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The Cosmos as Fashion Guide


Want to excel at international trade? Wear gray.

Want to design a beautiful building? Wear red.

Want to win a lawsuit? Wear blue.

The ancient Chinese art of feng shui , used in architecture and interior design, applies to fashion too, specifically color, according to Berkeley author Lin Yun, whose new book tells how to dress for success, the Eastern way.

Careful adherence to the way of feng shui (pronounced FUNG shway), a mix of metaphysics, superstition, astrology and Chinese philosophy, can create optimum home and work environments. Good luck and wealth, practitioners believe, depends on such factors as the direction of a building, how an office is furnished, a street address.

Yun, a Buddhist, combined this cosmic code with other Eastern ingredients--from Taoist philosophy to Chinese poetry--to come up with a color theory.

The colors one wears, he contends, can influence one's ch'i , or life force, and thus enhance career success.

Here are tips from "Living Color: Master Lin Yun's Guide to Feng Shui and the Art of Color" (Kodansha International, $18).

Each color has several attributes:

* Health care workers helping the mentally ill needn't be confined to Nurse Ratchet-white. They need good luck, rationality and power, so they should wear red.

* Neither side in the O.J. case should wear black, which symbolizes hopelessness. Blue, for hope, might be more apt. Or try green. It's worn in the hope of extraordinary luck. A red tie, symbolizing success, is best.

* Going after the Pritzker Architecture Prize? Construct an outfit of lively colors, such as red, green or any cheerful mix, to stimulate design creativity.

* The color of paper money is good for bankers, and, when combined with red, promotes wealth. Blue will inspire clients' confidence. Stockbrokers go for green, too. It can help wearers pick fruitful stocks.

* Yun recommends something with life force for international traders, who should don gray or black (which can represent wealth) or black accented with green or blue.

* Real estate agents who want to talk their way into escrow should wear white. It promotes articulate speech. Slip into something pink to warm up recalcitrant clients.

* Hemingway, said to have sweat blood, should have worn nothing but black, which is calming for writers. Otherwise, multicolored or flowery duds can help writers and editors make sense of myriad facts and concepts.

* Interior decorators should look like art gallery walls. Wear white to avoid a fight with the new look you're trying to design.

* Actresses should take a tip from Marilyn and wear red, the color of fame.

* Looking for a job? Wear green or blue, the colors of growth and possibility.

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