La bella figura is an Italian beauty motto. It translates to “the beautiful figure,” or “beautiful behavior.”
The essence of la bella figura isn’t about appearance as much as it’s about a woman’s way of being. It’s an ideal to strive for. What would a woman who embodied this philosophy act like? She would likely take some pride in her appearance, and do her best to look good and be well-groomed. But la bella figura isn’t about only looks, although that’s important too. It’s about a person’s style and way of being, not just about fashion or clothing.
A Social Philosophy
La bella figura is a philosophy that’s inherently social: it means to make a good impression on others. It’s about behaving with class and grace in order to maintain good relationships and to reflect the people around you well. The notion of la bella figura says that the way you behave communicates something important about and to those who are close to you, so you should always be your best self. The way you act ought to improve and strengthen relationships with others.
La bella figura is a beauty and social philosophy that means to make a good impression on others.
Basically, elevate the vibe instead of bring it down. A woman embodying la bella figura possesses an attitude and a way of behaving that improves the community she’s a part of.
Making a Good Impression
How might a woman make a good impression on others? There are many things she can do: Dress well, just for starters. Be on time to appointments or engagements. Be friendly and generous. Smile (maybe even if you don’t feel like it). Use open body language instead of being tense or closed off. Be honest and authentic in conversation. Avoid being lewd or crass. Be considerate of those around you.
To make a good impression in any setting, you want to be as self-aware as possible. Watch your body language because it can be very revealing. Watch your tone and volume of speaking (some people monopolize the conversation or talk very loudly when they’ve just met people and are nervous, and it can come off as rude!).
La bella figura is about behaving with dignity, while still being yourself.
Really, making a good impression isn’t that hard to do! Just be polite, memorable, and show your personality.
La bella figura is about behaving with dignity, while still being yourself. A woman practicing la bella figura will be naturally confident in social settings.
Beauty Is in the Details
The art and architecture in Italy reflect the inhabitants’ desire to create a world of la bella figura. The country has some of the most beautiful and impressive buildings, gardens, and sculptures in the world! Italian cities are organized around town squares where locals gather to talk and socialize. Italian churches, town halls, or other buildings are organized to create a sense of civic pride and harmonious community.
La bella figura is part of the reason for this. The concept begins small, with each individual being mindful of their behavior, which then scales up to the broader community, as far as to the entire country. The stunning beauty of Italy is proof that paying attention to the small details of how we behave and act for the sake of the la bella figura will have a macro effect on our entire community.
La Bella Figura’s Opposite: La Brutta Figura
We couldn’t write about la bella figura without mentioning the opposite: la brutta figura. This is the Italian idea that represents the opposite of being your best self: it means letting your worst side show. Maybe you were supposed to bring the wine to dinner, and you forgot. Maybe you said something crass and rude. Maybe you kept interrupting people throughout the night, or you got too drunk and caused a scene! In Italian culture, this means making a fool of yourself or doing something that reflects poorly on you.
The opposite, la brutta figura, means showing your worst side or making a fool of yourself.
But hey, we’re not perfect. We all have moments where we appear less-than-ideal. So try to pivot, shrug it off, and return to a more graceful la bella figura self next time!
Although it’s Italian, anyone can adopt the concept of la bella figura and apply it to their own life. Consider it cultural appreciation! La bella figura is knowing how to behave in any situation. It’s about being good to be around, no matter where you find yourself.
Click here to read more about Italian beauty standards.
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