Civility: Appearance and communication

Part one: ABCs of Civility

Commitments to civility will help to create more kindness, consideration, respect and a better world in which to live. Appearance, behavior and communication are the ABCs of civility, which are the guidelines for ultimate relationship skills. I will share a summary of some of these resolutions for you.

Appearance: Consideration in image or appearance relates to cleanliness, appropriateness and respect for self and for others. I have always felt that real outward beauty is an externalization of inner harmony. How we look, think, act, feel and behave is reflective of who we are. Our outer appearance can also reflect our inner beauty. With an understanding of fashion trends, avoid being a fashion mannequin on which the clothing dominates the person. Educate yourself by considering your own coloring, bone structure and personality in making clothing choices.

Colors: Everyone can wear every color, but different tones and shades of colors. Choose your basic neutral color from your natural hair color. This can be worn in shoe, slacks, skirts, jackets and coats. All of the shades, tones, and colors in your eyes are your unique rapport-building colors. Never wear a white whiter than your teeth or your teeth will appear to be dull. Scarves or ties are the coordinating factor in clothing choices. For example, a man's tie with dark brown, light gold and camel could easily be a factor in slacks, shirt and jacket choices. If someone comments on your clothing, it means that the clothing dominates and doesn't support.

Makeup: Lipstick should be as dark/light, warm/cool, clear/muted as your eyes. The eyes are the center of communication. If the lipstick is brighter or lighter than the eyes, the lips will dominate. The bare look is more complimentary on women younger than 30. Over 30, wearing no makeup or wearing "nude" shades causes a woman to look older. Coloring the hair to cover gray tones will work if it is close to the natural hair color.

Styles: Clothing should support one's unique body structure, clothing personality and coloring. If one has long legs in relation to the torso, often a longer jacket or sweater will be complementary and will create balance. One color tone with jacket and pants/skirts can often create more visual height on a petite person under 5-feet-4-inches tall. There nothing wrong with your body, but there may need to be changes in clothing choices.

Next week: A summary of etiquette behavior resolutions.

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

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