Working from home can take its toll on the way you look and feel. I’m sitting on the couch typing this on my laptop. No one can see me, no one knows whether or not I bathed today and combed my hair. So why worry about the concept of la bella figura? I could sit here picking sleep out of my eyes, drinking my third cup of coffee, or I can wash my face, put fresh clothes on, and face the day as if I am a part of it.

It’s easy to fall into a pattern of sloppiness and laziness. But then how does that make me feel all day? Would I be as productive as if I had dressed to go to an office?

When I leave the house, even if I’m just running to the post office or going through the Starbuck’s drive-thru, I’ve decided to dress for success. I don’t put on a suit and carry a briefcase, but I put on real pants, a cute top, twist my hair up off of my face, add a little lip balm, and I feel so much better.

I present who I am to the world.

I’m an elegant, successful woman. And I decided that every time I leave the house I will look like an elegant, successful woman. l look and feel in control.

I strive for la bella figura.

I talk often about cultivating la dolce vita, the sweet life. Would you hire me if you saw me in sweatpants and a dirty tee shirt sitting in a cafe? You’d think that I can’t even make my own life work, so how could I possibly help others.

The Italians have the concept of la bella figura. It literally means the beautiful figure. It’s about putting your best foot forward. Not just your body, clothes, and hair, but also behaving like an amiable person. It’s about treating people with respect, smiling at your local shopkeeper, setting a nice table, being nice to waiters, knowing proper manners, having social skills, being gracious.

You cast a beautiful figure.

When I go to my local coffee shop, I see people sitting at tables in pajama pants. In fine restaurants I see people wearing shorts and flip-flops. What does that say about them? What kind of figure are they presenting to the world? And what does it say about how they feel about the establishment? They don’t have enough respect for the restaurant to put on a pair of long pants, a decent shirt and a clean pair of shoes. Do they feel like they had a fine dining experience? They are missing out, because dressing up to go out is half of the fun.

La Bella Figura is about respect.

Respect for yourself. Respect for others. Respect for your community.

We could all use a little more la bella figura in our lives.

What kind of figure do you want to present to the world?