Articles by Annette Loertscher

What is a Closet Cleanse?

Closet Before

As closets go, this client’s closet was neat but, unorganized.

When a client asks me to assist them in a closet makeover the first step is I make an appointment to travel to their home. We proceed by my providing them with their personal color analysis. Then we go through their closet(s) and dresser drawers section by section, drawer by drawer…eliminating accessory items and garments that are outdated, have holes, stains, don’t fit or haven’t been worn in a year or more.

Closet After

This is after the edit…prior to categorizing.

We send the unwanted items that are not stained or have holes to either a consignment shop or to a charity like Goodwill or the Salvation Army or  where they can utilize those particular items. And you get a tax deduction!

We make a list of the things we need to “fill in the blanks”…the next step is we go on our first shopping expedition.

If your closet needs help please don’t hesitate to call me for a face-to-face 30-minute complimentary consultation.

Donation Pile

This was the give away stack.

Why not give a closet cleanse as a gift ? (Especially for someone who’s got everything!)

Contact me to schedule your closet cleanse!

Annette L. Loertscher

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Sensitivity to Rejection Based on Appearance Bad for Mental, Physical Health…

Fashion transformationsThree new studies by a University at Buffalo psychologist offer the first known evidence that some people anxiously expect that they will be rejected of others because of their physical appearance, and that this sensitivity, if not mitigated, has serious implications for their mental and physical health.

“Appearance-based Rejection Sensitivity: Implications for Mental and Physical Health, Affect, and Motivation” by Lora Park, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, UB College of Arts and Sciences, reports on three of Park’s studies is currently in press for publication in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Park, who directs the Self and Motivation Research Laboratory at UB, describes appearance-based rejection sensitivity as a personality-processing system characterized by anxious concerns and expectations about being rejected based on one’s physical attractiveness.

Her research shows that when motivation for looking attractive is rooted in anxieties about being rejected by others, the consequences can be deleterious to health and well-being.  It also suggests that there may be ways to mitigate these negative effects, by having people think of their strengths or their close relationships with others.

In the first study, Park developed and validated an appearance-based rejection sensitivity scale (ARS scale) with 242 college students, to measure the extent to which people anxiously expected rejection from others based on their physical attractiveness.  She found that those who scored high in appearance-based rejection sensitivity were likely to have low self-esteem, high levels of neuroticism, insecure attachment styles, to base their self-worth on their appearance and to rate themselves as physically unattractive.

The study also showed that people who are highly sensitive to appearance-based rejection reported increased symptoms of disordered eating.

“Both men and women who reported being sensitive to appearance-based rejection were preoccupied with their body and weight in unhealthy ways.  They avoided eating when they were hungry, exercised compulsively and engaged in binging and purging,” says Park.

People with high appearance-based rejection sensitivity were also more likely than people low in appearance-based rejection sensitivity to compare their physical attractiveness with others and to feel bad about themselves when making such comparisons.  These results were found regardless of the subjects’ levels of self-esteem, attachment style, general sensitivity to rejection, neuroticism, self-rated level of attractiveness and the degree to which they based self-worth on appearance.

Interestingly, Park found that both appearance-based rejection sensitivity and basing self-worth on appearance independently predicted eating disorder symptoms and the tendency to make appearance-based comparisons.

“These findings suggest different pathways through which people may develop and maintain behaviors such as excessive dieting, compulsive exercising, binging and purging, and comparing one’s attractiveness with others” Park says.  “Some people engage in such behaviors because they are ultimately worried about being rejected by others if they don’t measure up to looking a certain way,” says Park.

“For others,” she says, “the underlying motivation for such behaviors may be less about interpersonal anxieties and more about maintaining and enhancing personal self-esteem.”

In the second study, Park found that people with high levels of appearance-based rejection sensitivity reported feeling more alone and rejected when asked to list negative aspects of their appearance than when asked to think of a neutral topic (listing objects they saw in a room).  On the other hand, subjects with low levels of appearance-based rejection sensitivity were not negatively affected when listing aspects of their appearance with which they were dissatisfied.

“Simply having people list what they didn’t like about their appearance, whether it was their weight, their height, having acne or some other facial or body feature, was sufficient for people high in appearance-based rejection sensitivity to feel lonely, rejected, unwanted and isolated,” says Park.

If appearance-based rejection leads to negative outcomes, are there ways to attenuate these effects?  Park conducted a third study to examine this possibility.

In the third study, all participants first were asked to write an essay about a negative aspect of their appearance.  Next, they were randomly assigned to one of three intervention conditions: a Self-Affirmation Condition, in which they listed their greatest personal strength; a Secure Attachment Condition, in which they listed the initials of a close, caring relationship or partner; or a Neutral Condition, in which they listed objects in a room.

Results showed that those who were sensitive to appearance-based rejection experienced lower self-esteem and more negative mood, but only when asked to think of an object in the room.

“Being reminded of an object in the room did nothing to improve people’s self-esteem or mood following the appearance threat,” Park says.

“However, a reminder of one’s strengths or close relationships was enough to reduce the damaging effects of thinking about negative aspects of one’s appearance,” explains Park.

“These findings,” she says, “emphasize the power of self-affirmation and of having close relationships in helping people cope with insecurities regarding their appearance.”

Park’s current lab research examines how threats to people’s sense of physical attractiveness, a domain with relevance for both self-esteem and belongingness concerns, affects their self-feelings and motivations.  Her studies also examine how the desire to satisfy self-esteem versus belongingness concerns affect symptoms of depression, disordered eating and relationship outcomes.

Park is the co-author of “Contingencies of self-worth and self-validation goals: Implications for close relationships,” published in “Self and Relationships: Connecting Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Processes”by In K. D. Vohs and E.J. Finkel (Eds.), 84-103, New York, and “Seeking self-esteem: Construction, maintenance and protection of self-worth,” In M. Leary and J. Tangney (Eds.), “Handbook of Self and Identity”

Styling for Publications/Luxury and Lifestyle

Tips For First Impressions…

They say it takes less than seven seconds for someone to evaluate you when they first meet you.  This may seem unfair especially if you are having a bad hair day and your washing machine has broken down.  The truth is, however, we give away many facts about ourselves with our clothes, hair, and yes, even our weight.

Let’s say you’re hiring, and someone shows up for a job interview: they have ten facial piercings, a tattoo of a snake eating a heart, a Mohawk, and fishnet stockings.  Would you employ them?  They could be supremely well qualified, the best salesman in the world, and a complete asset to your business but they would have a hard job to persuade you.

Equally, consider someone with a sharply pressed suit, a perm with no hair out of place, a French manicure, an iPhone stuck permanently to their ear and a Blackberry always at their fingertips.  Would you want to spend a pleasant evening with them?  Perhaps not.

Luckily, our appearances are under our control.  We can cover tattoos, change out of our suits, and use makeup to shock or to minimize.  We can appear laid back for a social occasion, attractive and flirty for a date, professional and organized for a job interview.

Here are ways you can ensure that your appearance helps people judge you in the best light:

1. Dress Appropriately

Fishnet stockings and F-You t-shirts work great at a club or spending a night on the tiles.  In a board meeting, however, a suit or “casual smart” outfit will stand you in a better stead.

You should be able to judge the occasion and make a choice accordingly.

This doesn’t mean you need to look like a complete clone; a splash of individuality can help people remember you.  A piece of jewelry or colorful shirt can help add a touch of spice to an otherwise dull outfit.  Just remember: less is usually more.

2.  Stay Clean

Basic hygiene is clearly important.  Greasy, lank hair and B.O. says nothing good about you.  Unless you’re a journalist going undercover somewhere squiffy, you should always wash every day, brush your teeth, and apply deodorant (or herbal equivalent).

Some things vary from country to country- in the U.S., for example, body hair on women is frowned on- more so than in continental Europe.

3. Check Your Teeth

Food between the teeth, unzipped flies- it’s not the end of the world, but it can shatter a carefully cultivated poise.  Check your teeth in a mirror after meals and before leaving the house.

4.  Be on Time

The concept of being “fashionably late” is over.  It makes you look disorganized or careless.  If you say you will attend something, be there or call if you can’t make it.

5. Smile

A big smile and a friendly attitude makes you more approachable than anything else.  Even on the phone, a smile can make you sound more open and friendly.  Look someone in the face when you are talking to them, and don’t cross your arms or stare at your feet.  Shyness can oftencome across as surliness or coldness.

6.  Ask Questions

Nothing kills a relationship quicker than the uncomfortable silence.  Be it a business meeting, a date, or an outing with your future in-laws, silence should be avoided.

Luckily it is easy to jump-start a conversation.  Just ask questions.  People love someone who is interested in them, and love talking about their kids, their vacations and their plans.

If you discover a common interest, even better.

You don’t have to look like a model or spend a fortune on clothes and accessories to make good impression.  Some well-cut second hand clothes from a thrift store or charity shop, a big smile, and staying clean is all you really need to make a good first impression, and let people have a chance to get to know you properly.

Best/Worst Areas to get a Tattoo

Best/Worst Areas to get a TattooI want to get a tattoo – where should I put it?

Here are some things to think about before you get inked.

Anything that shows on your neck, head or face is going to make it difficult for you to get a decent job.

The shoulder and upper arm are good places as shirt sleeves usually cover it. The forearm shows too much as do the hands.

Don’t get a tattoo if you’ve been drinking or under the influence of anything or anyone.

Keep in mind that tattoos are difficult and painful to remove.

Personalities judged by appearance alone in study

They say never to judge a book by its cover. But some aspects of a stranger’s personality can apparently be gleaned from a photo, if a new study is to be believed.

Participants in the research were found to be able to accurately judge a stranger’s self-esteem, extroversion and religiosity, from photographs alone.

The research appears in the current issue of Personality and Social psychology Bulletin. Scientists asked participants to assess the personalities of strangers based first on a photo posed to the researchers’ specifications and then on a photo posed the way the subject choose