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Our New Year is only two days away, so there’s still time to add one more resolution to your list.  This one will get you treated like a VIP, open doors, and warrant deferential treatment wherever you go.  The resolution is to improve your image.  People form strong opinions quickly, so looking polished, professional and worldly is important for everyone.  

Here are seven secrets to improve your image this year:  

Secret #1: Choose Winning Colors:
•The darker the color, the higher the authority. Pastels decrease authority immensely.
•Earthy (grunge) colors look drab and are too casual. This includes most shades of beige, brown, camel, moss green and dark olive green. Brown easily looks matronly on women.
•Think classy, not flashy.  Bright food colors such as orange and lime green are flashy, while rich colors like racing green and magenta are classy.  

Secret #2: Choose Suits that Suggest Power:
•Men: Wear dark suits. Dark colors are more authoritative. They are also more slimming, and "fit-looking" people are often judged to be more dynamic and successful. Buy the best quality gabardine suit you can afford. If your budget is modest, a navy blue suit will look more expensive than its brown, grey or black counterpart. Caution: with black suits, the wrong shirt and tie can make it look (1) severe, (2) reserved or (3) too slick. Beige suits are fine in the summer, but they must be worn with power ties. Never belt trousers below the natural waistline. It is not classy and actually accentuates a protruding stomach.
•Women: Wear high-fashion suit jackets or suits in dark colors or deep jewel tones. Avoid collegiate looks: blazer jackets, turtlenecks, long chains with pendants, and pearls.  Black needs bold accessories and lipstick (pinks, soft reds) to prevent a severe look.  Wear skirts at knee length. Mid-calf skirts look matronly, and ankle-length skirts look severe.  

Secret #3:  For Men—Wear Classy Shirts and Ties:
•The most important rule of all: The tie must dominate (by color, not gaudy pattern). Red, burgundy, yellow and indigo look dynamic. Avoid red and yellow together; it suggests food, not business. Avoid matching shirts and ties.
•Good tie patterns: stripes, discreet polka dots, small repeating patterns (club or Ivy League).
•Shirts: Well-cut, white cotton shirts are the most powerful.  

Secret #4:  For Women—Wear Bold Accessories:
•Bold accessories give a look of power, success and worldliness. Wear belts with skirts and pants.
•Earrings are a must. Good example: chunky hoops. Avoid thin ones as they are associated with gypsies and teenagers. Flat clip earrings look conservative and stern.
•Bold, chunky necklaces and pins are also good power accessories. Single-strand pearls and scarves are for "ladies lunch."

Secret #5:  For Women—Wear Professional Makeup
•Numerous recent studies confirm that women are judged to be more successful, powerful and capable with good makeup.  Subtle pink foundations and blushers look less "made up" than yellow-toned ones. Avoid: blue eye shadow, brown-toned lipstick (power looks entail bolder lipsticks.)  

Secret #6: Keep it Simple with Shoes
•Keep shoes simple and unobtrusive.  Feet should not be noticed.

Secret #7: Develop good posture
•Develop good posture.  It is worth a million dollars in terms of image.  Stand up straight, take a deep breath and get a "proud chest." Maintain that posture, but let the shoulders relax a little when exhaling.  This guarantees a self assured and successful image.



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