The owners of La Contessa, the sprawling women's clothing boutique at Plaza Palomino, have no trouble identifying what keeps devotees coming back.

"Customer service," offered Kara Moeller, who runs the business with her father, Bob Couchman.

"That and merchandise selection," Couchman added. "We've always carried a lot of items."

The shop - which spans three storefronts - sells everything from casual to evening wear for proms and weddings, along with belts and Simon Sebbag sterling silver and gold jewelry.

La Contessa is the exclusive Southern Arizona retailer for Canadian clothing line Joseph Ribkoff, the official designer for Miss America.

It was also one of the first boutiques to carry Not Your Daughter's Jeans, which have gained a lot of attention and admirers after Oprah Winfrey gave them her seal of approval.

La Contessa marks 25 years in Tucson in November and is going on a third generation of customers.

"We've had a lot of lines we've outlived. The manufacturers closed, but we're still here," said Moeller.

On the fashion radar for spring: wider collars, shorter hemlines and dresses.

Trends may come and go, but one thing stays the same, Moeller said:

"We believe in getting the right fit, making women look perfect when they walk out the door," she said, noting that the store offers complimentary hemming. "Even if it costs us. That's the reason we're still here."


La Contessa, 2980 N. Swan Road, in Plaza Palomino; 325-5677;

• Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; closed Sundays

Contact Kristen Cook at or 573-4194.