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Video: Give your favorite clothes an updated twist

updated 11/30/2009 5:01:28 PM ET 2009-11-30T22:01:28

In order to start building your closet properly, take this easy quiz. (Sorry to take you back to the 8th grade, but it’s a necessary first step!)

Pretend you’re a personal stylist who’s been hired to give you advice. Try to look at yourself as an outsider would when answering the following questions. Nobody knows you better than you do, but if you’ve never done a self-examination like this (and you probably haven’t), what you find out may surprise you. Have fun with this, be honest with yourself, and let your true personality answer every question.

Taking a style quiz
What’s your style? Take this quiz and find out! Circle the answers that best describe you:

1. You are most comfortable in

    A. long, flowing dresses
    B. cable-knit sweaters
    C. a bikini
    D. the latest trend
    E. a white button-down shirt and jeans
    F. a fitted sweat suit

2. When not working, you feel most like yourself

    A. in a romantic vacation spot
    B. on the tennis court in a country club
    C. on a beach
    D. in a big city
    E. at home hosting an intimate dinner party
    F. in your SUV with the kids

3. Your accessory of choice is

    A. an armful of gold bangles
    B. a strand or two of pearls
    C. a rash guard
    D. the new “it” bag
    E. big, round, black “Jackie O” sunglasses
    F. a diaper bag

4. The perfect everyday shoe for you is

   A. flip-flops
   B. loafers
   C. barefoot
   D. stilettos
   E. flats
   F. sneakers

5. You tend to wear

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  A. mostly white
  B. lots of navy blue
  C. bright colors
  D. head-to-toe black
  E. anything neutral
  F. dark colors

Evaluating your answers
Now that you’ve taken our style quiz, find out who you are and how to define your look. If your answers fall mostly in the A’s, B’s, C’s, or so on, you fall pretty neatly into one of six groups, outlined in the following sections.

Mostly A’s: Group 1 — The bohemian
You are a true bohemian. You love wearing loose-flowing, romantic tops, skirts, and dresses. You tend toward looking casual, yet pretty. Most of your clothes can go from day to night. You look like you just walked off the beach, no matter what time it is, because you have a relaxed, easy vibe about you. Your color palette includes white, off-white, white, and more white, earth tones, brown, and some beachy colors like turquoise and coral.

Mostly B’s: Group 2 — The prep
You love to wear your polo shirts. You pair them with crisp pants or shorts, depending on the weather and the activity. You are likely to be seen in shorts at the country club during the day and pants at the evening barbeque.

The cable knit sweater is the cornerstone of your wardrobe. Your color palette is navy blue, kelly green, and pink — all paired with crisp white, if not one another. Your wardrobe is also filled with bold prints, such as plaid, madras, and argyle, for when you’re in the mood to be noticed. The prep look is totally “old school” yet multigenerational and current as well.

Mostly C’s: Group 3 — The surfer chic
If you answered “C” to all or almost all the questions, you are the quintessential surfer chic. Your number one priority is how big the waves are. You don’t care what’s going on in the real world. Your world is the beach.

You spend your mornings and evenings, and all day if possible, at the beach and out on the waves. Your outfit of choice is a bikini and rash guard, with sheepskin boots (of course). Your color palette is red, yellow, and blue — all paired with sand or off-white. The bright colors are reminiscent of all the beautiful foliage in Hawaii. Plus, they let other surfers know you’re coming when you catch the big wave!

Mostly D’s: Group 4 — The fashionista
If you answered “D” to all or almost all the questions, welcome to group 4. You’re the ultimate fashionista! You love the big city. You adore your uniform of all black with stiletto boots, stiletto pumps, or stiletto sandals.

You love to dress up, be in all the latest trends, and wear all designer names. You’re never a fashion victim, and even if you can’t afford the high-end designer labels, you look like you do. You know which pieces to spend your money on and how to make the whole look appear expensive. You never miss an issue of Vogue, Elle, or Harper’s Bazaar. Your color palette is black and more black, paired with the color of the moment, which is, of course, “the new black.”

Mostly E’s: Group 5 — The classic
You’re in group 5 if the letter E came up the most, which makes you a total classic. You have an easy way about dressing and are always put together and chic. You stick very close to the basics. You can buy your clothes at Gap or on Madison Avenue, or a combination — after all, a classic is a classic.

Your wardrobe consists of white button-down shirts, jeans and slacks, the perfect black blazer, the perfect little black dress, and a fabulous trench coat or two. You also have a drawer full of beautiful scarves and a closet full of gorgeous purses. Your color palette is denim, white, and black, with splashes of color here and there in the form of an accessory such as a scarf or purse. Clothing is basically neutral in color. The ultimate example of a classic is, of course, Jackie O.

Mostly F’s: Group 6 — The suburbanite
If you answered mostly F’s, you fit comfortably into group 6, the realm of the suburbanite. You have a casual lifestyle outside the big city. You spend most of your time taking care of everyone else, but you manage to squeeze in an exercise class, a trip to the gym, or a run outside when you can. Errands and shuttling the kids take up a huge portion of your time, so you need to be comfortable, yet still feel stylish. A cute, well-fitting sweat suit is your go-to outfit first thing in the morning, and it generally carries you through all the day’s activities. If an evening activity is on the agenda, a quick change to slacks or jeans and a sweater or nice T-shirt does the trick. Your color palette consists of darker colors like navy, gray, and black. These colors are flattering and slimming and don’t show stains or wear and tear from all your daily activity.

Help! I didn’t have “mostly” anything
If your answers didn’t indicate a definite tendency toward one look or another, it means that you don’t currently dress in any particular style but throw on something generic to fit the activity. If that’s the case, this is an area you can work on. The easiest way to do so is to answer the questions according to how you picture yourself and see your life, rather than what it currently may be.

You don’t want to have too many styles going on at the same time. Of course, as your social settings change or your mood shifts, you want to be able to adapt your style to fit your needs at the time. But while there’s no doubt that you’ll have to massage your style regularly to get it to fit your schedule, you also don’t want to abandon it on a regular basis. Rather than attempting to develop different styles for different occasions, work on finding ways to use your personal style as a common thread in any outfit you put together.

Excerpted from "Fashion for Dummies" by Jill Martin and Pierre A. Lehu. Content used with permissiom. "For Dummies" is a registered trademark of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and its affiliates.

© 2013 MSNBC Interactive.  Reprints


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