Sweatpants In Italy

There is a saying in Italian culture called “Bella Figura” and it relates to the idea of how people present themselves to society in the way they dress, act, and speak. While we have similarities of this in the US, nothing quite fully encapsulates “Bella Figura”.

The idea of “Bella Figura” makes sense and if you have or are going to spend time in Italy you will quickly notice how the majority of people here are dressed to the 10’s. While I am a fashion major and enjoy seeing something different and stylish compared to the Lululemon head to toe outfits in Auburn (no offense), I honestly miss parts of the American way of dressing.

I like to be able to dress up, which I have gotten to do plenty of in Italy, but I also want the choice to dress down, and Italians don’t have this option unless they want to be considered “Bruta Figura” (the bad version of Bella Figura). I understand it is their lifestyle and part of the culture, but I like to be able to step outside in my sweatpants, possibly unbrushed hair, and no makeup and be accepted that way.

Even though Americans don’t have the best reputation in other countries, and probably for some good reasons, I do appreciate the fact that we can be accepted for the way we are and not harshly critiqued because we decided to step out of our house in sweatpants. I believe in the saying “come as you are” (which happens to be a Nirvana song) because there is something comforting about being accepted exactly as you are in any moment and I don’t feel as though “Bella Figura” is accepting of that.

There are so many things I love about Italy, but this is one thing that I struggle with.


Katie Davis

A weekly field trip to a palace!