My Uniform – Capsule Wardrobe

March 29th, 2017 Comments off

I thought I’d share my uniform with you. Keep in mind I’m a writer who works home alone 90 percent of the time.  The descriptions of the boxes are below, going left to right for each row. You can find the originals here: http://labellafigura.polyvore.com/

Summer

Variation 1:

1. Black sundress

2. flat sandals

Variation 2:

1. Black lightweight pants

2. Tee shirt or Tank top

3. Sandals with small heel

 

Spring

Variation 1:

1. Dark denim straight leg jeans

2. Tee

3. Blazer

4. High-heel ankle boots

Variation 2:

1. Dark denim bootcut jeans

2. Button down top

3. High-heel chunky sandals

 

Winter

Variation 1:

1. Dark denim skinny jeans

2. Uniqlo heat-tech undershirt

3. Cashmere sweater

4. Knee-high boots

Variation 2:

1. Black straight leg jeans

2. Free People thermal tops

3. Black Calvin Klein blazer

4. Black ankle boots

 

 

 

Categories: Armoire, Style Tags:

Splurges February 2017

March 9th, 2017 Comments off

I realized this week that I went a little overboard in splurging on items recently. It’s time to tighten the belt. And then some.

The good news is I have no regrets on what I’ve purchased.

Besides what is shown in the pictures, I also splurged on a cute white and blue striped button-up top from Target and a fancy haircut.

 

Books

I bought Maria Semple’s latest book because I loved Where are you Bernadette so much that I wanted to treat myself with this book for my upcoming vacation. Nothing makes me happier than hopping on a plane with a new book.

It is a splurge because I rarely buy new books unless the author is my friend. I just can’t afford to buy new when I read so much. It would break the bank for sure.

However, I did also buy a great book on author marketing:

Some of my other worthwhile purchases:

 

Nutribullet

The Nutribullet has rocked my world. I always thought smoothies were sort of lame and for super health conscious workout folks, not wine-guzzling book nerds like me. I am reformed. I love my Nutribullet smoothies with a deep abiding passion. So easy. So good. So good for you.

My standard smoothie has:

  • Handful of spinach
  • Teaspoon of peanut butter
  • Teaspoon of Chia seeds
  • Teaspoon of hemp heart powder
  • Teaspoon of no sugar, no carb vanilla protein powder
  • A few ice cubes
     
     DELICIOUS!

Mr. Dudley

After reading about this pepper grinder and going through a million cheap ones, I was out to lunch with my husband at an Italian restaurant and when the server asked if we wanted pepper I said, “Is that a Mr. Dudley?”

She looked at me like I was cray-cray until I told her to look on the bottom. Sure enough it was a Mr. Dudley. She looked impressed (at least in my own mind) and said, “Um, that’s the first time anyone has ever asked me THAT!”

So Mr. Dudley it is! Sold. I went home and ordered one online despite the server’s offer to slip me the one she had for $20 (she was kidding. sort of)

Milagra

Anyone who knows me or who has been to my home knows I’m a total freak about religious art and Mexican art so I found my spirit animal at a scrumptious St. Paul restaurant called Burrito Mercado.

This place has everything I’ve ever wanted in Mexican religious art. I’m lucky I got out of there with only this one piece. (So far.)

 

Spring Capsule Wardrobe

March 5th, 2017 Comments off

Inspired by the lovely Fiona at How to Be Chic.
Here is my summer wardrobe.
Because I live in Minneapolis, which has frigid winters, our family likes to do a little winter escape to warmer climates and so I end up planning and organizing my wardrobe before summer.
Because I have a minimalist/capsule wardrobe, usually my entire wardrobe is packed when I travel.
Besides these core items in the pictures below, I also have a few other dresses and what I’m wearing on the plane – dark denim jeans and a black or navy button-up James Perse blouse.

In this first picture, I realized I have a Target wardrobe for summer!

The green and black tops are from Target. The cropped denim jeans are Target. The navy top is J Crew.

In this second photo, lots of Target again: the navy and green tanks are Target. I also have a long-sleeve Max Studio striped top, cropped linen black pants, and a wide-leg lightweight black pant.

In this last photo I have my summer shoes and a Nic + Zoe dress that I’ve brought mainly for a pool cover up as I walk to the pool. It’s also along in case I need to be a little dressier for anything. My at home summer wardrobe I have high-heeled wedges and sandals that I won’t need on this trip.

Categories: Armoire Tags:

A few of my favorite things

January 10th, 2017 Comments off

 

A reader asked me what I keep in my bag and what bag I use.

Here is my bag and its contents, minus my set of keys.*

 

LONCHAMP LE PLIAGE 

A few years ago I splurged on a gorgeous Michael Kors bag that was made of heavy, thick leather and had lots and lots of bad-a$$ looking chains. I loved that bag. But it did not love me. I began developing headaches and back and shoulder problems. I ditched it and turned to my “summer” bag, the Longchamp. At the end of summer, I did not switch back to a leather bag. I realized I loved my Longchamp and it suited my purposes in a way no other bag could. It was lightweight, had a low-profile, fit all my belongings and even my laptop when I worked away from home. It is my go-to bag.  My plan at this point in my life is to use it until it falls apart and then buy another one exactly like it to replace it.

 

 

 

KATE SPADE PENCIL POUCH

I could not adore this more. It was spendy, but it makes me happy every time I see it or use it. And as a writer, and reporter, I needed something in my bag to organize my pens and pencils.

 

 

 

CHANEL VELVET MAKEUP BAG

I found this at the thrift store and adore it. Here is one I found on eBay:

 

I couldn’t find my exact gloves. I bought them in the men’s department at a local department store, but these are nearly identical:

 

OVERSIZE CASHMERE WRAP  – Navy
I don’t think Banana Republic makes these anymore and I couldn’t find anything similar in thickness and quality to recommend for that price (It was about $100). This thing is huge – like a blanket.

Unfortunately, the only thing I could find that came close was this one from White & Warren. That’s why even though my scarf has a hole in it, I will be using it forever rather than trying to replace it.

 

MOLESKINE JOURNAL

I always have one of these in my bag. I go through 1-2 each year. They contain all my thoughts, book ideas, lists of things to do, inspiration. I count my journals as my most treasured objects.

 

 

EYEGLASS POUCH. Embroidered from France. I picked this up years ago at this sweet little boutique in Minneapolis called C’est Chic. At the time, when it first opened, the owner told me she travels to France a few times a year. When she finds an outfit to sell back in Minneapolis she only buys three sizes: small, medium, and large and brings it back here. The boutique no longer sells them, but they said the tapestry company that makes them used to make tapestry for the royal family in England. How cool is that? So I went down the rabbit hole of Internet research and found them! Here they are: Royal Tapisserie. And here is an American store that carries some of their products on its website: And a cute little shoulder bag by them:

 

 

PILOT PEN

I’m super picky about my pens. These are the ones I love the most:

 

 

*Although it is probably obvious, it is worth noting that a few of these links are affiliate links. xx

Ravvivare! (And reissue of La Bella Figura book)

December 13th, 2016 Comments off

Big kisses and huge thank you to Fiona Ferris of How To Be Chic for inspiring, encouraging and motivating me to re-issue my book and to come visit this little blog again. She has an amazing series of books that are incredibly motivational. You can buy them here.

I’ve kept in touch with Fiona over the years and took her advice to heart when she mentioned putting out my book again and reviving this blog a bit.

I’m crazy busy with my mystery writing career, but also really miss the time I used to spend keeping my life simple so this is a chance to look at that again.

Here is the revived book.
Below the cover you can read what some people, including Ferris, have said about it.
You can buy it here.

la-bella-figura-3

By Fiona Ferris
Why do I love this book and the way author Kristi approaches life so much? I’ve been thinking about it, and I think it is because she is genuine and authentic. She expresses her point of view well, which is that she chooses to live a Italian-style life, on a trim budget, in the US. I have learned many great tips from this book and loved peeking into Kristi’s life. She comes across measured and sensible, but her ideas always produce a frisson of excitement inside me, because they are fun and easy. I always think ‘I could do that!’ and then ‘I think I’ll do it now!’ Kristi’s message of living La Bella Figura on a budget is so important now when many of us are looking for ways to live well without spending a lot of money. Thank you Kristi for sharing your wisdom and passion with us.

I absolutely loved this book
By stephanie h.
I absolutely loved this book! It inspires me to elevate my everyday life into an art form and cultivate a chic, simple and European lifestyle right here at home. Most importantly, the author explains how to do this without spending more, but instead spending less, owning less and as a result, having less stress. I really enjoyed topics like presenting your best in all areas and slowing down to enjoy life while appreciating simple pleasures. This book is an inspiring read!

And here are what some people said about the original book when it was published in 2010

I’ve had my copy of La Bella Figura a week, and it’s already dog-eared and thoroughly highlighted. Primarily a volume on obtaining the elusive chic European women are known for, this book is so much more. La Bella Figura is a primer for women seeking more quality over quantity in all areas of their life. Author Kristi Belle offers priceless tips on ensuring everything – from your style to how your time and money are spent – contributes to the life you truly desire.

————-

I loved this book! Since I adore almost everything about Italy so much, I have come to desire a European-inspired lifestyle for years now. The author defines creating la bella figura by not only putting one’s best foot forward in every situation, but also consciously choosing to live a personal value-driven life. I love this expanded definition; it makes sense to me. She also illustrates it so well with personal experiences, book recommendations, even her own recipes. All of that make this little book an absolute pleasure to read. I have read shelves full of travel narratives based in Italy, and books about the Italians as well, and I have tried to emulate the author’s lifestyle or adopt… More >lessons into my own life. But I still have found tips in Kristi’s book I have yet to come across, it definitely offers something new. I can hardly wait to try some of them out! Right now, I am particularly interested in cultivating a wardrobe primarily consisting of classic, timeless staples, which I can still make my very own. Her tips will certainly help me in my style evolution.

I am drawn to this book as well as her blog because the author is so herself and is not afraid to let everyone know who she is. While reading the book, I almost felt like I was having a face-to-face conversation with a kindred spirit. I found myself repeatedly thinking “I’ve read that book!” or simply “I know, right?!” She inspires me.

—————

I loved this book! It is a great resource for all things chic. What I really found inspiring is the focus that it does not take a lot of money to achieve this lifestyle. The message of simplifying and enjoying your life makes you feel more rich than any latest and greatest must have trendy item at the mall. I highly recommend this book. It’s one I will always keep in my library.

—————

Just finished reading La Bella Figura! Lots of great ideas I plan to start incorporating into my daily life immediately. I have three closets full of clothes in my house. I guess it’s time to downsize and only keep what I really love! I’ve found that having such a large collection of clothing is more of a burden than a joy. Can’t wait to use Kristi’s method to de-clutter my closets and my life! A great book!

————–

Fantastic Book! Even if you read Kristi’s blog regularly, there are still more gems in this book. Her writing style is very accessible and conversational. With what’s been happening with our nation’s economy…this book should be required reading!! Learn to live better with less, and start by reading this wonderful book. I hope there will be many more to follow.

—————-

If you are new to the idea of living an Italian and French Inspired lifestyle La Bella Figura is stocked full of ideas on how to get started from cleaning your closets to restocking the kitchen. But even if you are not new to the idea this book is a fresh inspiration on refining and simplifying your lifestyle. Thanks to La Bella Figura, after holding onto it for several years and hating to use it I finally tossed my garlic press!! Kristi’s writing style is down to earth and honest. When reading this book your feel as though you are not so much being instructed by the author but instead are on the journey with her. Unlike many self-improvement books she does not tout her methods as being the only “right” way to live simply and beautifully and in fact doesn’t hesitate to discuss aspects where she herself is still experimenting and growing.

————–

I read this book cover to cover before bed last night and all I can say is I am completely and totally inspired – I’ve already done 3 things to simplify my life – all in the last 12 hours!

1. I shut off my alarm clock after I finished the book (at midnight). I originally had it set for 5:00 am to get up and get to a spinning class this AM – knowing I already had a swim class later in the evening. Why do I need to sacrifice sleep to get in 2 workouts today? I don’t! I took the extra 2 hours sleep instead.
2. Getting dressed this AM I grabbed a pair of pants that I wore earlier this week. I never would have done that before. But they fit me well and they are a classic black that go with… More >lack that go with everything. I LOVE them.
3. I am taking a vacation day tomorrow. I just had some work done at my house, it’s a mess, and I am having a baby shower for a dear friend on Saturday that I need to get ready for. I have tons of vacation time so I’m going to use it to clean, grocery shop and be ready for it instead of also working a full day and stressing myself out late into the evening on Friday – and sacrificing sleep in order to get stuff done.

Thank you Kristi Belle!

————-

I loved this book. I am a big fan of Anne Barone’s Chic & Slim series and La Bella Figura struck me as a younger, Italian version. As a regular reader of Kristi’s La Bella Figura blog this book has a lot of new information and she has expanded on ideas she has touched on in her blog. I felt very inspired just browsing the index – I really should have started from the beginning but I dipped into chapters just to get a taste first (couldn’t help myself).

This book has many great ideas on living ‘la bella figura’ and they are all attainable on a small budget and in small chunks of time. Kristi has such a conversational style of writing that I felt inspired to try out some of her… More >her ideas straight away.

An example of this is in her closet/wardrobe chapter. I jumped up from reading this chapter straight away and instinctively knew what was getting weeded out of my main wardrobe. I know in my heart that I have too many clothes and want to find that perfect and mythical wardrobe of a small number of pieces in which everything goes together to make many outfits.

Kristi suggested paring down the wardrobe and not getting rid of the overflow straight away. That way you can cast items out more freely without having to worry about where they were going to go. I removed everything I didn’t like, was ambivalent about or even just didn’t enjoy wearing (too scratchy, funny shape etc) into another wardrobe.

That way I could have a taste test of the European style wardrobe straight away without fully committing to giving away half of my clothing. And like everyone else, I love instant gratification (not very European of me, but still). What a pleasure it was to get dressed the next day. I still haven’t put any of the weeded out clothes back but they are still there if I want them. In six months or so I plan to donate what I haven’t gone looking for.

Another favourite part of this book is Kristi’s food/kitchen chapter and recipes. Her menus always look so appetising on her blog and I love that I can make some of the same dishes which taste so authentic because they come from someone of Italian descent!

Actually, I loved the whole book. I am so impressed that Kristi has distilled everything she has learned on the art of living well into this enticing book. All of the chapters are topics I am interested in very much and I know I will refer to La Bella Figura over and over again. This book is such a worthwhile investment of your money and time.

Categories: La Bella Figura book Tags:

La Bella Figura Revisited & Ended

October 19th, 2012 7 comments

I honestly don’t know if a single soul still reads this blog. At one point, I had so many lovely readers, a few of whom I have been lucky enough to meet in person  (I’m talking to you, Phyllis) and count as real friends. Lately, my thoughts have been turning to style again so I thought I would end this blog with a final post.

You see, I recently realized that I have a style. I like it. I am satisfied with it.

I realized this when I recently brainstormed on how to raise some money needed for my writing. I realized that I am so utterly completely satisfied with my style that I don’t even think about it anymore. I just reach into my closet and pull out something and it all matches and it all makes me FEEL great.

I have finally realized it is how I FEEL in something that matters. As I mentioned, this big realization came when I started looking at selling some of the more (ridiculously) expensive items in my wardrobe to raise money for my writing project.

I realized that I outgrew the designer items, which I had coveted, saved and scrimped for, and now had. Specifically, my Givenchy Nightingale handbag, which is absurdly expensive in my book. I had an ephiphany: while I loved the way others looked carrying the bag, I didn’t like myself carrying it. It didn’t suit me. At all. Up for sale. Even though I am endlessly complimented on this bag, it just doesn’t SUIT ME. It will be terrific for someone else.

Then, I took a hard look at my Fiorentini + Baker eternity boots. Again, numerous compliments on these silly expensive boots. They make me feel like an action figure when I wear them, like I could kick ass any second. However, they are not that flattering to my style or my figure. In fact, for some reason when I have a choice of what boots to wear I inevitably pull on my much cheaper, but awesome Frye boots. Those SUIT me. Eternity boots – up for sale!

See, what I came to realize is that I LOVED the IDEA of those two items. They are exquisitely crafted, gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous, as art items. Not suited for my style. The handbag is the softest most gorgeous leather ever. Fine craftmanship. A work of art. Same with the boots. I could sit and look at them all day long. They are gorgeous. But they don’t suit me.

Gone. Both of them.

Instead, I feel like I have found a new, effortless chic style. One that screams nonchalance. One that always feels JUST right. One that feels complete even though it only hangs on 23 hangers.

Finally. I’ve achieved that feeling of effortless chic I’ve sought for so long. I finally am comfortable in my skin, as the French say (in French, however the heck you say that — I’m not going to bother looking it up right now.) This feeling has completely stripped me of the desire to shop or buy anything new. It is such a feeling of freedom. So, that’s where I am at and why I stopped blogging here. I think I will end this blog with these thoughts and some photos that have inspired me and my style, which summed up is all about jeans, straight leg or skinny, deep-cut tees, blazers, boots and large scarves. I also am crazy about bracelets and cuffs, long, messy hair and smudgy black eye makeup.

WINNER

May 6th, 2011 8 comments

A from My French Corner won the drawing for a bracelet from Art Leather.
I can’t wait to hear if she loves it as much as I love mine.
I have a deep brown and a red leather one and I wear one of them every day. My sole piece of jewelry. I love them.

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Art Leather GIVEAWAY!!!!

April 29th, 2011 6 comments

I am excited to announce that Andrea from Art Leather wants to give away one of her awesome bracelets.

If you leave a comment between now and next Friday, I will pick a name out of a hat and you can go to Andrea’s etsy store, pick out the bracelet of your choice and she will mail it to you from Belgium. Be sure to leave an email with your comment so I can contact the winner. I believe she will be adding even more colors to choose from next week.

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Yet another argument for Quality over Quantity

March 13th, 2011 15 comments

i am shamelessly reposting this from Dead Fluerette this morning because it resounded so strongly for me.
The original article ran in the Vancouver Sun.
I hope it’s not TOO annoying, but I bolded the parts that spoke to me and reflect my philosophies.

–––

The same way we’ve forgotten how to save our pennies, we’ve forgotten how to invest in our wardrobes. For the past decade and more, we’ve been on a reckless spend-o-rama, maxing out our credit cards with cheap, chic, disposable fast fashion.

But now — with rising concerns about the economy, the environment and worker exploitation in developing countries, not to mention a season of temptingly timeless modern classics — investment dressing is chic again.

Good thing, too. All those cheap Prada knock-offs were not only clogging up the landfills, they were overflowing the closets in our tiny condos, too.

The investment dressing trend is major news all over, according to everyone from the editors of fashion magazines to tastemakers like Holt Renfrew fashion director Barbara Atkin, to the designers themselves and right on up to politicians.

Just last week, England’s House of Lords’ Science and Technology Committee released a report that condemned cheap and chic insta-fashion, calling it “costly and socially unacceptable.”

The report pointed out that clothes from retailers like Britain’s uber-popular Primark and Top Shop are so cheap that there is no incentive to repair them, or even to hand them down or recycle them. And that, they say, is just wasteful.

Of course, the Brits aren’t the only ones who have been revelling in a frenzy of cut-price poly blends. International chains like Spain’s Zara and Sweden’s H&M have conquered the retail world by not only knocking off designer duds minutes after they appear on the runway, but completely restocking their stores with brand new fashions every two weeks or so.

That’s right: Where once there were two fashion cycles a year (spring and fall), now there are two a month. When clothes are this cheap, why not?

The thing is, when a dress costs only $20 or a pair of jeans is a mere $15, someone is paying full price for it, even if it isn’t you.

That someone is typically a garment worker in a developing country like, say, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka. There, millions of people — most of them women and children — work brutally long hours sewing clothes in squalid situations for less than $10 a week, which may be the legal minimum wage, but it’s not exactly a livable one. That’s all manufacturers can afford to pay, though, if they want to keep prices as low as customers demand.

The other way clothing companies keep costs down is to use cheap fabrics, typically energy-wasteful cotton or non-biodegradable synthetics. Producing these fabrics can create massive amounts of pollution — especially in regions with lax environmental standards.

Admittedly, it can be easy to forget about conditions half a world away when you’re looking at an adorable blouse that costs little more than your morning latte. To bring the harsh reality home, consider this: A closet crammed with cheap, disposable clothes is more expensive than a wardrobe of well-made, long-wearing classics.

It comes down to the cost-per-wear formula. Take the cost of your garment, divide it by the number of times you wear it and that’s what its actual value is.

For instance, a $20 top you wear once has a $20 cost per wear. A $500 jacket you wear every week for a year has a $10 cost per wear. The better value? The $500 jacket. Besides, those inexpensive garments just don’t last — which is why, back in the day, fashion guidebooks always used to say that women on a budget can’t afford to buy cheap clothes. That’s definitely something to consider given the current economic meltdown.

Something else worth considering: One of the reasons we all fell for fast fashion in the first place was to express our personalities through our clothes. Ironically, all we’ve managed to accomplish is looking like everyone else out there.

We’ve also devalued the very designers and labels we’ve been ripping off.

Given all that, it should come as no surprise that there has been a backlash against all this gross over-consumption of clothing. Just as fast food inspired the slow food movement, so has fast fashion inspired a new “slow fashion” movement that encourages shoppers to buy locally produced, ethically made, high-quality clothing that will last more than one season.

In fact, that’s how the world’s most stylish women have always shopped.

French and Italian women don’t buy a lot of fast fashion; instead, they are famous for having a few well-made basics that they update with well-chosen accessories. They look inside North American women’s closets and wonder how on earth we manage to dress ourselves with so much junk. Men don’t typically buy a lot of fast fashion either. Instead, they often expect to get a decade’s wear out of a coat or suit, so it has to be top quality — and that’s why menswear stores offer expensive, beautifully made clothes and complimentary tailoring.

Meanwhile, we women have been dressing ourselves in nasty, flimsy, scratchy, badly made and ill-fitting clothes, all for the sake of being on top of a trend that lasts about two minutes.

Sure, we want to have fun with fashion, and fast fashion can definitely be fun. And it’s great for teens, who are still trying on new styles to learn what suits them best and have small allowances to pay for it in any case. But for the rest of us, shouldn’t we know better by now? Shouldn’t fashion be a bit more luxurious than this? Shouldn’t it make us feel good? Shouldn’t it be, well, nicer?

Luckily for all of us, this fall is all about beautiful, modern, updated classics, the kind of clothes you’ll want to wear for a good, long time. Atkin calls it “stealth wealth,” clothing that is elegant and carefully crafted, but doesn’t shout its pedigree with all-over logos and bling.

And yes, it can be expensive, but maybe it’s time to bring back another outmoded concept: the idea of actually saving up to buy something special instead of racking up more debt on a whim.

This is a great season to begin investing in your wardrobe again. It’s a great season to invest in the building blocks of a timeless wardrobe, in luxurious fabrics, beautiful colours and flattering fits. It’s a great season to invest in creating your own unique style, and not following the same trends everyone else is.

It is, in short, a great season to invest in you.

(Credit: http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/arts/story.html?id=0f2af413-2e6f-4df0-80d8-aa2be4d704cd)

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Art Leather – my latest obsession

March 9th, 2011 8 comments

I’m in love. This leather jewelry from the gorgeous and talented Andrea Renee Terhaar is my latest lust. I was at the Walker Art Museum in Minneapolis this past weekend and fell head over heels with this artist’s leather jewelry. Andrea’s business is Art Leather. She’s local to the Twin Cities, but moving to Belgium soon, lucky girl. So you can buy her fabulous jewelry at her etsy shop, which is on hiatus and should be up and running again in a few weeks. Her Etsy shop ships international so be sure to bookmark it and check back later.

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What is it about those Italian women? You know the ones I’m talking about: beautiful, sexy, dressed to the nines just to take the kids to the park. They have a certain something that is indefinable. It is in the way they dress, the way they prepare their meals, the way they spend their leisure time.

It is because they know the importance of la bella figura. Roughly translated from Italian, it means putting you best foot forward in everything you do. It means cutting a beautiful figura. The opposite of la bella figura is la brutta figura, which is what someone might say about the falling down drunken guy at the party or the super tackily dressed woman at church. It means ugly figure.

La bella figura is much more than your appearance. It goes much deeper than that. It is about how you act. It is about how you treat others. It is about how you care for yourself, your home and your family. Living a life in line with la bella figura doesn’t take money. In fact, it is more about how to have class without a lot of money.

Someone who exudes la bella figura will have clean, pressed clothes and be well groomed. They will not be rude or sloppy. Their fingernails will be impeccably groomed. Their hair shiny and clean and their shoes will be polished. They will not have stray threads hanging from their suit hems. They will not be driving a car in need of the car wash.

La bella figura means driving that 15 year old car and meticulously cleaning it and caring for it. It means keeping your belongings in good repair. It means taking time to clean your house and not cluttering it up with meaningless objects.

When you focus all your spare energy, time and money on the things that bring you the most amount of pleasure, then you are truly living a life in line with la bella figura. The best part about it is that you don’t have to be Italian to do so. You just have to think like an Italian.

Italian children are raised to present la bella figura in whatever they do. From the time they are small and are groomed perfectly to attend church or school, they know that appearances count. They count because it is the first thing people judge about you. That first impression does matter. Appearances are also important because when you take the time to look nice, you are showing that you care about yourself. When you care enough to look good, it shows you have good healthy self esteem. Nothing is more attractive than self confidence.

In addition, dressing nice also shows respect for others. If you invite people over for dinner and greet them in flip flops, baggy sweats and a stained shirt, it is really disrespectful to them. The same if you dress sloppy to go to church or even to the market. By dressing nicely and being well groomed, you show respect for everyone in your world.

Having la bella figura means presenting yourself in the best light possible in all your interactions.