The Sophisticated Lifestyle Boutique opens in Ann Arbor’s Briarwood Mall

Pennie Bailey, the owner of The Sophisticated Lifestyle, in front of her Briarwood boutique. (Pennie Bailey / The Sophisticated Lifestyle Boutique)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – A new women’s clothing boutique has opened in the Briarwood Mall.

Owned and operated by Pennie Bailey, The Sophisticated Lifestyle Boutique has evolved from an online store into a brick-and-mortar over the course of the past few months.

In an interview before the store opened, Bailey said she firmly believes that women can look beautiful in modest clothing, which is exactly what her boutique offers, along with season pieces and accessories.

Bailey said she caters to her customer’s inner femininity to keep them looking classy so that they can market themselves as high-value.

“A lot of the ladies that I sell to, they’re in their careers, they’re in a profession, they’re entrepreneurs,” she said. " They are wearing a certain type of clothing, and that is what I offer them."

Her customers tend to be between the ages of 25 and 35.

The store specializes in modest seasonal clothings ranging from dresses to tops and pants. (Sarah M. Parlette / WDIV)

The Sophisticated Lifestyle Boutique’s inventory is seasonal and Bailey picks pieces based on what colors are in season and what she is drawn to.

“For fall, I’m sticking with olive, ash mustard, burgundy (of course) and ivory. I let the season motivate my picking of things,” she said. She also includes some patterns, like leopard print, or florals in the spring, as well as some fun graphic shirts.

The brand’s signature color is light pink so there will always be a light pink item in the store, Bailey said.

“I go by what I like. I tend to go with the basics because I feel that accessories can really compliment an outfit, like a nice pair of earrings, necklace, watch or purse.”

Items in the boutique range from pleated skirts and pants to dresses, various types of tops and accessories.

The new women's clothing boutique also includes accessories including jewelry. (Sarah M. Parlette / WDIV)

Bailey was inspired to go into the clothing boutique industry by brands like White House Black Market and by her own experiences. She found that none of the professional clothes at bigger brands worked for her.

“None of the customers looked like me, whether it was age-wise or skin."

“I’ve just always loved fashion, anyway,” Bailey said, stating that she used to play boutique and business games online when she was younger.

The Sophisticated Lifestyle Boutique started online in 2019, which then grew into pop-ups. Her brand gained Bailey enough of a following to expand into her own storefront. Smiling, she said her goal is to have a boutique on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California.

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While putting her Briarwood location together she has still been selling clothing online or customers as well as take care of her sons, who she called her best friends. They may make appearances at the store as Bailey juggles operating the business, being a mom and helping her sons with online school.

The Sophisticated Lifestyle Boutique opened in early October in Ann Arbor's Briarwood Mall. (Sarah M. Parlette / WDIV)

The Sophisticated Lifestyle Boutique will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

A limited number of customers will be allowed in the store at one time but Bailey is willing to schedule private appointments for customers that are concerned with health and safety during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Opening a storefront during a pandemic is a risky business but Bailey took the leap after leaving her old job. With a background in dental hygiene and healthcare, she finally decided it was time to be her own boss. She said that the business side of things has been a learning experience and that she’s had to figure things out on her as different issues arise.

“I started from a kitchen table and now I have a brick-and-mortar,” Bailey said. “I’m ready for the next stage in life. The day I open my boutique to the public will be the day that I open to a lifelong goal.”

The women’s boutique opened in early October.

The Sophisticated Lifestyle Boutique is at 294 Briarwood Cir., between Von Maur and Champs Sports.

About the Author:

Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.