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Image Making
by Victoria Seitz, Ph.D., LamasBeauty Contributor

Let Color Work for You

*A monthly column devoted to helping women and men be their best and most confident in any situation.

Topics include dress, body language, attitude and etiquette.

Victoria Seitz, PhD
Image Expert

Are you feeling blue or are you feeling green with envy? Color is probably the most important element in the design of any product, service, institution and your image. Color choice reveals personality, marks important events and distinguishes one entity from another.

In shopping for apparel is it often the first thing that catches our attention. So how can we use color to enhance our image.

Here are some tips so that you can wear color to your advantage.

1. If you are timid or shy, wear red or strong colors and others will perceive you as more assertive while you are still being you.
2. When considering color for business, conservative is best - especially when meeting a new client - don't overwhelm them.
3. Avoid white except in shirts and blouses for work. Save the white stuff for your time, particularly white shoes.
4. If you want to wear fashion brights, wear them in small doses.
5. Choose muted pastels as opposed to pinks, baby blues and yellow in business apparel and as a part of your ensemble rather than the whole outfit.
6. Black is best for formal attire as in suits and for evening events. We can't say enough about the little black cocktail dress for women or the black suit or blazer for men.
7. Navy makes everyone look good and communicates individual authority. It's great for classic suiting as well as sportswear. The nautical look has always and will continue to been in fashion.
8. Beige and gray elicit a tailored and professional image and says "I'm one of you." These are great colors to incorporate into your outfit with prospective clients because you're perceived as approachable.
9. Red, green and blue in assorted tints and shades are suitable for all occasions; however, straight green is not appropriate for the work place. Try olive, teal, forest/hunter, or sage.
10. If you love yellow, try shades or tints of it such as gold and mustard.
11. If you want to appear smaller incorporate dark, cool and dull colors and textures. Dull textures absorb the light like wool or cotton. Some very slimming colors include black, navy, olive, violet, charcoal gray, chocolate brown, plum, eggplant and burgundy.
12. If you want an area to appear larger choose light, bright and/or shiny colors and textures. Shiny fabrics reflect light making an image appear larger.
13. If you want to appear taller, wear colors from the same color family such as blue, navy and teal. Otherwise known as a monochromatic color scheme, color is wavelength and when wearing two different colors, the eye has to stop briefly to adjust to the different wavelength. When wearing colors from the same color family the eye doesn't have to adjust.
14. Find out what colors look best on you. If you happen to have an olive complexion, as do most people, pure hues such as red, navy, blue, purple and white look best on you. If you have a peachy complexion consider camel, periwinkle, yellow, peach, olives and navy as some of your choices. What matters most is the color next to your skin around your face so for men, your shirt is a big factor. For women, they can wear a blouse that doesn't complement their complexion but mask it with a scarf around the neck.
15. Finally, when it comes to color, wear the color that makes YOU feel good (yes, when you are feeling blue - wear blue) and ones you receive complements on. It may not be the best one for your complexion but it is the best one for YOU.

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Read the next Image Making: Men: Dealing With Those Figure Flaws

Victoria Seitz, PhD is a professor of Marketing at California State University, San Bernardino and is author of Your Executive Image, AdamsMedia, Inc, 2000 and Power Dressing, DonJon Publishing, 1991. In addition to teaching, Dr. Seitz was a fashion coordinator for Burdines, Florida and in retail management for Saks Fifth Avenue, Phoenix, AZ. Clients of Dr. Seitz have included Abbott Laboratories, Northern Telecom, Texas Instruments, Yellow Freight Systems, Sally Beauty Company, the United States Armed Forces, Travellife magazine, YWCA and Accountants Overload, in addition to law firms, hotels, newspapers, universities, banks, credit unions, national and local community and professional organizations nationwide.

To learn more about Dr. Seitz please visit her website at www.cbpa.csusb.edu/vseitz.

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