Style File: Artistic Passion
By Matthew Hacke | Produced and edited by Andrea Bosco Stehle | Photographs by Michael Fornataro
For over 26 years, Lou Guarino Jr. of Upper St. Clair has combined his two loves in life — family and fine jewelry — into one incredible business. Guarino and his wife, Veronica, opened the first Louis Anthony Jewelers in the South Hills in a 900-square-foot space. Today, the couple occupies a 6,500-square-foot store near their former location. While the store has grown in size over the years, so has the number of family members who work there. Lou and Veronica’s oldest daughter, Amie, designs her own line of jewelry named Amelia Jewel and, along with Lou, handles the buying. Their son, Lou III, with Veronica, spearheads the marketing and advertising. He also manages the watch department. Their youngest daughter, Vanessa, is director of social media. Lou’s youngest sister, Andrea, has been a part of the team since 2001 and is head of sales. And more recently Lou’s cousin, Lea, joined the sales team part-time. While the remainder of the team doesn’t share Lou’s DNA, they are still treated as family.
“In terms of my passion for fine jewelry, there’s an innate artistry I get from my mother’s side of the family. My mother was an artist and I was always fascinated with her jewelry whether it was real or costume. My interest started at a young age.”
With his sleek watch and sentimental jewelry, Lou is always well put together in the style department — and he jokingly thanks his children and wife for that. “I love fashion and I love to shop.” Whether he’s shopping locally in Pittsburgh, on buying trips in New York City, or in Naples, Fla., where his family has a second home, Lou is always on the hunt for pieces to spice up his wardrobe. “It’s nice being in a profession like this where you can dress up,” he continues.
Aside from his closet staples, his most precious accessory these days is his first grandchild, eight-month-old Trey. “Much of my free time is spent enjoying him. If it were up to me, he would be here right now,” he says with a smile. Louis Anthony Jewelers, 1775 N. Highland Road, Upper St. Clair. 412.854.0310. louisanthony.com.
Where are your favorite places to shop?
Locally, Tom James, a custom clothier, makes all of my dress shirts because I like French cuffs and wear them every day. I’m a big Saks Fifth Avenue guy. Whenever I’m in New York or Naples, I’ll hit up the men’s department. My favorite off-the-rack designer would probably be Dolce & Gabbana. They have a good fit for me. Everyone has a different body type, so you really have to get into these stores and try different cuts on. Hugo Boss is another go-to.
How would you describe your personal style?
I try to keep it fairly simple. I do a lot of blue shirts with coordinating ties. I don’t wear a sport coat so much in the store because it gets hot. My outfit is about putting the right look together. If you look in my closet, you’ll see blue, black, or white shirts. It’s all trial and error. I have a section of mishaps in my closet as well that always end up getting donated. Occasionally, my wife and daughters will talk me into some stripes and bolder colors, but then I tend to not go for them all that often. I find my jewelry shows up better against a clean simple palette. On my days off I tend to wear all black. Usually I’m wearing Diesel Joggjeans. My daughter, Vanessa, discovered them a few years ago. They’re like the ultimate in comfort and style. So it’ll be Diesel joggers with a Boss or Burberry hoodie that my daughter, Amie, gave me. The untucked look is great for casual-wear right now and I’ve embraced that. I have three adult children and a wife that keep me in style. And now I have my grandson, Trey, who will keep me even more stylish in my old age!
Who are your style icons?
For me, it’s fashion designer Tom Ford. A simple black jacket or suit with a white shirt — that look can go anywhere. Although, fashion inspiration can come to me at any time — one year I was watching the Academy Awards and Neil Patrick Harris had on this burgundy jacket with black lapels, and I looked at my youngest daughter, Vanessa, and said, ‘I need that jacket!’ The closest I came to finding it was a Burberry jacket and I just wore it last weekend.
How does jewelry influence your fashion sense?
I think jewelry is a great opportunity for a man to express himself. You start to develop your own unique style by experimenting with different pieces. A nice watch is always a great starting point. Everything that I wear has some meaning — either my wife or one of my kids has given it to me. For example, my kids gave me a Saint Joseph medal that I wear every day. It is special to me because he is the patron saint of fathers. It is done by Brother Wolf, a Pittsburgh-based company. I don’t wear it for show. I keep it underneath my shirt, but it’s always there.
“I recently found some old movie footage of my family at Kennywood Park when we were kids. My dad and uncles were putting us on the rides while wearing sport coats, white shirts, and dress pants — on Italian Day, of course! We would never dream of doing that today, but I do believe you feel better and more in control when you look good and are well put together. It’s nice being in a profession where I have that opportunity.”