Walking into Piece by Piece Wear in St. Philip’s Plaza is nothing short of walking into your stylish best friend’s amazing closet.
And, according to owner Julie Penny, that’s entirely by design.
“It should be like shopping with your best friend,” said Penny, the engaging force—you meet her and you love her—of this Tucson boutique since the 90s. “I want it to be a great experience!”
And because Penny has customers ordering items from Piece by Piece from as far as New York and Louisiana, it’s clear that experience has cemented an incredibly loyal fan base. Her Facebook and Instagram feeds are not only filled with her luxe new arrivals, but also genuinely ecstatic reviews from first-time and longtime shoppers alike.
“My goal is whenever you get something from me, it becomes your go-to piece,” said Penny. “I want it to be like, ‘What did I wear before this?’” Ultra-soft lines such as Sundry, Tart Intimates and sumptuous tees by JET John Eshaya are just the start. “I want it to feel soft. I touch everything. It has to be soft to start, and then I look at it.”
“It all starts with what I want to wear and what my friends want to wear,” she said. In fact, every single piece of clothing at Piece by Piece is handpicked by Penny.
A science major at DePaul University, she credits a stint at a designer consignment store for her fashionable fate. “I just fell in love with fashion.” She and her husband moved to Arizona after she joked that frost began forming inside their apartment windows in Illinois. Though they initially thought Phoenix, Tucson’s inclusive community and charm won them over. “Everyone here says hello and smiles at you.”
Penny has since been a devoted promoter of all things local. She is the exclusive carrier of Tucson designer Annie Hammer’s jewelry line and mosaic stones by Rox, another talented local artist.
When the pandemic hit and closed so many Tucson businesses, she made sure to continue selling her items online and personally delivered them to her loyal customers. “It’s what kept me alive,” she said. Even now, when she can’t travel to her usual markets because of COVID-19, she treasures her designers and representatives who come to her, even customizing their lines for what her shoppers want.
“I love shopping at Julie’s store,” said Mindy Thomas, a frequent Piece by Piece shopper. “It’s my favorite place in Tucson to get cute, on-trend pieces. I always leave with a smile on my face, spending my money locally and looking fashionable.”
Oh, and right now, there’s a rare 50% off sale going on–the perfect time to discover your new favorite store!