Civility: A polished look for women

Part Two: We're continuing this week with ideas on how to achieve a polished appearance.

Shoes: Should be darker than the hemline and should be of good quality leather. Heel should be of medium height, particularly for comfort. Pumps are good. Nylons should be keyed to shoe color or a skin tone. Your natural hair color is a good basic shoe color, handbag and coat color.

Best neutral colors for skirts, shoes, suits and jackets: Neutrals are worn as background colors and are worn best in prints, mixed with two or more neutrals together. These colors are darker and more passive in nature and need brighter colors that add energy. Black or grey (for those with black or gray hair), beige and camel (blonde hair), dark navy, green, and burgundy are neutrals. Neutrals are the best wardrobe coordinator and good for travel capsules.

Jewelry: Should never dominate, and should be tasteful, simple and supportive in color and style. For example, a petite woman with dainty facial features should avoid wearing large earrings that will be dominant.

Professional color and style analysis: An individualized color and style analysis is a practical system that saves time, money, and helps to implement a wardrobe plan. It is an education on coordination of colors, styles, textures, design lines, body structure and personality expression. The prepackaged color profiles of the '80s and '90s now need to be updated.

As one matures, the coloring in the eyes, skin, and hair soften, and more often than not, there needs to be a change in the colors that will work. Anyone can wear any colors, but shades, tints and tones of the color vary from person to person. No two people should ever have the same color palette.

A color profile can diminish age lines in the face to appear younger, eyes will appear shinier, teeth whiter and skin healthier. A professional profile is a "tool of independence" separate from friends, parental influence and fashion whims; a formula for coordination of make-up colors and clothes with personal coloring; adds flexibility to wardrobe because of an increase in color combination potentials; and provides vital information on accessory coordination and personal expression. A small initial investment gives a lifetime of benefits.

Business and social etiquette/entertaining/communication skills: There are many advantages to having knowledge of what to do in business and in life. Etiquette and communication skills give an education in business negotiations in the social world; sharpen personal skills that helps one to be in control of business skills and social situations; improve corporate image; increase customer goodwill. Development of poise and confidence for business socializing is key and boosts customer confidence that lowers price resistance.

Promotion of self-esteem; healthier professional and personal relationships; an "extra edge" that reaps financial benefits to the "bottom line" and a lifetime investment in which the returns can be rewarding, both financially, and personally.

DIANA OLSON, MA AICI CIP, is an image stylist/etiquette and civility specialist. Reach her at or (626) 584-9761.

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