by Chrysa Smith

Ever have one of those experiences when you meet someone who just looks perfectly put-together? I’m not talking hair or makeup or even clothes (though that helps). But I’m talking about a fashion ‘look’ that seems effortless to the outside eye, except to those of us who know what a challenge it is to accessorize ourselves in a way that makes us look—and feel special.

So, while at a Zumbathon benefit event, I met Joanne Burdulis. And she was this lady. She had what seemed like graduated necklaces that graced and enhanced her torso, and bracelets that adorned her wrists. She had ‘the look’ that I’ve always admired and never imitated. And this was simply for not knowing where or how to begin. A lovely lady, Joanne not only explained that her jewelry line was from Willow House, a company that has done home-based sales of home decorating products for years—but that she would share with me some tips for getting that ‘look’ for NRFGP readers.

Now the Willow House  line (which I was not familiar with) is designed by Sara Blaine; a world-renowned jewelry designer since 1999. Designing what Joanne calls ‘collectible’ jewelry, it all contains real stones, real metals—not costume jewelry. And that probably explains why the ‘look’ can’t be pulled off with those discount brands from those sales bins at Marshalls (though sometimes you get lucky.) 

Joanne’s tips for getting the ‘look’?

‘Layering is key. When dressing your neck, start with your neckline and put on a shorter necklace that complements (not necessarily matches) your earrings. Next, add a statement piece mid-length (20-25″). Then make sure to go long—You’ll want to add one or two longer necklaces (36-44″) that play up your look. They could have a small stone, bead or pearl that ties in with one of the shorter necklaces, or choose one with a chain that is similar so that it ties your look together without being ‘matchy-matchy’. I love to layer necklaces that complement rather than match—very important.  It’s important to look balanced. Feel free to layer on pieces and check it out in the mirror. You can always add or take away until you feel balanced and achieve that styled look.

Don’t be afraid to mix your metals. Silver and gold/brass can be worn together beautifully. If you’re hesitant, wear a necklace that contains both gold and silver. From there, you can add other gold and silver necklaces of different lengths to your look. Do the same with your wrists by layering and mixing gold and silver bracelets as long as they complement each other. For a more dramatic look, add on some cuffs and agate stretch bracelets and you’re making a beautiful statement.

Add an earthy touch with natural stones. Use it as your base and add on necklaces featuring the same metal and/or smaller versions of the agate.

A ‘statement piece’ is a wardrobe must. It’s a fun way to add that pop of color that is so in style this spring, or it can play a more neutral role against a bright, bold top or dress.’

Sara Blaine offers pieces that can provide those looks, at a pretty decent price—I must admit (especially after looking at boutique jewelry that can be costume).  Silver and gold mix chain? Sara’s Mixed Metals Chain. Statement piece? South Beach Necklace in shades of aqua, lavender, cream and tangerine.

Check out the looks at  Joanne has offered to provide complimentary styling sessions to help women figure out what looks best on them—and a 25% discount off your first piece of Sara Blaine Jewelry (from Willow House)—-all for NRFGP readers! Take a peek and let the layering, and adornment begin.