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Published February 17, 2012, 11:30 PM

Tips to achieve million-dollar looks without going broke

Any sales pitch with “millionaire” or dollar signs in the title arouses suspicion these days. But Vicky Oliver quickly dispels it as she elaborates on themes from her new book “The Millionaire’s Handbook: How to Look and Act Like a Millionaire, Even If You’re Not” (Skyhorse Publishing, $12.95).

By: Wendy Donahue, Chicago Tribune, INFORUM

Any sales pitch with “millionaire” or dollar signs in the title arouses suspicion these days. But Vicky Oliver quickly dispels it as she elaborates on themes from her new book “The Millionaire’s Handbook: How to Look and Act Like a Millionaire, Even If You’re Not” (Skyhorse Publishing, $12.95).

Oliver, who has written books on career development, including “301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions,” doesn’t dwell on whether Gucci beats Fendi. She focuses on branding you (with apologies for what might sound like another cheesy cliche).

“A lot of my book is about paring down,” Oliver said. As in ...

<•> Follow the one-third rule. Oliver suggested this math for a wealth-building wardrobe: “Spend three times as much money (as you have been) on one-third as many items,” she said. That means breaking your streak of $100 pants purchases, and instead saving up for one pair of black wool pants from, say, Armani, that you then will wear everywhere with everything. “Cull a collection that has quality,” she said. That means resisting impulse purchases, skipping trendy pieces and avoiding outlet malls. A uniform has virtues. For one, instead of primping endlessly for an event, you can prep for it by reading the news or a reference gem she recommends, “The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know,” so that you’re ready to contribute to conversations. Another rule of three that Oliver prescribed: For business, a woman’s heel should never stretch higher than 3 inches. As for handbags, toss 90 percent of what’s in it and transfer the rest to a bag that’s less than 8 inches wide.

<•> Twitter yourself glamorous. “If you love a store or designer, join Twitter and find and follow them,” Oliver said. “You’ll receive notices about sales and discounts first.” If you admire a certain celebrity’s style, follow him or her on Twitter. “Many will provide fans with a steady stream of insider tips on everything from dressing elegantly to skin, hair and makeup pointers.” Oliver also likes Foursquare, a phone app that has a rewards program. “If you go to the same place all the time, like a bar, you earn the badge of mayor for going there. And you may earn mayor specials. But ask the bartender at said bar to mix your drinks “light,” she advises. Alcohol dehydrates skin, accentuating blood vessels, and of course adds calories.

<•> Go on a “no-diet” diet. “There are so many ways, especially if you’re female, to cheat and look like you’ve lost a few pounds,” she said. “If you wear heels, every inch sort of subtracts 4 pounds. Brush a little contour on your cheeks; it will visually take away 2 pounds. There are Bumpits for your hair (bighappiehair.com) that will lift your hair slightly and subtract 3 pounds like that.” She also believes in control-top pantyhose, skirts that sit higher than the natural waist and wearing black or dressing monochromatically. “Results from most actual diets last a few months,” she said. “Results from dressing thin last a lifetime.”

<•> Sleep. “So many times, we’re frantic and we’re all susceptible to working 24/7 because, with all of our gadgets, we can,” Oliver said. “But try to figure out your ideal sleep quotient. Everybody sort of has a magic number. Some need 10 hours and some need less than eight. Keep a sleep diary, and note when you feel best.” Then try to get that amount of sleep every night, for radiant skin and a sharp mind.

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