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La Bella Figura Revisited & Ended

October 19th, 2012

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.

  1. October 19th, 2012 at 11:23 | #1

    I still have you in my reader and read whenever you have a post :-)

  2. Hope
    October 19th, 2012 at 13:04 | #3

    I just want to say that although I never read your Bella Figura book, I always enjoyed this blog. I liked your style posts and reading about how you carried your philosophy out in everything you did, cooking, eating, reading, movies, kids, etc. I think I’m around your age (45), maybe a bit older, and I am not quite where you are as far as honing my style but I feel I’ve made a lot of progress the last few years just by reading blogs like yours. So, I always found you inspiring. Good luck with the writing! Hope

    • October 21st, 2012 at 08:10 | #4

      Thanks so much for commenting Hope. We are *very close* to the same age! (I turn 44 on Tuesday.) If you want, you can also find me on Facebook. I’m at https://www.facebook.com/labellafigura and keep in touch with a lot of people that way!
      best,
      Kristi

  3. aaonce
    October 23rd, 2012 at 17:47 | #5

    K,
    Wow! I came over because I wanted to get the URL for your other blog and instead found this wonderful post!!! Your blog has meant so much to me. Thru your journey, I began uncovering (and learning to make a priority) my own values-all by subtracting what wasn’t important. Although this was about labellafigura, in order to get to the essence of it-I had to simplify…a lot. Style-wise, I am *almost* where I want to be, and just this week I was thinking the same thing you expressed here: it matters most to me how I feel in my clothes. If you decide to republish your first book, please let me know as I would love to read how your opinions have evolved (now that you are where you want to be). BTW, I just received my diploma in the mail (a BS in LA), so now that that is done-I am moving on to my next long-held goal: writing (and hopefully, in time, publish what I write)! I shall miss “hearing” your voice on this topic, but I am so HAPPY to read where you are now. How awesome! TTYS!
    -aaonce

  4. aaonce
    October 23rd, 2012 at 17:47 | #6

    P.S. Happy Birthday!!!
    -aaonce

  5. November 4th, 2012 at 11:22 | #7

    What a great last post! I have thoroughly enjoyed your blog from beginning to end. I really like reading about how you have found your style and know what works and you are no longer searching or buying. That is the ultimate place to be! I will miss your blog, but what it did for me was provide endless inspiration, especially on a lean closet and minimalism that will stay with me for a lifetime. You made me think for myself too. Thank you so much for that!

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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.