't dress the way you want him or her to for the apple-picking day you planned.  You feverishly take notes at wine tastings, only drink Champagne from flutes, and watch a lot of television.  You read books that have "Handbook" in title more as manifestoes than as amusement.  You have the same posed look in every picture taken of you, and fuss endlessly over any element that you feel strays beyond the tolerance of the aesthetic with which you are attempting to brand yourself.  You don't realize that terms like "social climber" and "ambitious" are insults, and you regularly seethe with envy concerning perceptions of wealth.  If you ever did actually roll your pant-legs up to splash through a stream, you would retell it ad nauseum.  Your sense of uniqueness is ultimately shuttered by your disdain for anything actually unique. You will have used a calculator to tally your score for this quiz. 

If you answered B 17 or more times:
You are somewhat active socially, though your estimate of your own status is 50% higher than the actual level.  You cheerily or smugly identify with certain colors for clothing, and you have a very self-articulated social agenda (that may even exist in outline-form somewhere).  You are absolutely insufferable on any committee, the roster for which you insist be printed in the programs for the events it hosts.  Your reading materials tend to serve as fashion accessories, and you enjoy "casually" displaying certain magazines in your house.  Perhaps your father is/was a member of a pleasant country club, but you certainly can't convince your spouse to join.  Your style for dressing is dogmatic and dictated entirely by your various catalogs.  You forcefully assign cutesy nicknames to people for the sole purpose of nick-name-dropping in other circles, including your pets and children.

If you answered C 17 or more times:
You were a "preppy" child, and are now the real thing... though you never actually use this term.  You have been throwing the same parties for years, and half of the glasses at your house were those your parents gave you when they replaced all of theirs.  You have a few of your country club's ashtrays (pilfered, of course) for friends who smoke, and after parties the same group of college buddies tend to stay later than everyone else.  Much of what you do is through an inherited reverence for routine, and your house is a mixture of well-worn antiques that belonged to now-dead ancestors, and there are newer objects made with classical designs.  Your friends tend to be relatively homogeneous, slightly boring, and bizarrely unable to move out of their time-capsule of 28-ish-ness.  You're not really sure why you wear some of the things you do... you just always have.  You make nice or expensive clothing seem somehow bland, because if you buy a Brooks Brothers shirt and suit, you never consider the additional step to have it further refined for fit.  You never look bad in your clothing, but you also never look great.  You tend to be a loyal friend, but rarely venture outside of your circle.  You likely possess passable-to-talented abilities in one of the statistically uncommon sports (squash, dingy racing, riding), and you favor beer, vodka, or rum-based drinks.

If you answered D 17 or more times:
You have few hang-ups, and are constantly expanding (not reducing) your circle of friends.  Parties that you throw can sometimes look like a crowded subway car with widely varying types and of all ages.  You are often both formal and approachable at the same time, and snobs look to you for sympathetic commiseration, which you don't give.  You take your ability to flourish in nearly any setting for granted, and you routinely find your schedule over-committed.  You are skeptical by nature, wary of trends, and you can successfully extract pleasant moments from everyday life with astounding frequency.  While you can be extremely observant of people, you regularly miss cues from hosts who are ready to go to sleep (and for you to leave), and you are somehow oblivious to people flirting with you. Dates often feel neglected in social settings with you, and are routinely put off by your slightly tedious exultation of nearly everyone. Though elegance in clothing and charm may come effortlessly, you often misjudge (severely at times) the reception of your humor.  Your exterior may be anything from dandy to Yankee conservative, from dapperjack to bookish collegiate, or from bland business-dress to flamboyant.  You understand not just how to do things, but why. 

If A and B were the two most-occurring answers, your family dreads being around you when it's time to throw a party, and you are a relentless nag.  You insist on immediately seeing any picture that was just taken (even casually), and will demand a re-shoot or even several.  You hope that people see you doing the crossword puzzle, and you refer to the local teenage boy who does your light yardwork bi-weekly as "my grounds keeper".  You steadily offer class envy for a social class that doesn't exist, or one you married into, or one that was absconded with after grandmother died, and your adolescent representation of the good life is saturated in the lazy fussiness and niceties of the scented candle crowd.

If B and C (possibly A and C as well) were the two most-occurring answers, you fancy yourself part of the old-guard, of moderate inheritance and custom, and you won't let anybody forget it.  You refer to your  parent's or relative's boat/summer house/ski house as "my boat/summer house/ski house", and you try to conceal the fact that you need to ask for permission to use it.  You work the little indicators of privilege into most conversations, especially when you meet someone new, and your class-anxiousness percolates when you're out of your carefully cultivated arena.  Your Great Aunt has a staff of four at home, and when you visit, you treat them dismissively and abrasively.  Your portion of the trust fund contained no provisions for professional (or academic) development incentives, and you now feel quietly threatened because you can't relate to those with "careers".  You make it known that you serve on several committees, but no advisory board of any merit will have you.  Your redeeming qualities include a total comfort with entertaining (although it tends to be ill-prepared), and your willingness to allow people over at all hours.  Contrary to the assumptions, you are rarely late when given a schedule, and usually up for last-minute adventures.  You are never late for brunch, and Sunday morning usually finds a hung-over guest or two on your couch.  Thankfully, you know how to make strong coffee.

If C and D were the two most-occurring answers, you are likely well-read, well-dressed, and well-spoken. You get along well at dive-bars and city/country clubs with equal ease, and are usually very well liked by the parents of people you've dated.  You tend to dress well often, but moderate it appropriately, preferring to avoid being noticed.  You find it very easy to get along with even the most ill-tempered old people, and they tend to take to you as a confidante. You tip well, deal easily with paradox (because you embody many elements of it), but your deliberate conduct can put people on edge.  You rarely reflect deeply on questions of social status, though everyone who sells you coffee or serves you at an info desk tends to begin reflecting on them just from looking at your hair and the way you dress your children.  Only when others agree on something you find horrible do you realize that many do not share the ethical and cultural outlook that you take as a given. You sometimes annoy people by tending to assume that the entire infrastructure of civilization was put in place to make your life easier (though some historians would probably support you on this). In a revolution where the ruling class was being beheaded, you would have about a fifty-fifty chance of talking your way out of it.

Question 5 is quadruple points.  Whatever letter you chose must get 4 marks added to it.
Questions 6 and 9 count for double points.  Whatever letter you chose must get 2 marks added to it.


  1. Hilarious and incisive....absolutely eviscerates numerous denizens of the blogosphere.

  2. I enjoyed this particularly because I didn't read ahead -- no idea what I was letting myself in for.

  3. thx but this is bullcrap. you are so full of it and the quiz doesnt even make sense. I went through it but I cant even tell if you mean to say a preppy is bad or good if they get some of these answers. but you are really missed the point from this.

  4. Thanks for this. Hilarious! Love it.

    LBF ("...are that person")

  5. Harsh! Sending this one around!

  6. Merci beaucoup for the forward TB. I fell in the mostly C/D group and the definition fits like a glove. And, being the true snob that I am, I did not take the time to read the other categories assuming mine was, of course, the best :)

  7. you need E: sheer brilliance, combined with biting sarcasm and rapier-like wit. rarely misses the point.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Main Line Sportsman: I discovered that, and now have the fresh fanbase hate-emails to prove it!

    JKG: Correctly accomplished, Sir.

    Anonymous: Your first two sentences are correct.

    LBF: Always ready to muck about with expectation. I knew that I could count on you.

    TB: I don't think it's that harsh.

    Summer as Verb: C/D is in fact the best.

    Patsy: Alas, I am fully incapable of the four qualities you've enumerated. This blog is little more than a morning radio-show-caliber fart joke delivered with the accompanying sound effects. Also, stand by for the flag.

  10. I'm definitely a C/D with a few discrepancies, and very happy to be so. I know a handful of A/B's and really try to limit my exposure with them to clubs and bars where they can feel special buying everyone drinks and wearing their Rolexes on the wrong hand.

  11. I am very fortunate to have the majority of my answers fall into C/D, and definitely thanking my parents for the strict upbringing. I did notice the questions were similar to those written by Paul Fussel in "Class: A Guide Through the American Status System."

  12. I am left to assume there's no room for normal people on this quiz or in your life.


Let's keep it clean... but if you DO have to get foul, at least give it a bit of wit. Also, advertising disguised as comments will be deleted, unless it is clever.