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'Feng Shui Chic'

The Early Show: model in suit and yellow scarf
CBS/The Early Show
Many of us make New Year's resolutions in hopes of making our lives better. According to Feng Shui master Carole Swann Meltzer, instead of making resolutions, changing the way you dress can help make positive changes in your life.

Meltzer is the author of a new book titled, "Feng Shui Chic," described a spiritual tool for understanding, changing, and directing our energy in order to achieve what we want in life – while still looking stylish. Dressing to attract what we want in life in the nine life zones: career, love, creativity, strategy, knowledge, health, power, fame and nature is one of the main points in her book.

So, what is Feng Shui? According to Swann Meltzer, Feng Shui is the ancient Asian philosophy that combines medicine with aesthetics to create harmony and balance in your life. It is believed that the proper use of color and fabrics can enhance your physical health and appearance as well as achieve the best flow of energy. More than just static energy theory, feng shui is an art that changes with the seasons, goals and everyday situations, enhancing you to become positive living energy.

Feng Shui is generally associated with home and workspace, but Swann Meltzer believes that it really needs to start with you personally, which is why she wrote this book. The idea of incorporating Feng Shui with personal style has been around China for centuries. It is more than a fashion statement; Feng Shui represents power and originally was a guarded secret signifying energy for empowerment. The ancients also used it to signify the alignment of class, season, and energy flow.

Swann Meltzer says your clothing is your armor or outer protection. It can help lure or deflect energy flow by the use of color or silhouette. Notice that how you dress is connected to your self-image as well as people's perceptions of you.

Here are examples of colors and what they are associated with:

  • A blue-pin-striped suit to increase your knowledge zone.
  • Wear a blue top if you want to focus on eating well and exercising. Blue is good for nurturing, but avoid wearing an all-blue outfit.
  • Orange will increase your energy in the creative zone. Wear it with silver jewelry for additional boost and white to impart lust for life.
  • Black pants with a pink top will help you promote good energy on your career path. Pink is the perfect fusion of the fire and water elements. Normally black would be bad for this zone, but its bad energy is reduced with the pink top. For this zone, avoid vertical stripes – they cause a lack of direction and focus. And don't wear too much red. It causes anxiety.
  • Yellow is great for clarity and intellect – if you would like to be more positive in your strategy zone, this is a great color. The strategy zone has the least color options because according to Swann Meltzer you are supposed to pare down to the basics, without a great basic foundation you can't make too many choices according to her. Just don't wear all white - it causes a lack of focus.

Feng Shui Don'ts:

Avoid jagged edges on pants or skirt - they destroy your personal harmony and your body's chi. Avoid the color white, it destroys health and harmony and if you need to make a decision stay away from black. Black is considered a power drainer, an energy burden of sorts. You can wear black, but make sure you wear power colors in your zone to reduce the weaknesses of the black color and instead enhance the power colors for your zone.



About Carole Swann Meltzer:
Carole Swann Meltzer has been a contributing editor and monthly columnist at Feng Shui for Modern Living magazine. She is also a lifestyle coach. Swann Meltzer is recognized as one of the leading Feng Shui practitioners in the United States. She studied in Hong Kong for 25 years before becoming the first Western woman to earn the title Feng Shui Master.

Here is an excerpt from "Feng Shui Chic":

Chapter One

What Is Feng Shui Chic?

Feng Shui Chic. As I Iook at these three words ,I can't help but smile. After all, the very word chic implies all that is trendy and new. And while I am the biggest devotee of feng shui anywhere, it's hard to think of this ancient practice as trendy or chic!

Yet that, my friends, is exactly what this book is about: Feng Shui Chic. This is because what we wear, how we dress, our makeup, and even the scent we wear influences our energy, and thus whole aspects of our lives. It's about looking and feeling your absolute finest through the principles of feng shui — not sometimes, not once in a while, but for every day of your life.

The Practice of Feng Shui Chic

About ten years ago, after moving back to the States following many years in Asia, I began to incorporate Feng Shui Chic into the traditional feng shui I was performing — and the results of this combination were fruitful indeed. I believed I had touched upon a winning synthesis of personal and spatial feng shui.

Feng Shui Chic is based on the study and practice of Chinese aesthetic medicine. Used for centuries, this practice combines medicine with aesthetics.

Why? Because in Asia, psychological and physical health are seen as one and the same, not as two distinct, unrelated forces. In fact, beauty — seen as somewhat superficial to Western minds — is a function of body alignment. And if you know just a bit about Chinese medicine and body meridians, you know that body alignment is seen as a form of preventive medicine — the first step to beauty inside and out.

A large part of this book is about achieving wellness through internal, as well as external, health. By balancing energy, we balance our internal organs in conjunction with spatial alignment.

While pondering the various uses of feng shui, it struck me in modern society, we feng shui our houses, our offices, our apartments. But, unlike many people in Eastern cultures, we don't feng shui ourselves.

Feng shui, after all, isn't merely about moving a piece of furniture. If it were, we'd all be as rich as Anna Nicole Smith, as skinny as Courteney Cox Arquette, and as professionally successful as Carly Fiorentina, the head of Hewlett-Packard.

Sometimes, the best ideas are those that are staring you in the face. Why hadn't I, a fashionista from the word go, thought about this earlier?

And then I wondered: How come

  • a chic scarf can look so Audrey Hepburn-like in some circumstances, and so pretentious and showy in others?
  • a form-fitting skirt can set the world on fire in some settings and just look slutty on other occasions?
  • a boxy suit can invest you with authority in key situations, and do nothing for you at other times?

And thus the notion of Feng Shui Chic was born.

And coming to this conclusion about the missing adoption of personal feng shui for American audiences, I began working with friends, family and private clients. Today, after years of modification and change, I can say with certitude that using this system — the steps of Feng Shui Chic — will let you have the power and passion you so richly deserve in all aspects of life.

The foregoing is excerpted from "Feng Shui Chic" by Carole Swann Meltzer. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from Simon & Schuster Inc.