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Where Style Meets Comfort

December 20th, 2010

I’ve been holding out on the whole Clog scene for about a year now just like the uber stylish Garance did, but like her, I think I’m going to wave the white flag. It all started with a fellow blogger who lives in the same Godforsaken, winter wonderland part of the country that I am in.
See where I live it is common practice to shed one’s shoes at the entry way when you visit another person’s home. I get it, but I don’t like it one bit. When I get dressed, my outfit includes my shoes and it feels off without them — not to mention much colder with stocking feet.

A lot of people actually tote around these knit slipper shoe thingies that they then put on at someone’s house. It’s not my thing but I didn’t know what suited me until I read what Aesthetic Alterations does to solve her shoeless visitor conundrum.

She takes along a pair of platform, chunky sandals and slips those on when she arrives at her destination. I still want something a bit warmer so I decided to investigate clogs — chiefly this pair from Born.

Of course digging around on zappos, I came across a few other cute styles, including this one:

The Corby is cute, but I surprisingly like the clog better. If I did buy the clog, I would be breaking a well touted style rule — if you’ve worn the trend once — the first time around — skip it the second.
Oh yes, I wore clogs in grade school. Big, clunky wooden ones if I remember right. And I thought I was pretty cool in them, too. They may have even been the first heels I ever wore.
So if I did buy these I’d be breaking the rules. Not the first time.
What do I like about them? The suede. Love suede. The ability to slip them on and off at someone’s house. The heel. It’s not funky or trendy, just a decent high heel that I can be comfortable in. Which leads me to the most important thing I like about them — just knowing they are from Born means I can walk around in them for days and still be comfortable.

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  1. December 20th, 2010 at 17:32 | #1

    If you need any further prodding, I have a pair of Born clogs and they are really really comfortable. What’s with this practice of removing one’s shoes at other people’s homes? Is it because of the snow? I like the alternative of bringing these along to wear.

  2. Jasmine
    December 21st, 2010 at 00:46 | #2


    It is only pretty rarely that I really notice the vast cultural differences between the Pacific NW and the rest of the US. I remember laughing hysterically when a friend’s sister asked if she was expected to wear pantyhose to our LIBERAL arts college graduation. But rest assured, clogs far crunchier than these are all the rage in Portland among ladies of all ages.

  3. December 21st, 2010 at 10:21 | #3

    I always remove my shoes when entering my home or someone elses. I think it is very much the norm here in Europe and in some places in the US (especially in Winter). The first pair of clogs are my favourite of the 2 but I don’t really understand the point of removing one pair of shoes to put on another but that’s just me! Happy Holidays, Karrie

  4. December 21st, 2010 at 10:52 | #4

    It’s all about the snow! And assorted dirt, salt and everything else connected to snow. Not only are your shoes wet, but usually dirty. The rule in our house is shoes off all year round for sanitary reasons, but when I’m attending something, such as a christmas party, I like to wear my high heels with my fancy dress indoors. I just don’t feel complete without them … I’m hosting a party this week and will wear my heels insdie my own home, as well, although usually we are a shoe free home.

  5. Mal
    December 22nd, 2010 at 06:29 | #5

    it is quite common here in the UK both ways, but moving much more to taking shoes off, or changing them. I do remember some delivery men at a friend’s house in Austria having shower-cap type shoe covers for inside the house, which they stopped and put on with no comment or request. The supermarkets there also sell multi-packs of little felt mules, which people are given at the door if they don’t have slippers with them. Perhaps it is more usual in countries with bad winters?

    Happy Christmas, Mal

    • December 22nd, 2010 at 07:38 | #6

      I like that idea Mal.
      I once read that Martha Stewart had a basket of new slippers or something by her door for guests to wear. …

  6. December 29th, 2010 at 12:05 | #7

    I adore clogs!!! I might be looking for a new pair this spring shaped about like these. I’ve been wearing clogs off and on for maybe fifteen years, and I never grow tired of the EASE they bring to dressing. Maybe I’m a lazy person, but I love shoes I can slip on and off! 🙂

    And I’ll echo the Europeans here… In France I was expected to take my shoes off when entering a bourgeois home (not the apartments of people my own age), but I was always offered a pair of slippers to wear. That was a nice touch–it kept my feet warm.

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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.