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Blue Velvet

January 18th, 2011

The incomparable Isabella

Do any of you have a color and a fabric that sums you up?

I do.

It has always been, and it will always be, Blue Velvet.

I have owned some version of a navy blue velvet blazer for the past 25 years.

I love the movie Blue Velvet and definitely went through a David Lynch phase. But that’s not why blue velvet speaks to me so poignantly.To me, blue velvet says Paris in the 20s. It says Greenwich Village in the 30s. It says pernod and absinthe. It says Henry and June Miller. It speaks of dimly lit dance halls and bustling cafes filled with artists and writers.  It evokes romance, sensuality and mystery to me.

What fabric and color speaks to you?

Similar to my New Year's Eve Dress

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  1. January 18th, 2011 at 14:45 | #1

    Blue velvet is fabulous! It’s both beautiful and easy to wear. But if I had to choose one fabric/color to sum me up, it would be red silk! xo

  2. January 18th, 2011 at 15:01 | #2

    A.A. — absolutely. I think you would look stunning in a red silk cocktail dress (maybe with your black leather motorcycle jacket casually thrown over your shoulders). Valentine’s Day is coming up — get mystery photograper/boyfriend extraordinaire on it!

  3. January 18th, 2011 at 20:51 | #3

    An excellent choice for you! It’s dramatic yet classic and very chic. I think I have two fabrics, for decor, white linen, for clothing, charcoal grey cashmere. If I could wear cashmere all year round I would.

    • January 19th, 2011 at 12:32 | #4

      charcoal cashmere is one of my wardrobe staples, as well!

  4. January 23rd, 2011 at 19:11 | #5

    Velvet is one of my favorite winter fabrics. I have a purple velvet blazer that I adore! I remember reading about your velvet cape in your book. So luxe!

    • January 23rd, 2011 at 19:14 | #6

      it’s so soft and lovely, but it’s black not blue … I’ve seen some great ones on etsy and ebay lately.
      hope you are well

  5. January 29th, 2011 at 12:35 | #7

    Sapphire blue for me…in a so soft fabric…knit,cashmere,silk. yum!

  6. Aurora
    February 1st, 2011 at 15:22 | #9

    I’m a purple and silver girl. A violet silk crepe grecian dress is my dream dress-up outfit- except that I have no place to wear it!

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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.