Bella Boutique’s Women’s Lifestyle Clothing Is Popular Addition for Princeton Shoppers
Bella Boutique is here to stay! Opened in April of 2015 in the Princeton Shopping Center, it was an immediate success.
“We have been so busy,” says owner Christina DiDonato. “The customer response has been incredible, and it has definitely exceeded our expectations.”
Co-owner with her husband Adriano DiDonato, who is general manager and buyer at the popular Bon Appetit, also in the Princeton Shopping Center, Ms. DiDonato is very pleased to be in this location. “A big plus at the shopping center is the easy accessibility and very convenient parking for customers.”
It was also very important for Ms. DiDonato to offer a uniquely pleasing environment for her shoppers. The boutique’s setting with stone-paneled walls and mediterranean-style motif, provides a very comfortable sense of space in a relatively small area. The fitting rooms with wrought iron appointments add to the overall charm of the boutique’s inviting atmosphere.
“This spot was available in the shopping center, and we wanted to be most effective in a small amount of space,” explains Ms. DiDonato, who also designed the interior. “I love piecing together outfits all day, and I loved piecing together the room. I knew I wanted texture, and I wanted to have stone as part of the interior.
“I wanted a Mediterranean feel in my design — that’s my theme,” she continues. “The inspiration for the decor is Italy and Greece, reflecting Adriano’s and my roots personally.”
Ms. DiDonato’s prior experience as a buyer and manager at Rouge, the popular women’s shop on Witherspoon Street, has been important to her in establishing her own place, she points out. And she is pleased that her former colleague Crista Baker, is now manager at Bella Boutique.
“The experiences at Rouge were invaluable to our success here. The fashion business is a relationship-based business. I wanted to build on the relationships I’d already established in the community, and offer another shopping experience. I wanted to fill the need of contemporary life-style fashion at the shopping center.”
What customers have come to associate with Bella Boutique is its wonderful selection of high end fashion choices. Its sizes, extra small through large, and styles are attractive to women of all ages, says Ms. DiDonato. “We appeal to everyone. Moms bring in their teen daughters, and we have granddaughters coming in with grandmothers. We have a lot of customers between 35 and 65, but it’s really everyone and all ages.”
What shoppers like is the variety, style, and comfort of the selection, she adds. “Our clothes are life-style, contemporary day-to-evening, and very transitional. It’s futuristic fashion, comfortable, yet trendy.
Across The Board
“Fashion today is across the board,” she continues. “It’s personal freedom. Long to short in length. Dresses are mini to maxi to full length. It’s everything. Versatility and flexibility are key. Many of the dresses can be worn by slender women or by those who are more full-figured, and we have tunics that can be worn as dresses by a petite person or as a cover-up on someone taller.”
Soft denim jeans, including the favored distressed look, continue to be very popular, and as Ms. Didonato points out regarding the latter, “The most popular question I get is. ‘Am I too old for this?’ to which I respond. ‘It’s all in how you style it.’ I wouldn’t pair distressed jeans, a crop top, and six-inch heels together for a mother or grandmother. I would style those same jeans with a longer, loose-fitting silk tank and sleek flat sandals. I always tell my customers, ‘It’s how you wear it, not a question of if you can.’”
Resortwear is a big item at Bella Boutique now. As Ms. DiDonato says, “This is a fun transition time right now, pre-spring. We have a great mix of new take-away resortwear and at the same time, a lot of holiday items on sale.”
Resortwear designers include Calypso St. Barth, Tart Collections, Amanda Uprichard, Rachel Pally, Velvet, and Ella Moss.
“The resort collection offers mostly silk, cotton, and cotton blends” reports Ms. DiDonato. “There is a lot of color and prints, along with some neutrals.”
Dresses of all lengths, tops, light weight sweaters, shorts, and jeans are among the popular choices.
Easy maintenance is key, she points out. “The resortwear is often easily packable, doesn’t wrinkle, and maintains its original shape after packing.”
Lucky customers anticipating an excursion to warm, sunny climes are enjoying all the choices, adds Ms. DiDonato. ‘We have a lot of button-top tunic-length shirts, also light-weight sweaters, including a wonderful open stitch cotton sweater in sand and white stripes, which is also available in solid blue.”
Another great-looking sweater features the always popular nautical styling, white with blue stripes. Sleeveless tops offer built-in layering in soft neutrals — a nice combination with soft neutral (gray) denim pants in geometric-style design.
“The nice thing is that some of the resortwear can move right into spring,” explains Ms. DiDonato. “This is a real plus for customers.”
Another definite plus for shoppers is Bella Boutique’s outstanding selection of accessories. Scarves, handbags, shoes, and jewelry are all available to complete the fashion statement, and are all selected with Ms. DiDonato’s emphasis on style and fashion forward expertise.
“I also want customers to know that the greatly anticipated Joie spring sandals will be here soon,” she says. “In addition, we always have the very popular Nest candles, which are in demand.”
Helping people to look their best is Ms. DiDonato’s mission and pleasure. “I am always available to assist people with fashion advice, and this includes going to their home to see their existing wardrobe and how it can adapt to new purchases. I can be a personal shopper for them, to help them find the best fashion style for their individual look.”
In addition, she points out customers are welcome to have shopping parties at the store, whether for a special event, birthday, or just for a fun evening.
“I am looking forward to a busy and fun spring,” she adds. “We’re excited to welcome our new neighbor LiLLiPiES, and we’re planning a Bella Boutique first year anniversary party. I want to continue to make a difference in someone’s everyday dressing experience. We have so many choices for them to find just what they need.
“Many customers are really coming in weekly because the turnaround is so fast. I buy only three of a lot of things — people aren’t going to see someone else in the same outfit. So, when you see something you like, move quickly, and don’t wait, or it could be gone!
“What I especially want people to know is that our success and customer service is based on honesty. Our priority is the customer and making sure she has the right outfit for her. This is a fashion intelligent time, and customers want to have the right look. I enjoy helping them so much. I love styling people from head to toe! It can be very creative, and so often, over time, the customers become friends.”
Bella Boutique is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. through 6 p.m. Hours will be expanded in the spring. (609) 454-5680. Website: www.bellaprinceton.com. Instagram is another popular connection. Find them @Bellaprinceton.