Q: I was wondering...is there a correct direction to start a belt around your waist?  To the left..or to the right? 
And, is it different for men/little boys?

A: What a great question! It was fun researching as well, since it's one of those questions where you're pretty sure you know the answer and then you think... wait, do I really? Have I ever really thought about it?  You can't rely on simply looking at a picture in a magazine, because photos can be flipped depending on how they want the layout to look.  So here's the scoop on how that belt should wrap.
  1. There is no difference for men vs boy belts.  There is a difference for women, we belt the opposite of the men.
  2. Standard operating procedure - men hold the buckle in the left hand when putting on the beltWomen hold the buckle in the right hand.
  3. There is probably no other organization that is a bigger stickler for rules and regulations than the Armed Forces and their take on it is: the tipped end should point to the left for men, to the right for women.
  4. Left-handed folks often reverse this rule UNLESS there is horizontal printing on the belt that would end up being upside down.
An interesting little anecdote I found: apparently there is an old sailor tradition of removing one's belt and reversing it as you cross the equator. Something to do with putting your belt on in the direction of the earth's rotation.  I couldn't find all the details about it, since there is many a tradition associated with sailors crossing the equator. Anybody out there know for sure?

I hope this was useful.  Before we end, a few other belt tips. 
  • You should buy belts that fit perfectly on the second or third hole, not the tightest hole! You'll have way too much tail sticking out after buckling it. 
  • Women have a lot more leeway where fashion is concerned but men's belts should ALWAYS match their shoes. 
  • If it's starting to get a little worn, you can polish a leather belt just like you would leather shoes.  Just make sure it's nice and dry before putting it on or you'll stain your clothes.
Enjoy a few Modest Moments from some good looking couples!
I naturally had to put Colin Firth and his wife first - I married Mr. Darcy!! 
Her neckline is a titch low but they look fantastic as a couple.
Christina Hendricks (in Carolina Herrera) and husband Geoffrey Arend
David and Courtney Arquette (LOVE her dress!)
Naomi Watts & Liev Schreiber
Day 5 of the SITS Back To Blogging week asks the question, "Why do you blog?" 
For me, it started as a way to pursue a passion of mine as well as preserve my sanity!
The idea of this site had been percolating in my brain for a long time.  But marriage and starting a family moved it to the back burner.  Then, January of 2009, I had twins. And my oldest was only 17 months old! (Yes, finding out we were pregnant with not just kid #2 that we had planned but also #3 was quite a shock!)  The exhaustion was unbelievable, they were born in the winter, so we were pretty much quarantined to the house, and I found myself sitting almost all day, what with all the feedings and snugglings. 
My computer was on a corner of the dining table and even holding a baby it was easy to click around, which I enjoyed much more than watching TV.  My husband suggested I use the time to get my site up and running.  I was afraid I was too tired to dedicate any brain power to it, but I was wrong.  Researching how and what to do was energizing.  Within a few days I had a HUGE list of ideas for blog posts and different sections.  Seeing the site come to life helped me forget that I hadn't showered in a few days.  And creating the blog posts let me enjoy the fashion world again vicariously.  I may have been scrounging it in newborn-friendly clothes, but I could escape into the blog and feel pretty again.  It was something fun when I really needed it.   

And as for why THIS particular topic for a blog?  Because bad fashion happens way too much and when you look better, you feel better!  And heaven knows we can all feel better.
It has to do with my first post
A lot to do with quotable style
And also with Whatever Happened to "Sunday Best?"

Even if most days were like this...


I knew I'd feel more like this...


If I incorporated a little more of this! 

Style that is!
Items from my pre-mom wardrobe!
The joy of great fashion!

Are you a blogger?  If so, what and why do you blog?  I'd be interested to hear!

Don't forget, those of us participating in the Back To Blogging extravaganza are up for a fabulous prize from the sponsors, Standards of Excellence, Westar Kitchen and Bath, and Florida Builder Appliances
click to check out the article!
Be still, my heart!  That's SO worth a ticket across the pond!!
Our next SITS Back To Blogging assignment is to write about a woman who inspires us.
Well that's easy!  Hi Mom. 
I love my Mom.  She's great.  She raised 5 kids.  Another way to say that is, "She raised me and 4 reruns."  (Yep, I'm the oldest.) Raising kids is definitely a battle and she fought her war proudly and bravely. Especially during the years when my father was in medical school and not home much. 
She's a fun grandma who loves her granddaughters! Someday one of her kids might throw a grandson into the mix but right now... it's a chick fest.  And we love it!
She's a great wife and taught me a lot about how to be your husband's best cheerleader.
She loves to read and travel, a passion of my father's as well and they certainly instilled that in all their children.  A grand love of experiencing and learning, whether in the imagination through a good book or by seeing it in person. We're passing the torch to the next generation.
She taught me to play the piano and survived all my sassing.  "Yes it IS the right note! Yes I DID play it right!"  I'm the only one who stuck with it and learned and I'm so grateful I did and have kids of my own to teach.  Thanks, mom! (The piano is mine!)
She cried when I finally cut off all my long hair as a kid.
Like any mom, she can frustrate her daughter.  She doesn't follow every piece of my style advice and she's nice to people I don't think deserve it.  And she can be far too friendly! I believe the produce guy at her grocery store knew before most of my friends that I was pregnant with her first grandchild.
She makes the best bread, rolls, and pies. Heavenly!
She's a certified rosarian and has been known to take her shears when going on a walk and "help the neighbors out" by pruning a little as she goes.  Neighbors she doesn't KNOW, mind you!
She's tirelessly encouraging, even when we infuriate her. 
Now that we're all grown, she's kind of stuck just watching how we turned out, praying for us, and hoping she taught us well. 
You did, Mom.  You did.
Since I'm not prone to splashing photos of my family on my blog, here is a picture of a portion of my mom's lovely rose garden!

Don't forget, those of us participating in the Back To Blogging extravaganza are up for a fabulous prize from the sponsors, Standards of Excellence, Westar Kitchen and Bath, and Florida Builder Appliances
Check them out!
The Back To Blogging assignment for Wednesday is to "highlight a post with a title we are particularly proud of." This was a hard task, because I am not a genius Blog Post Title-er. I'm more straightforward. But there have been some fun ones, such as this one from my Bra Education Series. Enjoy! 
Ra ra ra! Sis boom BRA!
Bosom Week has arrived! 
I've been looking forward to this series of posts for a while and am anxious to exchange information on a feminine issue we all face. 

Like many women before me, I embarked upon a quest to find the perfect bra. 
Not that there is only one perfect bra manufactured out there somewhere, but the perfect bra for me.  I am still on that quest and I want to share with you what I've discovered so far.  Like me, you will probably already know some of this, but hopefully you'll learn something new.

Today, we're going to examine the reasons WHY women need a good bra, and part of what that entails.
  • ALL women need support and shaping, no matter how large or small your breasts.  Even the tiniest of breasts can flop, giving up on its job of enhancing your feminine figure.  Don't make the mistake of thinking boobless can equal braless.  The picture below illustrates what happens when a bra doesn't do a proper job of supporting and shaping.
That's not a happy breast on that left side.  Down and out is not a good description on any terms. 
 - Proper support helps preserve breast fullness and firmness while preventing back pain and poor posture. 
 - Proper shaping helps more than just the look of the breast.  As you can see on the "before" side, the breast has sagged low on the ribcage - encroaching on the smallest part of the woman's body.  Any woman will look better if she can keep the area from the bottom of her breasts to her waist as long and lean as possible.  This is a crucial style tip!  The only difference in the two halves of the above picture is an ill-fitting bra vs a well-fitting bra.  She looks 20 lbs thinner and significantly taller in the "after" half. 
In the next post in this series we'll go in-depth into how a bra should fit to properly shape and support your bosom buddies.

  • A good bra saves money.  Make no mistake, well-made bras aren't cheap, but they can save you a small fortune over time.  Several years ago a friend of mine was lamenting how much she had spent on clothes that year and still wasn't happy with her wardrobe.  It was easy to see that one of her main problems sagged, I mean, sat squarely on her chest.  She was full-bodied up top and was clearly wearing bad baggy bras.  When she asked for advice, I told her that getting a few great bras is where I would start.  She balked at the idea, stating that "expensive bras don't do anything special." I told her I didn't mean "expensive" I meant "well-made and well-fitting."  She finally agreed to get fitted and at least try some on.  And as expected, she was amazed by her transformation.  Miraculously, most of the new clothes she had complained about now looked great, as did a mountain of clothes she had stopped wearing.
  • A good bra is one that shapes, supports... and perseveres!  The elastic in bras simply doesn't last forever, but those that give up the ghost too quickly are a waste of money. If you have a bra that refuses to do it's job after a month or two of wearings, steer well clear of that line in the future!  That being said, you shouldn't wear the same bra two days in a row.  Elastic needs time to rest and retract.  Your bras will last longer and wear better if you rest them between wearings.
  • Bra sizes are a joke.  Did you know that while band size is fairly standard, CUP size varies by manufacturer AND by band size?  That's right.  An A, is not always an A.  The volume of breast that a cup holds will vary depending on who makes the bra and what band size it is attached to.  This stunned me!  I had no idea.  I know many women who think like I did until recently, that their cup size is pretty consistent but their band size can vary.  In actuality, the reverse is true!  Just like you should disregard clothing sizes and buy what fits and flatters - the same holds true for bras.  It's best you learn to laugh at the sizes and search for what truly fits. (We'll discuss the fine art of bra fit in the next post.)
  • Fitting "experts" can be anything but!  When I started this quest I'd read on many blogs the horrible experiences other women had had with "expert bra fitters" and I must say, I ran into some who took the term "pushy saleswoman" to new heights.  One was so unabashedly condescending I had to remind her I was not the scarecrow in search of a brain but a woman in search of a bra.  And the bras she put me in fit terribly.  The bra quest is not for the faint of heart!  You have to be prepared to strap a pair on!  Boobs, I mean.  And not be afraid to question the fitter.  Armed with the right information you will be able to find bras that fit you properly - you're just going to have to break a few saleswoman's hearts in the process.  Collateral damage is often unavoidable. 
I love the video clips from Cold Comfort Farm I presented at the beginning of this post.  The fact that it was just as crucial in Elfine's makeover to get her "a bit of uplift" as it was to get her educated.  Once you learn what to look for in a great bra, it'll be easy to weed out the sagging from the supportive.  You won't waste money on bras that just sit in your drawer and you'll look much leaner, shapelier, and more youthful under your clothes. 

Please share your experiences and advice!  How did you find your great bras?  Or are you still struggling against the sag?

Throughout this series I'll be posting links to other useful or humorous bra-related sites.  Here are today's:
1.  An absolutely hysterical and informative look at breaking out of the Bra Matrix! 
2.  A rant against the fitters!

Remember, those of us participating in the Back To Blogging week are also up for winning a fabulous giveaway sponsored by Standards of Excellence, Westar Kitchen and Bath, and Florida Builder Appliances.
Some Overlord Trend Decision Maker somewhere decided this fall to say, let's take a peek into Mrs. Darcy's closet and come up with a few things she will love. 
And can style with what she already has in her wardrobe! It's thrilling!

Now, I'm not a trend tramp. Being a slave to current trends means you'll spend tons of money on new clothes every season and you'll wind up looking like a fashion victim. (like so many tv/movie stars nowadays!) I like dressing classically (aka timelessly), with a little retro and a little modern thrown into the mix.  But staying at least a bit knowledgeable about the current trends helps you look current. Current does not have to equal trendy.  You'll get ideas of how to freshly style your existing pieces and you might find something you love and want to wear forever.  For example, I really like wearing all white (with colored shoes!) and that was a big trend this past spring and summer.  So while items were "on trend" and readily available, I picked up a new skirt. And I really liked the clear crystal accessories that were paired with the white and could be found EVERYWHERE. 
I'll be able to use what I found with oodles of outfits in the future. 

One of the big trends this fall is camel.  Not beige.  Not cream. Camel.  The lovely, warm shade of camel happens to be a favorite of mine.  It goes well with my skin and hair color and it is the main paint color in my house.  Here are the camel items I have in my closet and will be styling this fall. I bought them all AGES ago.
(Funnily enough, almost everything I have in this color is meant for cooler temps.
Fall and camel must be natural soul mates.)
L-R: Gap capris. These have hand-painted flowers at the ankles but I think they'll work well tucked into boots.  Loft embroidered suede skirt (I adore this skirt and I'm in denial that it's too big for me. I MUST find someone who can tailor down suede!). Halogen long sweater coat (this is a nice thin knit. I dislike chunky knits.)
Gap cords. (Had to take them off to include them in the pic. Don't be scandalized that I was photographing in my skivvies!) Live A Little/Nordstrom suede jacket, Nine West high heeled stretch boots, Ann Taylor kitten heels (in serious need of a polish!)
don't know why this turned out so green tinged!!
I like the color so much I bought all four pieces of this suit at Nordstrom; blazer, pencil skirt, trousers, long coat. It's a wonderful stretch wool blend that can be worn any season.
Benard Holtzman long wool coat (snagged for a steal at Off Fifth one year!), Ann Taylor sling backs, Michael Kors fringed espadrille flats.
And finally this long skirt. It's by Single (from Nordstrom) and while I'm not normally a fan of long skirts, I couldn't pass up the gorgeous silk print. I think I've worn it twice. Ever.
But I fit into it again so I'm going to figure out how to style it.
What I love to pair with camel: It's a neutral so it goes with essentially everything! For a date night I like pairing it with all black. Think Rene Russo in the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair several years ago; black top, bottoms & shoes so that the coat really stands out. It looks fantastic with light blue.  And pink. Red. Navy. Cream. Burgundy!

New styles I'll try: pairing it with a dark heather gray (really nice combo I saw from Ralph Lauren.), olive green (I have a silk top in this color that I think will look great!), or I may wear camel from head to toe (as seen in a Chloe ad) and channel the minimalism trend that's also on deck this season.

So what are your thoughts? Do you love the color? Hate it? Want to embrace it now that it's "trendy?" (Trust me, camel is never "out.")

Today's Back To Blogging task is to republish a post we wish more people had read.
Remember, those of us participating in the Back To Blogging week are also up for winning a fabulous giveaway sponsored by Standards of Excellence, Westar Kitchen and Bath, and Florida Builder Appliances.
I went straight for the initial months of my blog since I didn't really have any readers back then. Picking which post to republish was fairly easy since I saw these same nightmarish outfits roaming the streets again this summer.  Oy. 
So, for your reading pleasure (and hopeful education, if you are guilty of this type of outfit) a post I wish more people had read.
Summertime Snafu 6-16-2009
Ah, summertime.  Undeniably the most difficult shopping and dressing time for the Modern Mormon Woman.  Stores and streets abound with tank tops, mini skirts, short shorts, strappy dresses and bikinis.  How do we find our place in this season?
I did a little research recently that may or may not surprise you. 

I looked at the easiest option for summer style – the dress!  Throw it on with a pair of sandals and you’re good to go errand running; with a pair of heels and you’re set for church; keep the heels, switch up the accessories and you’re ready for date night!  One good dress is practically a weeks worth of outfits so I searched all the offerings on several different popular store websites.   I counted as appropriate only those dresses needing no more alteration than perhaps a camisole for a too-low neckline.  The dreaded “Under-T-under-straps” combo shown below was NOT an option.
What did I find?
Ann Taylor:  8 out of 71 dresses would be appropriate
Ann Taylor Loft:  4 of 50
J. Crew: 3 of 89
(and that was excluding the wedding dress options, which, by the way were 0 of 32)
Banana Republic: 8 of 41
Gap: 0 of 30 (that’s right – zero!)
Anthropologie: 0 of 107
Brooks Brothers: 5 of 15
White House/Black Market: 0 of 50
Nordstrom had far too many dresses to count but a cursory search of the first few pages yielded many excellent options!  I even searched Victoria’s Secret.  26 of 255 would be appropriate.
Many of these stores are standard shopping suggestions from Image Interpreters.  Goes to show the season’s aren’t all created equal!  It certainly won’t be an easy search, but appropriate, summer weight dresses are out there.  My personal favorite is the lightweight jersey wrap dress.  Seasonless, with the addition of hosiery and boots, and one of the most flattering and smart wardrobe investments any woman can make.

But what if you already have strappy or strapless items in your closet that you really want to keep wearing?  The key is striking a more deliberate contrast! 

I’m a big fan of the new fitted undershirts that have hit the market in recent years.  They lend a very helpful hand to anyone wanting to maintain modesty and avoid frumpy.  But the look can be taken too far.  (Am I bursting bubbles here?)  I don’t believe they were ever meant to allow us to wear ANY dress or top out there.  (Any undertee maker who says otherwise is just trying to sell more!)  Are they perfect under slightly sheer tops and dresses?  Absolutely! The best for covering gaping under-arm holes? You bet!  Excellent for filling in low necklines and covering "flesh belts"?  Sure thing! Good looking under tank or halter style tops? Um... negatory. 
So how does this translate? 
  • Try a longer sleeve T instead of the cap sleeve option.
  • Try more than 2 layers.  The other day I saw this combo: cap-sleeve underT, sheer, fitted, short-sleeve shirt (worn quite open to reveal the color contrasting underT), very low scoop neck, floaty, tunic-length ruffle tank (spaghetti straps, not thick) on top.  All with jeans and sandals.  It was more funky than my personal style but I loved that it was clever and creative!
  • Work your button-downs instead! A light weight button-down shirt is much more unexpected under strappy or strapless items.  It says, "I meant to put together this brilliant combo."  Instead of, "Please look at the halter dress and ignore the flesh-colored undershirt glaring out from under it."  Check out some of the outfit options below.
  • As for those strappy maxi dresses?  Take a cue from decades ago and employ a version of the shirt-as-jacket option.  Slip a light button-down shirt OVER your dress, roll up the sleeves if they're long, do up just a few buttons at your breastbone (unless more are needed for cleavage coverage) and then knot the shirt just under your rib cage.  Adorable, sexy and innocent all at the same time!  It'll create very slimming lines as well, with the knot high at the narrowest part of your torso.
I've decided to play along with a "Back To Blogging Week" and contest hosted by The SITS Girls.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about then click here for the SITS Girls scoop! 
This week is about getting back into the groove of blogging after many of us have taken breaks to enjoy summer vacations and other projects.
Those of us who participate are also up for winning a fabulous giveaway sponsored by Standards of Excellence, Westar Kitchen and Bath, and Florida Builder Appliances.  Woohoo!!

The first assignment this week is to repost the very first blog post we ever wrote.  And this is mine...
Welcome! 6-9-2009

What would you be wearing if you were living your perfect life?
Maybe you are living that life, but your clothes don’t fit in with the rest of the picture.
Is there a particular goal you’ve been avoiding?  Could better style now help you take the first step toward meeting it?

Fashion and Style are really just your answers to the questions you’re asked every minute of every day.  What am I doing this morning? Afternoon? Evening?  Who am I doing it with? What is/will be the weather?  What is appropriate for the occasion?  How much time do I have to change outfits during the day?  What do I want to project?  What message do I want this outfit to send? What language are my clothes speaking?  Let’s not ever kid ourselves, everything we wear says something, from the underpinnings the public doesn’t see to the smallest of accessories.  Our clothing speaks volumes.  It talks about who we are, how we’re feeling, and what we believe.

Who is the Modern Modest Woman?  She’s trying to look appropriate and up-to-date while setting an example of modesty.  Not content to wander drably with The Frumpy, she is keenly aware that more and more, the world is looking at her not only as an example but also to answer questions about our unique lifestyle.  If what they see looks weird (and weird is the bad side of peculiar) or off-putting, they may consider their questions already answered.  And you can bet it won’t be the most flattering answer.  

I have always loved fashion but it took an embarrassing first business trip at my first real job, when I tried too hard to look “executive” (and failed miserably!), for me to start learning about real style.  Imogen Lamport, a great image consultant from Australia says, “Style is a learning experience, and one that I never stop learning, and my style never stops changing (and that makes it interesting too).”  Image Interpreters is about bringing together the best style and fashion tips and tricks and applying them to our unique lifestyle.

Whether we want to or not, everybody makes a fashion statement - this site is mine.
This blog is not about my personal style. 
At least not solely. 
It is not intended to be a daily showcase of my outfits. Because there are a lot of other blogs out there that perfectly fit that niche and fit it better than I could.
(I'm a stay-at-home mom with 3 toddlers. I don't get out much!)

But I get a lot of questions about how I would style something or how I would wear something or how I personally would deal with a particular fit/style/fashion issue.  And I get a lot of inspiration for my own style from those other blogs so I'm paying it forward.  It'll be a good exercise for me. Since I'm not in the dress-up-daily working world anymore it's easy to get rusty when it comes to putting together ensembles.  You have to flex those style muscles frequently! And I really do try to practice what I preach.

So I'm introducing a new feature.  An occasional little peek into my closet and my style.  Sometimes I'll show an outfit I wore, sometimes I'll show items in my wardrobe I use to translate certain trends. (That's actually the next post coming up!)
Either way, I hope you like it.
What I KNOW you'll like is this little montage I found of the forever classic Edna Mode. Enjoy!