Inspiration Icon: Tinsley

When I’m not working, sleeping, or tending to the needs of a child, there’s a good chance I’m watching Bravo. I’m a super fan, especially of The Real Housewives of [fill in the blank]. Watching all those shows, I can’t help but be influenced by the women’s dazzling jewels (not to mention their clothes, handbags, summer homes, vacation destinations, etc.). So I often find myself buying pieces that are clearly inspired by their looks.

Today’s Inspiration IconTM is Tinsley Mortimer, NYC-socialite-turned-Palm-Beach-jailbird-turned-Real-Housewife-of-NYC-turned-Chicagoan-and-Future-Queen-to-the-CouponCabin-King. She’s uber feminine in her dress, but often chooses jewelry of the heavy-metal variety. Like, literally heavy. Stacks of bangles, giant watches, over-sized hoops. She favors yellow gold, and is never without an impeccable manicure.

One of Tins’ defining pieces is a gold chain that she wears either alone, typically as a lariat (see below), or layered with other pendants. I did some research* and learned that the real deal is made by Faraone Mennella and retails for $5,600. So, needless to say, out of my budget.

*The very best source I’ve found for intel on the brands of the Housewives’ clothing and jewels is a website called BigBlondeHair.com. I also follow them on LIKEtoKNOW.it.

My inspired-by necklace came from Nordstrom Rack and cost less than $30. I think the variation in the size and shape of the links nicely emulates Tinsley’s piece:

I found these other necklaces online that achieve the same look for less:

Nine times out of ten, Tins is also wearing some version of gold hoops, like these Bianca 2.5″ hoops from Jennifer Zeuner ($242):

Or these Dream 2″ hoops, also from Jennifer Zeuner ($198-660):

Or these Carmine 2″ hoops from–you guessed it–Jennifer Zeuner ($220) (noticing a pattern here?):

I scored this inspired-by pair from Gorjana for $60. These Chloe Hoops are no longer available on Gorjana.com, but I found them at various other online retailers, including Amazon and this random boutique in Texas. I wear these earrings all the time. They’re a beautiful rich gold that doesn’t look chintzy and they have a nice heft. They add a “California cool” vibe to any look:

Finally, Tinsley always has a forearm loaded with bangles, paired with a flashy watch. I personally couldn’t tolerate that much wrist weight all day (in fact, one of the first things I do when I sit down at my computer to work is remove all jewelry from my wrists and fingers). But it sure looks lux on her:

Sorry for the unflattering pic, Tins.

It appears she has on at least two Cartier Love bracelets, a Cartier Juste Un Clou bracelet, and a diamond tennis bracelet, not to mention that blinged-out watch.

I achieved this inspired-by look with three mixed-metal bracelets from Henri Bendel and my “vintage” Michael Kors gold bracelet watch:

Sadly, Henri Bendel recently went out of business (they had the best jewelry!), but there’s a ton of HB stuff still available on Poshmark, including the rivet cuff I’m wearing in this pic.

Here are some other affordable bracelets I found online that would layer nicely with a watch:


I think about what I’d say if I ever ran into Tinsley on the streets of Chicago. “Love your look!” Or maybe “Killer jewelry!” Or more likely I’d panic and trip up a curb or something. Better to stay a fan from a distance.

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