Friday, November 28, 2014

How To Not Look Like a Crone When You're Honing in on 60

This is me before I discovered neutral dressing
I'm actually over 60 and I'm finding it harder and harder to get dressed everyday.  Once I reached 60, things started to change drastically...overnight.  And unlike the weight gain during pregnancy, this is something I can't exercise my way out of.  Few of my go-to outfits fit anymore.  Blouses don't button over the breasts that I had during that last pregnancy and I don't think I can get away with saying there's a baby in there this time.  Combine this with all the other shrinking and expansion that's going on in my body and the overall effect is...that woman sitting on the bench.

With age comes wisdom and I've migrated into a somewhat unexciting but stable wardrobe direction.  First of all, I dress minimally.  I only wear a few neutral colors - black, white, gray and tan...and only solids of these colors.  The only print I wear is an animal print or a maybe a subtle paisley in a scarf.  Wearing these solid neutral colors seems boring to many, however, I think they are classic and always look good when mixed and matched or worn color on color. Dressing like this also eliminates that Twilight Zone intro thing that went on in my head as I tried to put another outfit together.  Everything goes with everything in this case.  It's almost foolproof dressing.  Check out this Pinterest page for endless neutral inspiration.  Every look is wearable as they are or with minor substitutions or modifications depending on how trendy one is.  Also, I wear jewelry every day.  I don't wear as much as I used to wear, but I never leave the house without earrings, at least one bangle bracelet, a ring and a good watch.

I think the following suggestions are all good investments that will stand the test of time and not make you look like Uncle Tonoose as you age.  Most of the items are designer labels but I'm not showing most because you can find these looks just about anywhere and for considerably less money than couture.  Shop Nordstrom's, Macy's, Bloomingdale's and online.  When shopping online, be sure to create an account in the places where you find items you like. They will send you more offers than you know what to do with.  And always checkout sites like RetailMeNot where you will find coupons for a percentage off or at least free shipping. 
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Get a few turtlenecks (black, camel, gray - a little longer in the back if you can find them) but don't wear them exclusively or you will look like Kathryn Hepburn, who didn't wear anything else because she never got a neck lift.  Look for cardigan or boat neck sweaters (post neck lift) and wear with pants in the same color scheme for an elongated and sophisticated look.

A sedate neutral pallet.
A hipper look shown with the coat closed and worn with booties.  This coat would also look great worn open and with flats instead of boots.

Ferragamo Riding Boots - worth the investment at full price but you can find last year's version on sale.
Celine Bag.  Expensive but too gorgeous not to own.

Louboutin Black Pumps.  This height is very manageable - even for the over 60 set with the bunions and weird feet issues.  Well, maybe not the bunion people.

Good white shirt.
Great black pants.  These are St. John Emma Modern Tropical Wool Crop pants.  They are worth it because they fit like no other pants in the world.  In this image row, the bag, the heels, the blouse and these pants make the perfect outfit.

You can never go wrong with your animal print thing being a scarf.  Just be sure to only wear one animal at a time.
 
Another reason to have a leopard coat - it guards the bag.

This is what we call a "Glamour Don't"...what was she thinking ;0)


Short leather jacket or blazer.


A few long scarves - silk or pashmina will do.  Watch this handy video from Nordstrom on how to tie a scarf and allow this to be the color you add to your wardrobe.

Diamond stud earrings.  Buy the biggest you can afford.  Hang on to your receipt because most jewelry stores allow you to trade up in size. 
This is a combination of classic gold hoops but with diamonds.  Keep them on the small side - nothing over 40mm in diameter.  David Yurman 18K Gold .45tcw 23mm Diamond Crossover Hoop Earrings.  Available at bellatutto.com


Tiffany & Co. Elsa Peretti Bone Cuff in sterling silver.  Most don't realize this cuff is made for the right wrist and also for the left wrist.  Be sure to get the right one or it will hurt like hell.

And last but not least - The Little Black Dress.  There are so many to choose from you should have a few!



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What's New at Bella Tutto



Things have been very busy at Bella Tutto as we get ready for the upcoming holiday season.  We've worked hard to acquire a fantastic assortment of designer jewelry at low prices.  We have a lot of David Yurman jewelry right now but we also have Lagos, John Hardy, Judith Ripka, Roberto Coin and more. Here are some of our newest items.  With the holiday's quickly approaching, now is the time to make your purchase as these pieces will go fast!  So pour that big glass of wine, sit down at your computer and let's go shopping.  Nothing says Christmas like seeing the USPS, UPS or Fed-Ex truck with your package on it!

You can find these and more at bellatutto.com or call us at 267-607-9070 for personal assistance.


David Yurman SS/14K 10mm Buckle Bracelet
Retail:  $3300
Bella Tutto:  $1995


David Yurman SS/18K .86tcw 34mm Mother of Pearl & Diamond Classic Watch
Retail:  $7600
Bella Tutto:  $5000

John Hardy SS/18K .35tcw Large Round Mystic Pink Batu Sari Ring
Retail:  $2395
Bella Tutto:  $1250

Judith Ripka SS/18K .10tcw 10mm Pia Cuff Bracelet
Retail:   $1850
Bella Tutto:  $895

Lagos SS/18K 1.00tcw Pearl & Diamond Caviar Cuff
Retail:  $3000
Bella Tutto:  $1795

Roberto Coin 18K White Gold 1.67tcw Black & White Diamond Fantasia Hoop Earrings
Retail:  $5400
Bella Tutto:  $2695

















Tuesday, September 23, 2014

(Fans Do Not) Get Your Exclusive Authentic Replica of Claire's Ring Here!


Claire's Exclusive Authentic Replica Ring
I love the new Outlander series and I've waited a long time (like everyone else) to see the story brought to life on TV.  Love everything about it, but I and others (many others) really don't like the latest addition to the Outlander Official Store.  Expecting that fans will want to own a small piece of the legacy, the store offers all sorts of memorabilia.  The latest addition, offered right after "The Wedding" episode, is the exclusive, authentic replica of a ring Claire never wore, for $249.  I know there are serious Outlander followers, but we are discerning and although contrary to popular belief, we do not buy everything we see.  Not only is this item too expensive for what it is, IT'S NOT THE REAL RING!  With over 9500 overwhelmingly negative comments on Facebook, and backlash on the Outlander Store and Starz too, I'm sure the person who suggested this idea in the first place wishes that ring was a key again and could be used to lock themselves away until this blows over. Even Diana Gabaldon distanced herself and that must really be the death knell.


Claire's Thistle Ring
Claire's original thistle ring has it's own website found at the Author's Attic and can be purchased in sterling silver for about $50.  The only problem is the site cannot be accessed easily because there is a bandwidth issue.  I suggest you keep trying.  Oddly enough, many fan comments made on the Outlander Store page are directing those interested in the thistle ring to the Author's Attic site.  The marketing team at the Outlander Store probably never anticipated their ring would prompt people to buy something else entirely but this was a good lesson in reverse psychology and to never underestimate the intensity, the loyalty and the intelligence of Outlander fans.

From "The Wedding", EP 107

Monday, August 4, 2014

Should You Buy Jewelry on eBay?

Of course I'm going to say yes because I now run an eBay business that sells designer jewelry but I also sold this same jewelry in a high end department store for many years so I feel qualified to provide an opinion.

During my stores days I probably would have told you never to buy on eBay because you could never be sure if you were getting the real thing.  I knew where my merchandise came from since I was the one who received the boxes, checked in it and put it in the cases.  However, over the last few years while still in my store I noticed that more and more of my long time clients were coming in to show me their latest eBay bargain and asking me if it was real.  I hated to say it, but they were real and the client usually paid way less than the retail price of the same piece in my showcase.  I didn't need a brick to drop on my head to tell me that I needed to start paying attention to what was selling on eBay and other after market selling sites.

Thus a new eBay business was born.  We have fun looking for authentic designer jewelry anywhere we can find it and bringing to our cyber clients.  Many of our former customers started asking us to sell their unwanted jewelry for them and so a nice little consignment business was born too.  Plus, we are certain we are selling authentic pieces since we originally sold them to our client in the first place!

Just as you would cultivate a relationship with your favorite store sales associate, I suggest you do the same thing on eBay. Don't just look for a nice pair of earrings, but be sure to thoroughly check out the seller as well. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
  • Look for outstanding feedback scores.  Ours is 100% positive, which means we will do just about anything to make our customers happy - just like we did in the store.
  • Be sure your seller takes returns.  This means you should have no problem sending something back if you are not happy with your purchase.  Otherwise, you will have to open a case with eBay and perhaps do battle with your seller.  This can be protracted and not fun.
  • Try to find free shipping.  The best sellers try to offer free shipping as a convenience to the client.  If your favorite store ships for free (and most do) so should your favorite eBay store.
  • Look to see if your seller posts a phone number for you to call.  This gives you the opportunity to ask a lot of questions and can offer a buyer the same type of customer service you get in a store.  Our many years of client relations at the store level naturally spilled over into our eBay business and buyers who call are pleasantly surprised to find we offer this personalized service.
  • Read the fine print and carefully look at all the photos.  One can get very excited to see the David Yurman piece you almost bought in the store at less than half price on eBay, however; there might be dents in the end caps, or a missing diamond, or the chain might be 13" instead of  the 16" length you really need.  Know your merchandise and read carefully!
These are just a few of the more important things to be aware of before you click "Buy It Now" and the more you buy the more second nature these basics will become.

Bella Tutto Items of the Week



David Yurman SS/18K Extra Large Oval Link Necklace
Retail:  $3950...Bella Tutto:  $2550
David Yurman Sterling Silver .48tcw 7mm Blue Topaz & Diamond Bracelet
Retail:   $1900...Bella Tutto:  $1150
David Yurman SS/18K .50tcw Pave Diamond Metro Ring
Retail:  $2050...Bella Tutto:  $1195





Friday, August 1, 2014

Outlander's Caitriona Balfe Sparkles in Van Cleef & Arpels at Starz Screening in NYC



Outlander panel at 92nd St Y
On July 28th, fans of Diana Gabaldon's novel, Outlander, got an early screening of the book's upcoming television adaptation at New York City's 92nd St. Y. 

My sister treated me to tickets to the screening. She has been a fan of Diana Gabaldon's books for some time now and teaches Outlander in her romance novel class at George Mason University in Virginia. When we got to the 92nd St. Y, we found the place packed with hundreds of other Outlander fans, some of whom even dragged their kilt-wearing husbands to the event.  Note to self…think about buying husband a kilt. 


Much has already been written about the first episode screened that night, as well as the lively panel discussion with series producer Ron Moore, Gabaldon, and the charming stars of the show, Caitriona Balfe, Tobias Menzies, and a very red-headed Sam Heughan, that followed. Moderator Leslie Yazel, Executive Editor at Cosmopolitan, was funny as hell and could have career possibilities on Saturday Night Live. She guided her guests through the epic journey of adapting Gabaldon's story about a 20thC nurse, Claire Randall (Balfe) who time-travels back to the 18thC where she falls in love with a hunky Highland hero, Jamie Fraser, played by Sam Heughan. This is what happens when you are not careful around ancient stones that make strange noises. 



Caitriona Balfe
But forget those stones. Let's talk about the other stones on display during the discussion. The most striking thing I saw from my seat on Monday night was not Sam Heughan's thighs (you'll see plenty of that in the first episode anyway), but rather the jewelry Caitriona Balfe was wearing (this is a jewelry blog after all).  Balfe wore a beautiful flowered dress from Honor with a poor shoe choice (weird Mary Janes), but her jewelry was the star.  I  mentioned to my sister that I thought Balfe was wearing a Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra diamond necklace.  Her neck sparkled like crazy from where we were sitting and it was a little hard to make out the exact design with all that plaid in the way.  

Van Cleef and Arpels later tweeted that Balfe was wearing the storied jewelry firm's Folie des Prés earrings and ring, along with their Frivole necklace.  The ring alone retails for $56,500 and the necklace for $67,500. Gorgeous!


No time travel with these stones, but I think I hear them calling my name...



Folie des Prés diamond earrings
Folie des Prés diamond ring - $56,500
Frivole diamond necklace - $67,500

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Real Reason Mother's Day Is So Important

Mother 365 days a year when given
the right gift of jewelry.
Regardless of how angelic, beautiful, patient and wonderful your mother is, it is always possible for her to morph into Joan Crawford if the wrong (or zero) present is bestowed upon her on the one official day set aside for her each year.

Whatever you do, don't stop at the nearby Easter Flower ` Mother's Day Flower tent set up next to your local gas station.  That just screams you did not have a good gift ready and you were lazy about getting gas.  If your mother has a conglomerate of lillies, tulips, daffodils and hydrangea's of various colors and fragrances planted outside her front door then you know you do this sort of thing.

For you lazy people, please shop online.  Companies like Bellatutto, Portero, Gilt, eBay, Bonanza and other after market selling sites offer all types of jewelry, designer handbags and shoes, and other fine accessories that mom would love at prices you can afford.  Just click your way through your lunch hour and you can buy a great gift without lowering yourself to the obvious and unwanted gas station flower arrangement.

So the real reason Mother's Day is so important is if given the right gift (of jewelry preferably) you will not wake up with Joan pouring your morning coffee.

Your mother's alternative personality after given gas station flowers.
Some great Mother's Day gift ideas from bellatutto.com:

Charriol 18K White Gold 1.65tcw Flamme Blanche Diamond Bracelet - Retail: $9995 - Bella Tutto:  $4495

David Yurman SS/18K Oval Thoroughbred Locket - Retail:  $825 - Bella Tutto:  $575

Roberto Coin 18K WG/YG 1.00tcw Nabucco Pave Diamond Huggie Earrings - Retail:  $3690 - Bella Tutto:  $2195

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Why John Hardy Jewelry Stands the Test of Time

There are so many designer jewelry lines to pick from today it's hard to select just the right one.  Should you look for design, quality, wearability or price?  In my opinion, one designer meets those criteria and more...John Hardy.

Canadian designer and artist, John Hardy, started his company in 1975.  After visiting Bali in the 70's, the jewelry making industry there caught his eye.  He began learning the techniques of the local artisans and developed his first pieces by combining new artistic design concepts with the traditional Balinese jewelry making techniques.  His still largely hand crafted jewelry collections are inspired by the earth, water, flowers, architecture, buildings, windows and more.  In the 90's, Guy (pronounced "Gee") Bedarida joined the company as Head Designer and eventually took on the task of guiding the John Hardy business into the 21st century.  Together with CEO, Damien Dernoncourt, the John Hardy company strives in every way to be a sustainable brand corporately, artistically, humanly and globally.

 
It seems to me that people who are drawn to John Hardy jewelry respect the earth in which we live and want to support a brand that gives back.  I highly suggest if you ever see that Guy is doing a Personal Appearance in your local Neiman Marcus or Sak's Fifth Avenue, you run to that store to meet him and buy a piece of John Hardy jewelry.  To own a piece is like owning a piece of the earth!

If you can't make it to see Guy, please check out bellatutto.com for their current selection of John Hardy jewelry which includes three couture pieces for sale from a Guy Bedarida trunk show. 

Batu Silang Sterling Silver 18K Diamond & Red Sapphire Cuff.  Retail $4000...bellatutto.com $2400

Batu Silang Sterling Silver 18K Diamond & Red Sapphire Enhancer.  Retail $3650...bellatutto.com $2190

Batu Silang Sterling Silver 18K Diamond & Red Sapphire Ring.  Retail $2100...bellatutto.com $1250