The default colors for ls are very hard to see in PuTTY, so I like to turn the coloring off. It does not actually help me get work done, so disabling beats customizing.
Coming from Ubuntu, dircolors is the way I knew how to customize the colors of ls, and the forcecolorprompt variable in .bashrc was the way to disable it to begin with. Now I'm on a system that uses busybox, where that does not work. The solution is to override ls with an alias in .profile:
alias ls='ls --color=never' alias dir='ls -la'
I'm an old fogie from the days of DOS, and "dir" is hard-coded into my fingers, what can I say.