Wednesday, March 9, 2011

La Bella Figura

La Bella Figura.  The literal translation is "the beautiful figure" but it really means always putting your best foot forward.  In the Italian culture, there is a huge emphasis on looking your best, but it is even more than that. It is really a way of life.  This is a great article that, in my opinion, perfectly describes "La Bella Figura"

I agree with the writer of the article that it is difficult to compete with the perfectly elegant Italians, BUT I think I have figured out part of the secret.  BLATANLY HONEST SALESPEOPLE.  I have found none of the fluff that you experience in the States.  Here, if it looks bad, they tell you.  A few examples...

I received a gorgeous caramel colored leather skirt for Christmas but had nothing to wear with it.  I took it to a shop and picked out a few ivory sweaters to try with it.  When the saleslady asked if I need help, I said in my caveman Italian "yes this was a gift and I need something to go with it.  I am trying ivory."  She amazing understood my Italian and smiled and firmly said, "NO.  BEIGE."  She put away the ivory sweaters pulled out the beige and she was right.  They looked 100% better with the color of the skirt.

At my favorite shoe store, the saleslady is so honest, I won't buy anything without asking her opinion first.  Often, her suggestions are even the lower priced shoes.  She even was bossy to my husband, but his shoes look great.

At the salon, I asked for a shorter cut for my three year old and they refused.  They said because he still has so little hair, it wouldn't look good.  At my salon in America, they would have done whatever I asked and cut it right off.

I could go on and on, but I truly think that part of the reason Italians look so great is that they have help.


  1. Do you think the Italians can be very honest because other Italians can take the constructive criticism without taking it personally?

  2. hmmm... good question. I don't know. Perhaps it is more about getting repeat business through people looking nice that getting business through flattery