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The Best of Summer 2016 Part V…Style

Welcome to the final chapter of summer sixteen’s “Best of…” series. This post highlights some seasonal style suggestions for the family. Here to handle the mother/daughter segment is the always-slaying Terra, whose return to blogging earlier this year was the most electrifying un-retirement to happen in the ‘Burgh since Lemieux in ’00. Everything that she does should be branded with the caption “Goals AF” and I highly suggest that you check ahht her site when you’re done enjoying our posts below. First up is my father/son part so let’s get on to it!

After my son was born, I struggled with maintaining the level of swag that I’ve grown accustomed to. Why spend time putting together a fly outfit if it would just end up adorned with spit-up in an hour? I immediately began to feel the pull of the Dark Side of Dad Fashion, and its promise of comfort through cargo shorts and crocs. But unlike Anakin Skywalker, I refuse to give in to the temptation. Though I rarely end the day without my son wiping some indiscernible schmutz on my outfit, the self-confidence that comes along with dressing well makes it all worth it.

Dressing my 3yo son presents a similar conundrum. He’s potty trained now so thankfully I do not have to worry much about the three p’s. However, much like his idol Hulk, it doesn’t take much time for him to wear-out even the toughest Toughskins. Thankfully kids clothier Carters manufactures plenty of stylish outfits that are reasonably priced so I don’t get too mad when he rips the buttons off his shirt to show me his muscles.

My go-to #OOTD for summer showcases a couple simple classics – a V-neck t-shirt and garment-dyed cotton shorts. This ensemble is available in a wide assortment of bright colors, but I’m embracing my inner Goth here. Not only does the monochrome look standout amongst a sea of pastel polos and boat shoes on the soccer field sidelines, they also serve as a sharp contrast to my boys’ colorful ensemble. There’s no chance I can complete with him as far as cuteness goes, so why even try?!?!


Item Sources: 9” Stanton Short & Slim Broken-in V-neck T-Shirt (both J. Crew), Jack Purcell Signature Sneakers (Converse), Leather Suffield Belt by Polo Ralph Lauren, Sunglasses by Rayban, Animal Squirters by Floatzone, Toddler Boys’ 2-Piece Striped Shirt & Shorts Set by Carter’s, Paw Patrol Canvas Sneakers by Walmart, Spiderman Sunglasses by Target, Southampton Bucket Hat by Grandparents

And now to Terra!!!

Best of Summer

So far, June 2016 >> June 2015. Do you remember how much rain Pittsburgh had last year? Wow! The difference is amazing. And I for one will take these steamy sunny days anytime.

Each season, I tend to find a few pieces that I want to live in. This summer is no different. For me, it’s all about the perfect denim cutoffs and off-the-shoulder anything. The only thing sexier than a clavicle (besides any other word) is an open back. Either are a great way to show off your bronze skin.


Speaking of… wear sunscreen. PLEASE. It’s so important. There’s nothing more stylish than when a person takes good care of their skin. I adore Neutrogena’s spray-on sunscreen. It’s light, smells great and doesn’t feel like a gross film on your skin. But how do you show off that aforementioned bronze then? Self tanner, all the way. There are a couple that I really like but Jergen’s makes a fantastic gradual self-tanner that smells nice.


And when you’re lounging by the pool or sliding your toes into sand, you need a phenomenal bathing suit and a great book. This monokini is polyawesome. It cuts in all the right places to not only show off your beautiful curves (even if you’re like me and don’t actually have natural curves) but to also sit still if you want to be active. I prefer to tap my inner sloth when I’m sunbathing so I defer to my books and magazines. “Primates of Park Avenue” is a really easy and entertaining read. Perfect for the pool or beach.


Now, to the little one. Stella plays hard and sweats like a mother. I don’t really sweat so that sentence is inherently erroneous but let’s not dwell on that. She insists on wearing dresses all of the time. If that’s what she’s going to wear when it’s 85 degrees, then the dress better be lightweight, able to withstand crude karate moves and sidewalk chalk art. This dress has been in heavy rotation along with these comfy sandals. The sandals are fantastic because she can run around in them all day without earning blisters or the stinkiest of feet.


I’d also like to take a moment to call your attention to GoldieBlox. Stella is obsessed. They’re fantastic kits that teach girls (or whoever wants to play with them) engineering, math and building skills. There are stories and dolls and all of the typical “girly” equipment, but they’re not just fluffy cupcake toys. They actually teach important skills but they’re wrapped in a package that is attractive to little girls. If you know a little girl and she doesn’t have GoldieBlox, help a sister out and get her started with one.

I hope you enjoy your summer as much as I plan to! Just remember to protect your skin, nourish your brain a little and wear something sexortable. That’s sexy and comfortable ALL AT THE SAME TIME. What could be better?




on mom
Top: Modern Citizen
Shorts: Free People (available at Shopbop)
Shades: ASOS
Bathing Suit: L*Space (available at Shopbop)
Sandals: Joie
Nails: Essie Big Spender

on daughter
Dress: Old Navy
Sandals: H&M
Shades: Old Navy
Bathing Suit: H&M (also have this one)


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Pittsburgh Guest Blogger Event 2016

Welcome to the 4th Annual Pittsburgh Guest Blogger Event! Much like the Hunger Games of Panem, this yearly occasion is meant to entertain and provide a brief distraction from all of the world’s oppressive problems (poverty, suffering, Trump, etc.).

Today’s guest post comes to us from Jessa, the stylish and swashbuckling creator of the blog Wavy Alabaster. After reading her musical musings about the iconic Stevie Nicks, don’t forget to check out all the other participants in this year’s event by clicking on the links in the coda. Happy reading!


Stevie Nicks is the mother of all style inspirations. The Reigning Queen of Rock n’ Roll, to no one’s surprise, is a great influence to my curated style. Before you go pulling a version of the quote from The Devil Wears Prada, “Stevie Nicks? For your style inspiration? Groundbreaking.” read me out. I too rejected Stevie’s influence at one point, actually pretty recently. I felt what every writer/creative/style-driven blogger fears most: being cliché. But, I got over myself quickly. I did not revere Stevie because it is popular to do so. The deep admiration was born from a pure space. It started with hair (It’s always starts with hair).A picture stumbled upon me while navigating the dreaded middle school years, the time of JNCO jeans, over-sized WNBA jerseys and a leather choker with a basketball pendant, basically my style low point. She saved me in the nick of time. The details of this specific moment fail to come into focus, but I distinctly remember Stevie, her style, and those locks.

Image from the late 1970s. Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

Image from the late 1970s. Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

Drawing inspiration from the legendary Stephanie Lynn Nicks was easy. Converting this influence into a tangible every day wardrobe and attitude is a bit more challenging. Below are tips n’ thoughts I’ve amassed to merge the style of an icon with that of your own.

Just try

“I am pretty fearless, and you know why? Because I don’t handle fear very well; I’m not a good terrified person.” – Stevie

When I initially was introduced to Stevie, my self-presentation was not automatically changed. As my personal style was built, experimenting with looks I now cringe over, the musician’s influence grew and eventually blossomed to the forefront. The biggest step was taking the initial leap in experimenting. The label “style icon” does not stumble upon an individual, it is built and assembled. It might not be perfect at first, but keep going. It might not be perfect at attempt ten either, but alas, keep going. When you are ready to take the leap, I would…

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Processed with VSCOcam with m3 preset

Start with one.

“But time makes you bolder…”

Start with one piece. Land on a look which draws your attention and interest, and don’t limit yourself to just the clothes. Style is a form of expression and clothing is just one puzzle piece. Attitude, makeup or lack thereof, tattoos, accessories (hello hats!), hair or lack thereof all fit together to create one cohesive picture. Maybe the color palette draws your eye or the wild strand of hair dancing in the wind; whatever it may be start there. Now build from that one sliver of inspiration. Add on additional influences as you feel comfortable. However, warning to the wise, beware of…

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“I want to be age appropriate. I don’t want to be that girl you see walking away and she looks 25 and then she turns around and she looks 90.”

This three-letter word; never forget it. Stevie rocked the tight cropped tops that we swoon over from the 70’s better than anyone. The looks are tough and sexy and freeing. I’d love to strut down the Strip in this look, but a cropped top rocker will never be added to my style resume. It is not in the cards for my body type. People notice poor fit before they notice good style. Be mindful of your own body shape and how you can rework looks to fit you. Instead of a crop top, I opted for this vibrant vintage tank top with a plunging neckline from Eons or this Free People bodysuit.You and your body are the foundation so always remember…

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Don’t lose YOU

“I didn’t want to look like anyone else – like Janis Joplin or Grace Slick. That’s why I never went to any of the big designers.”

Set aside her haunting voice and mystical style, Stevie was and is unapologetically herself. Through the ups and downs served on a public platter, she maintains a fearless sense of self. If nothing else, hold onto that lesson from Stevie. Be you. Style inspiration isn’t a copy and paste process. The fun lies in creating looks that fit your lifestyle and enhance your being. After all, “it’s only right that you should play the way you feel it.”

And, if you are having difficulty merging your personal style with that of Stevie, or any other style icon for that matter, give me a shout and let’s go create together.

All good blog posts end with a shameless plug, right?

Cheers, Jessa

Wavy Alabaster links: Blog / Instagram / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest

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2016 Pittsburgh Guest Blogger Event participants: Harvest + Bloom // Yes, Wear That! // jelly jars // Glam and Graffiti // To The Streets // In Pursuit // Pittsburgh & Pearls // Beezus Kiddo // Goodness Madness // Last Minute Panic // Steel City Intrigue // Crank Crank Revolution // Amanda Narcisi // Pittsburgh is Beautiful // From Cats to Cooking // Yum Yum PGH // Breelicious Bites // Parmesan Princess // Coffee & A Blonde // The Steel Trap // Wavy Alabaster // everybody loves you… // Eat with Emily // Don’t Forget to Eat // Sloping in the Sky // From Farm to Turntable // Secrets in the Wall // Red Pen Mama // Feedback Soup // The AP Collection // Blog Or Die PGH // Pittsburgh Happy Hour // Friendly Fitness Foodie // Small Town Dad // Josh’s World // Geeky Sweetie // Sean’s Ramblings // Lunges, Long Runs and Lattes // Try it and You May! // lil Burghers // Orange Chair Blog // Ya Jagoff // Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents // Melissa Firman

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The Best of Winter Part IV…Style

Welcome to another installment of our seasonal style guide. With me, as always, is the stylish white female and fashion blog O.G. Terra [Terra: Party on, Alex! Alex: Party on, Terra!]. We’re here to highlight some of our favorite father/son and mother/daughter ensembles that are delightful even when the weather outside is frightful.


Three words best summarize my approach to winter style – cardigans, cardigans, cardigans! Here I put together a chunky lambswool cardigan with a pair of straight-leg, dark-rinsed indigo denim jeans. Corduroys would have made a solid choice as well but when I have my toddler in tow, I usually default to jeans since they’re easier to clean after he invariably wipes something gross on them.

style_me::outfit details::
Alex – Cardigan and Shirt: J. Crew, Jeans: Fidelity (from Nordstrom), Boots: Wolverine, Scarf: FC Zurich Club store in Switzerland
Finn – Jeans and Spider-Man hat: H&M, Shirt: Gap, Shoes: Stride Rite, Sweater: Crewcuts by J. Crew

Though gingham is typically associated with spring and summer, a darker shade (such as navy) is versatile and wearable all year round. Completing the outfit are comfy cotton socks, cap-toe leather boots, and a colorful scarf representing FC Zürich.

My toddler’s outfit also starts with the basic “sweater over a button-up” ensemble, but is given a shot of panache by the skinny-fit red jeans and stylish sneakers from Stride Rite. And since he won’t leave the house without at least one super-hero adorned piece of clothing, a Spider-Man winter hat provides the perfect finishing touch.

Now let’s turn this over to Terra for her wintery #OOTD selections and a bonus book recommendation!

style_terra::outfit details::
Terra – Sweater: Joie, Jeans: Joe’s (from Jack & Jules), Tank: H&M, Shoes: Zara
Stella – Leggings: H&M, T-shirt: Zara, Boots: Zara

Let’s talk some truth – I’m not built for winter. My hometown is a notch in the snow belt, so you’d think I would have the mettle for the cold. The truth is as soon as temperatures dip below 60, I’m wrapped in the warmest clothing I can find and I stay that way until Memorial Day.

While I love to get dressed up for holiday parties, more often than not you’re going to catch me in snuggly sweaters and jeans. So let’s break down some winter casual gear.

If I’m going to wear the same thing day in and day out, it had better not bore me. This Joie sweater looks good with everything. From a simple black dress with over-the-knee boots to my favorite skinny jeans and a white tank, this long, snuggly sweater goes the extra mile. Seriously, I cannot stop wearing it. On cooler days, I grab my black booties. But we’ve had some scorchers this year, so I’ve been grabbing my strappy flats more often than not. They’re comfortable but snappy, so if I haven’t had time for more than a bit of dry shampoo and a swipe of lip gloss, I’m still pretty pulled together.

Now how about that kid of mine. Well, she’s a dress kind of gal. But when I can get her in a pair of pants, these are my (her? no my) favorites. Simple black skinnies with bad ass faux leather knees. The Minnie long-sleeve T keeps everything from getting too serious. Especially when your gaze gets to her feet and she’s stomping around in her patent leather combat boots. Stella means business at all times.


Are you in a book club? The one I joined earlier this year is not only full of pretty amazing women, but I haven’t been this motivated to read since my Stephen King days (a long time ago). We’ve plowed through several books. “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern is our most recent. I’m in the middle of it so I don’t want to say anything definitive about it. What I can say is that I’ve been entertained thus far. It’s worth a look if you enjoy a plot centered on the impossible.

Between a comfy sweater and a good book, I hope you all stay warm this winter! Believe me and my many years of searching when I say warmth does not have to be frumpy. And when you find something that works, don’t be ashamed to wear it daily.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

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My Mixtape Monday – October 19, 2015

First Name: Niki
Twitter: @nikiwhittle
Sex: Female
Age: 35

Occupation: Personal style consultant (nikiwhittle.com) textile designer, style blogger (stylestudsandlace.com).

Mixtape Name: Forever Favorites

Side A
1) No Rain by Blind Melon
2) I’m Just a Girl by No Doubt
3) The Mob Goes Wild by Clutch
4) Kill Your Own by Hundred Reasons
5) Alive by Pearl Jam
6) Cosmic Love by Florence and the Machine

Side B
7) Paranoid by Black Sabbath
8) Blessed Hell Ride by Black Label Society
9) Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac
10) Kashmir by Led Zeppelin
11) Stone the Crows by Down
12) Crown Of Thorns by Mother Love Bone

Liner Notes: My husband and I have quite a lot of CD’s between us and it’s quite an eclectic mix too (James Brown, Ugly Duckling, Tori Amos, Clutch, Talvin Singh, Down, Fleetwood Mac kind of eclectic) so I’ll often struggle to choose what to listen to.

I’ll walk up to the shelves where they’re stacked and start reading through the albums but despite my best efforts, 80% of the time I’ll just give up and grab one of the CD’s from the pile on the floor – the ones we listen to the most. My forever favorites.

I was trying to think what it was about these tracks that I love so much, and then I realized that each one carry’s a memory with it. I made the best of friends through a shared love of music, music is what brought me and my husband together and we listen to it all the time wherever we are in the world so most of my memories are linked to a particular album.

These tracks carry my happiest memories, they move me in some way, they make me dance, they make me happy and sometimes they make me cry. They will forever be my favorites and I could listen to them over and over again.

YouTube Playlist Link: Forever Favorites


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The Best of Summer 2015 Part IV…Style

“Summertime, and the living’s easy
Alex is on the blog again with Terra McB!
All in the people in the ‘Burgh will agree that we’re
Well qualified to represent the P-I-T.”

Welcome to the latest installment of the “Best of Summer 2015” series! This time we’re covering summer style, and who better to assist me than the Mario Lemieux of Pittsburgh fashion bloggers – Terra aka The Stylish White Female.

We’ve put together family play date outfit combos that are a sure bet to look good at any arts festival, birthday barbeque or Kennywood picnic that you attend this summer. We’ve included some recommended summer reading selections as well – The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (Ages 2-5), Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty (Ages 5-7), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (Ages 12 and up) and Possible Side Effects by Augusten Burroughs (um…I’m 38 and some of his past stories have disturbed me so I’m not really sure what age is appropriate).

First up is my pick for father/son. I am trying my best to not go gentle into full “soccer dad” regalia, so no cargo shorts and “Bazinga!” t-shirt for me. Linen pants in a subdued madras pattern add a nice shot of Kennebunkport-swag, whilst the solid V-neck t-shirt and leather flip-flops ground the outfit for casual get-togethers. No summer outfit is complete without sunglasses, and this pair from Norman Childs are the bombdiggy.

Carters Baby Boy Captain Monkey Stripe Shirt, Jumping Bean Navy Shorts, Koala Kids Boys' Hard Sole Trek Sandals, Lands End Canvas Madras Linen Pants, J. Crew Slim Broken-in V-neck Tee, Norman Childs Sunglasses, UGG Australia Bennison Beach Flip Flops

Carters Baby Boy Captain Monkey Stripe Shirt, Jumping Bean Navy Shorts, Koala Kids Boys’ Hard Sole Trek Sandals, Lands End Canvas Madras Linen Pants, J. Crew Slim Broken-in V-neck Tee, Norman Childs Sunglasses, UGG Australia Bennison Beach Flip Flops

Though I firmly believe that sport sandals are a fashion felony for adults, I’m alright with my toddler wearing them since they can transition to water and sand activities quite effortlessly. I’m also not crazy about putting Finn in light-colored shirts since he is a magnet for dirt/grass/ketchup stains, but he loves monkeys and this Henley slub jersey tee by Carters is one of his favorites.

Now it’s time to turn this blog over to the Fresh Prince to my Jazzy Jeff – Terra McB!


Alex, you represent my inner 90s rap lover so well.

It’s Play Date Night! What to wear to keep things simple? Here we have my current favorite foundation piece. The T by Alexander Wang dress is so comfortable it feels like wearing jammies. But it’s polished enough to go anywhere and look great. A denim jacket tied around my waist looks kind of cool according to the kids and is functional just in case we play inside with some AC. Simple slides keep the look chic and easy.

Play Date Night 3

Dress: T by Alexander Wang, Denim jacket: Jupe Boutique (old), Strappy heels: Zara (old), Sneakers: Nike, Gold collar: Alexis Bittar, Watch: BCBG, Kids shades: Janie & Jack (old), Chambray dress: Target, Adult shades: Moorea Seal, Sandals: ASOS

Stella requests a dress every single day. That’s fine by me but if she’s going to run around in a dress, it had better be light and breathable. I love this chambray one. It’s got the cutest details and it’s super lightweight. The Nikes help her run faster than we’ve ever seen before and jump higher than anyone ever has. She’s perfectly adorned for sweaty adventures with her best pal.

PlayDateNight2 copy

Speaking of best pals, there is little I love more than an evening with my husband. I like to look good without trying too hard, which means the simple dress that works so well for a play date can also heed the call for date night. Remove the denim jacket, add strappy heels, a gold collar and a favorite scent to finish it all off with very little effort.

Voila! Play date night is a start to finish style success. Enjoy the summer everyone!

PlayDateNight1 copy

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The Best of Summer 2014 Part V…Style

Welcome to the fifth and final “Best of Summer” feature! This time we’re covering summertime style, and who better to help me out than Pittsburgh’s premier paragon of fashion – Terra! I could go on and on telling you about how awesome Terra is, but it’s just easier to just point you here and here and here so that you can learn about her from far more credible sources than moi.

We put together the best summer #OOTD’s to help show everyone that being a suburban soccer dad/mom doesn’t mean you still can’t look fly. Enjoy!


Norman Childs Sunglasses, J. Crew 9” Club Shorts, Brooks Brothers Golden Fleece Polo, Timex Military Watch, J. Crew Nautical-stripe Belt, Van Doren Era Shoes, Gymboree Bear Hat, First Impressions Stripe Shirt, Hand-me-down Sunglasses, Baby Gap Cargo Shorts, Pampers Cookie Monster Diaper, Keen Kids Newport H2


Shirt: Goodnight Macaroon, Cutoffs: Banana Republic (cut by me), Earrings: Jupe Boutique, Wedges: Steve Madden via T.J. Maxx, Bag: Coach, Sunglasses (adult): H&M, Tank: Target, Sunglasses (girl) and sandals: Janie & Jack, Shorts: Target

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Please Dress Better Tip #16 – Ties

Though they’re not the most comfortable accessory, no piece of clothing symbolizes man at his best more than a necktie. They are an essential element of military uniforms, formal wear and office attire, and their presence can escalate even an otherwise-naked bear to above-average status. Ties can also deign casual with jeans and a sport coat to create a stylish-and-only-somewhat-douchey outfit that’s good for an outing to a swanky gastropub or speakeasy. Whether a necktie is a daily wardrobe staple or only worn occasionally for court dates, choosing the right one is paramount to looking good and below are some tips to aid in this process.


Though the risk wearing a tie with a clashing shirt may seem like the biggest fashion hurdle to overcome, in actuality the most common mistake is one of faulty sizing. The proportionally appropriate tie width for most men is 2.75” to 3.00”. Unfortunately, the standard of most bread-and-butter department store ties is 3.25 inches*. This is just too broad for anyone not built like Chris Christie or Jared pre-Subway

At the other end of the spectrum are skinny ties. These are typically 2.50" wide and are loved by hipsters everywhere because of their sleek minimalism. Regrettably, their super-slim design can make the average bro look a bit tubby and therefore should be approached with a bevy of caution. Most stores only denote their tie widths online so a good rule of thumb when shopping in the real world is to check the widest point of a tie against a credit card. If it just covers the numbers across the front, it’s good to go.

Tie length is usually a less tricky characteristic to deal with. Most ties measure around 58” long, which with a basic Four-in-Hand knot** should leave the tie tip right at the belt buckle. Tall men can easily deal with shorter ties by reeling in the skinny end, but diminutive dudes are f*cked. The best thing for them to do is to have a tailor shorten the tie by taking a couple inches off the back. This is a relatively simple alternation and shouldn’t cost more than ten dollars.


Along with size variations, ties range in the fabric they are constructed of as well. Silk is the preeminent material and its medium weight allows it be worn year round. Linen and cotton ties work best in the summer months due to their unstructured, whimsical nature. Ties made from heavier fabrics such as flannel and wool possess the heft required to look apposite with layered outfits in the winter. Bolo ties are crafted from leather rope and metal and are only recommended for Texas oil barons and Beverly hillbillies.

As far as matching ties to shirts, the safest rule to follow is busy tie/plain shirt or vice versa. A solid colored tie looks best when it picks up on one of the undertones of a tattersall, gingham, or micro-check patterned shirt. The diagonally striped repp tie pairs deftly with solid oxfords and other button-down collar dress shirts. Repp ties are a great way to advertise the colors of a favorite college and are the perfect mate for a navy blazer. Finally, a tie that looks like a fish or is adorned with cartoon characters should be avoided at all costs…unless the wearer’s goal is to maintain celibacy. 


* I had a tailor narrow a few wide ties for me some years ago and I don’t recommend it. The ties came out looking like a shell of their former selves and never seemed to lie correctly post-surgery. If you own a wide tie that you love, just start eating more and exercising less and eventually it will look good on you.

** The Four-in-Hand is my favorite knot since it represents a nice compromise between simplicity and style. More ostentatious knots, such as the Half Windsor and Full Windsor***, take a bit more practice and need to be matched-up with spread-collar shirts and huge heads.

*** Not to be confused with the Full Nelson, which was the signature wrestling move of George “The Animal” Steele.

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Please Dress Better Tip #15 – Deal Breakers

A review of the couples in my social stratosphere has convinced me that women have an extremely low bar when it comes to their significant other’s fashion sense. This is quite a boon to the world of men since most guys dress like sh*t. Despite the fairer sex being extremely lenient when it comes to their partner’s style choices, there are still some fashion faux pas that can make the ladies exclaim “Oh Hell No!!!” For example, my wife absolutely hates it whenever I wear sports jerseys, Air Jordans, or a baseball cap broke off to the side. What I think is “keepin’ it real”, she thinks looks stupid and loathes being seen with me in public whenever I’m adorned as such. Though I find her repugnance for street-wear faintly racist, I’ve nevertheless phased out most of these articles of clothing from my closet so that I can stay in her good graces.

Unfortunate style choices like the one above are best described as “deal breakers” and are the visual equivalent of a guy suggesting to a girl that she go to the gym more often. These things guarantee that the possibility of romantic action is rendered null and void. Interestingly enough, men don’t really have deal breakers when it comes to women*. If a guy makes a date with a girl and she actually shows up, that’s usually enough for him.  But if that same guy shows up to the date in Crocs, well, no matter how charming he may be, nookie is going to be off the menu. I’ve asked some of Pittsburgh’s finest women** to comment on their own deal breakers when it comes to guys’ appearances and the responses are below (along with my two cents). If you don’t know, now you know!

Caitlin (@Prettyburgh):

I think everyone has a right to their own personal style. Rat tails, day-glo, odd facial hair, belly shirts, etc.  There is someone out there for everyone! But a pet peeve of mine is seeing a butt when I would prefer not to.  Buy pants that fit.  And if you don’t, can’t, or won’t, there are several ways to hold up your pants, even if you refuse to buy a belt, ie: rope, suspenders, headphone/telephone/extension chords, staples, old seat belt, long necklaces, tape measure, scarf, yarn, duct tape (for those of you who are into that sort of thing), or anything long and tie-able that you might find lying around.  OR, buy/find nice comfy pants that fit.  Butts, be gone!

My biggest pet peeve is NOT seeing a butt when I would prefer to!

Gabby (@PrimpedinPGH):

Call me picky but I could probably write a book on my pet peeves with the way “men” dress. I moved to Pittsburgh 2 years ago and it didn’t take long for me to realize that guys just do not know how to dress in this city. I’m sorry but you do not need to live in a big, metropolitan city to dress well. Dressing well does not mean you have to have a ton of money or that you have to wear what everyone else is wearing. It means that you are wearing what fits and what presents you in the best way possible. That being said, here is a list of Primped in Pittsburgh’s big no- no’s when it comes to the way males dress:

1. Jorts: Whoever created this so-called fashion should be ashamed of themselves. Not only are jorts hideous but they make a man’s legs look very disproportioned. It should be a crime for a guy to wear anything that resembles these.

2. Baggy or Really Skinny Jeans: Fit is absolutely everything when it comes to clothing. Therefore, really baggy jeans or really skinny jeans are both fashion mishaps for guys. This one is pretty self- explanatory…

3. Timbs: Some girls may be into the whole work boot idea but I know I am not. Work boots belong at work. Add some baggy jeans to the mix and you have a fashion disaster! This guy I dated in college wore Timbs and baggy jeans. I am embarrassed to even admit that…

4. Socks: Okay I am not against all socks because not wearing them with sneakers would be gross. However, is it necessary to wear socks up to your calf? No, I do not think so. Some guys just don’t have a clue!

5. Dirty Tennis Shoes: Have you heard of a washer? Did you know that you can actually wash your sneakers in the washer like you do clothes? Wow what a concept! Better yet, ditch the tennis shoes unless you are going to the gym.

6. Mismatched Outfits: Okay guys I am not asking you to go crazy matching colors and prints but is it so hard to try to wear clothes that go together? For example, don’t wear plaid and stripes in the same outfit. 

7. Bad Grooming: While grooming may not exactly fall under the fashion category I can assure you it says a lot about a guy’s image. If you care anything about impressing a woman please be sure to take care of yourself. Wash your hair, shave when necessary (a little scruff never hurts), get hair cuts…I think you get the picture.

8. Affliction, Ed Hardy, Etc. Shirts: This trend died about 4 years ago. It was fun for a little while but now it needs to go. There is no reason to wear these shirts. I don’t care how big your muscles are or how juiced up you are; change into something else. 

9. Orange Tans & Spikey Hair: Okay this one kind of goes along with #8 but please just stop with this “trend” it’s not getting old, it is old…

10. Anything Tucked In: Yeah not much to really say about this one…

Number three on the list really hits home for me since when I was in college, I routinely wore Timberlands, baggy camouflage pants and Wu-Tang Clan t-shirts. Interestingly enough, both my wife and Gabby are from Buffalo. I wonder what it is about that town that makes their women so opposed to “keepin’ it real”? Must be the lake-effect…

Emily (@emilylevenson):

What makes me go ewww: 

  • Pants that are buckled UNDER the butt and hang around the knees. Seriously, what’s the point?!
  • Socks and sandals. 
  • Tevas. 
  • Gross unkempt feet in sandals. Dudes should take care of their toes too. 
  • Tapered, acid wash and/or super ripped jeans. 
  • Stillers jerseys and dress shoes. Contrary to popular belief, jersey’s aren’t formal wear.

I’m all for showing team pride, but whenever someone wears a football or hockey jersey over their business casual attire, it looks confusingly dreadful. As a rule, you can only wear a jersey over dress clothes if you were just drafted and are standing on a podium next to the team president.

Leah (@BrazenKitchen):

My big pet peeve are guys (and girls) wearing screaming branded shirts – e.g. that gray shirt with the big Old Navy/Gap/American Eagle logo. you know what i’m talking about. especially when worn with jean shorts or pleated pants AND sneakers. That’s the look i just love. lol. its like you paid Old Navy $10 to advertise their brand. if you’re going to they should at least pay you. 

Whenever I see someone with an outdated Old Navy 4th of July flag t-shirt, a little part of me dies inside.

Aire (@Aireeeeee):

Since I work in the fashion industry my friends and family always expected me to end up with the male version of myself, but come on, who needs that many sparkles in one couple. So believe it or not I’ve narrowed down my fashion dealbreakers to bad jeans and lack of coordination. And for the record, I’m not even talking expensive, designer jeans, I just don’t want to see you in dad jeans, or for that matter the same brand your dad wears (unless he has more style than you). I would bet that men spend 80% of their lives in jeans, why not invest???? And coordination, I can’t work with you if you don’t get that brown goes with navy, and black goes with black. It seems simple enough. :) 

As a man, I don’t think I’m even actually allowed to say the word “sparkles” much less wear them. 

Terra (@spicymeatball):

Sometimes a man’s style is less about a choice and more about ignorance. For example, many men don’t realize that wearing ill-fitting clothes doesn’t make you look bigger, it just makes you look sloppy. That can easily be solved with a bit of education. 

But when a man makes a conscious decision about his style, it can be difficult to convince him that his choice is just wrong. My biggest deal-breaker is too many accessories. The pinky ring and the watch and the bracelet and the bandana and the necklace. The type of guy who wears many things is a bit too jangly. Hi Johnny Depp.

My wife recently said she wouldn’t get with a guy who wore any piece of jewelry other than a wedding ring. I’m not sure if she meant that as a warning to me to refrain from pinky rings, or as a confession that she prefers hooking up with other married men. Hopefully it’s the former…

Ashley (@Glitzburgh):

My dealbreakers for men are: socks with sandals, skinny jeans, too much hair product, and fu-man-chus! Also, I find obnoxious jewelry on guys to be a turn-off.

The Wal-Mart in West Mifflin actually requires every third male customer to wear socks with sandals. However, I don’t believe they have a fu-man-chu requirement…yet.

HGB (@The_Steel_Trap):

I’ve written a thing or two about the “Modern Pittsburgh Woman,” but I have yet to explore my version of the “Modern Pittsburgh Man.” Fortunately, AJF4 (that’s me!) has provided me with window of opportunity to sound off regarding fashion deal breakers or as Tom Haverford calls them so eloquently, “Oh no no’s”. To get started, I envisioned my ideal “Modern Pittsburgh Man,” and then I started to make a list of everything he would not wear or not do regarding both clothing, accessories, and hair. Thus, in reverse numerical order (as any top ten list worth its salt should be), here are The Steel Trap’s “Oh no no’s”: 

10. Squinting. Oh no no. Get glasses or contacts (even Target and Wally World have them!). The “Modern Pittsburgh Woman” wants to see your face in its normal state, not a scrunched up, contorted version.   

9. Denial of your hair amount or hair type. Oh no no. Comb-overs, hats, and bald spots are unacceptable. Frizziness, greasiness, and patchouli heavy matted locks are equally unacceptable. 

8. Pinky rings. Oh no no. Unless of course you are Huggy Bear or your last name is Soprano and then it’s okay. 

7. Excessive matching. Oh no no. For example, if a snap-back, a Polo, and sneakers that are for non-athletic purposes are worn as equal components of an outfit, you will not escort the “Modern Pittsburgh Woman” anywhere in public. Instead, try coordinating your accessories and clothing items. Embrace the concept of a color palette. Learn to blend.

6. Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister & Co., American Eagle Outfitters, and/or Aeropostale after the age of 18. Oh no no. Those stores carry clothing and accessories that have an expiration date. It’s called adulthood. 

5. Blatant displays of logos. Oh no no. Ask yourself, “Am I getting paid to wear this?” If the answer is no, then it’s not your responsibility to provide free advertising. On that note, you should also avoid name dropping your attire’s designer(s). One night at Bossa Nova, a man approached my friends with the following line (regarding his hat), “F*ck a snap back, I wear Gucci and sh*t.” And he was serious. And he was unsuccessful with my friends. 

4. Cell phones as an accessory. Oh no no. 

3. Crocs. Oh no no. Unless you are a member of the medical profession and you must wear these with your scrubs. At work. Not in public. 

2. Sporting Under Armour or type of athletic gear as part of regular outfits. Oh no no. If you can buy it at a sporting goods store, it’s 99% likely that it is to be worn during a fitness activity and not anywhere else.  

1. Not dressing for the occasion. This is the biggest offense. Wearing a team’s jersey on any other day but that team’s game day? Wearing a wrinkled mess when the venue requires something ironed? Wearing a puffy vest or visor indoors? Wearing cargo shorts when you have no need to store stuff in your cargo compartments? Oh no no, no no, no no! 

Whew, that’s a veritable cornucopia of oh no no’s!! I agree with everything HGB wrote…especially the denunciation of the pick-up line “F*ck a snap back, I wear Gucci and sh*t.” I used that line for years and never got anywhere with it.

Based on the above responses, the major deal breakers are: ill-fitting jeans, excess logos, sports jerseys, socks with sandals and pinky rings. Gentlemen – if you look down and realize that you are currently wearing any of these items, please do your best to eliminate them from your wardrobe moving forward. Additionally, if you look down and notice that you are currently wearing all of these items, well, may God have mercy on your soul.

* One exception to this axiom is my friend Andrew. It never took long for him to put an end to a relationship once something happened that irked him.  Some of the reasons he broke up with otherwise attractive women were her brother was a d*ck; she smoked cloves; her ex-boyfriend had three testicles; she had bad feet. His rationale for the feet excuse was that “if a girl doesn’t take care of her feet, she probably doesn’t take care of her hoo-ha either and I want no parts of that.” I really can’t argue with the man’s logic.

** Don’t forget to check out all of the contributing ladies’ websites, they’re f*ckin’ awesome! – Prettyburgh, Primped in Pittsburgh, Emily Levenson, The Brazen Kitchen, Athletichic, Stylish White Female, Glitzburgh and The Steel Trap.

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Please Dress Better Tip #14 – Pants

Pants. Except for Yogi Bear*, we all need a pair. The term “pants” itself is a catch-all for pretty much all outfit bottoms except jeans. The two major groupings are dress pants (classy) and khakis (casual). Dress pants used to commonly be referred to as slacks or trousers. However, much like the male first name Dick, these autonyms went out of style somewhere around 1975. Dress pants are made of sturdy fabrics such as wool or cotton twill and are worn with a crease down the front of each leg. They pair effortlessly with a sport-coat and match best with a long sleeve dress-shirt (tucked-in) or sweater. The most pragmatic and versatile colors are dark charcoal, heather gray or navy. Patterns range significantly from the staid (solid) to the sharp (tonal micro-check) to the rakish (glen plaid). Though seemingly benign, solid black pants are best left to referees and waiters at the Cheesecake Factory.

Unless you are lucky enough to have clothes fit you perfectly off the rack, paying another $10 or so to have your pants tailored is a small price to pay to not look like a schlub. Finding a good tailor to hem your pants correctly is relatively cheap and easy** so please do it. The current style preference of haute couture is such that the pant legs end above the ankle with little to no break. This look adds height to your frame and also grants the opportunity to show-off your socks. Bootcut pants are not an option. A standard leg opening should more than accommodate your footwear unless you’re literally trying to follow in Tom Brady’s footsteps by wearing Uggs

Moving from the bottom up, your pant silhouette should be as slim as you can wear while still being able to sprint if necessary. Unless you’re built like MJD with tree trunk thighs and a huge rump, the straight or regular fit of your clothing line of choice should be suitable. Though they possibly can help make husky dudes look slimmer, pleats have the opposite effect on leaner builds so please try to avoid them if possible. As far as the waist goes, choose the size that is fitted but not too tight and sits slightly below the waist. Always, always, always wear a belt! You never know when someone is going to try and pull your pants down.

A good pair of khakis (also known as chinos) can serve as a versatile change-of-pace to your favorite jeans and add a heightened element of style without sacrificing comfort. Much like dress pants, a proper fit is the most important quality. However, khakis don’t need to be nearly as sharp looking since appearing broken-in is part of their inherent charm. Ensure the pant length is short enough to prevent bunching on top of your shoes and avoid excess bagginess. Khakis that are garment-dyed to brightly saturated colors are quite popular right now, but a deep-hued navy or olive are the best choices for everyday wear. All the mall staples (Gap, Banana Republic, J. Crew) offer great selections so finding a pair that look good should be relatively easy. Khakis combined with a rugby shirt is a classic look and works perfectly at the bar or in the backyard catching football. They can be worn with boots, boat shoes or casual sneakers such as New Balance 574’s, but stay away from anything too dressy or athletic.

* Along with Yogi, Tony the Tiger is another popular anthropomorph that eschews bottoms. However, his sole choice of clothing isn’t nearly as refined as Yogi’s collar and tie. Tony wears a red banana around his neck, which leads me to believe that he’s affiliated with the Bloods and is not to be trifled with. Su-Woo!

** Like your mom!!!

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Please Dress Better Tip #13 – Shorts

Men just don’t look good in shorts. The only style icon associated with these summer wardrobe staples is The Incredible Hulk, and his are unintentional cut-offs. Back in the day, a man could just throw on a toga, kilt or tribal loincloth to prevent swampass when the temperature began to rise. Eventually, short pants came along but were only the dominion of boys during the turn of the century. However, after defeating the Axis powers in WWII, American men decided they deserved a higher degree of comfort and starting wearing shorts in public.

First things first – no jorts! Jean shorts defeat the major benefit of enhanced comfort by being objectionably bulky. The next step up from the bottom is cargo shorts. This pragmatic but stylistically deficient option is the preferred bottom for frat-boys and soccer dads alike. Their utilitarian appeal makes cargo shorts suitable for some casual occasions, but much like a Mogwai, there are certain guidelines to abide by. Cargo shorts should only be worn in public after 7pm if you are A) at a sporting event, B) an amusement park or C) a Kappa Sigma kegger. They should never be worn on a date. Upscale brands such as RL Black Label and John Varvatos offer refined cargo shorts, however an inexpensive pair from Old Navy will more than suffice for your trips to Home Depot. 

Trim-fitting*, flat front cotton shorts are basically as good as it gets. Most styles have varying inseam lengths, so choose a pair as short as you feel comfortable with. This means a few inches above the knee, but be mindful not to venture into Larry Bird circa 1985 territory. Darker colors are optimum because they’ll mitigate the situational dangers associated with picnics and backyard barbeques such as spilled condiments and grass stains. Navy and graphite are the safest and most stylish selections, but more boisterous hues such as baltic, berry and rust can be worked in as well.

The most brazen choice for summer bottoms is a pair of go-to-hell shorts. These consist of either patchwork madras or a solid color with embroidered emblems such as bicycles, lobsters or crabs. These shorts add a high level of pompous whimsy to any occasion and are best paired with solid, muted polos** due to their inherent loudness. Be forewarned, these shorts typically invite derogatory comments so they’re only recommended for men who are secure in their sexuality. So if you’re either extremely gay or extremely straight, these are the perfect shorts for you. Last tip – if your shorts have belt loops, wear a belt! A nautical braided or webbed canvas belt pairs perfectly with shorts and they are both great summer alternatives to the typical heavy leather.

* Trim-fitting means tailored, not tight. You do not want your shorts to be baggy with billowy material around your thighs, but you also don’t want people to think that you’re smuggling plums.

** Be mindful that most shirts don’t look good tucked into shorts. Therefore choose tops with shorter shirttails. Shorts are inherently casual, so refrain from dressing them up with a long sleeve shirt, tie and blazer. Only AC/DC’s Angus Young has been able to successfully pull this look off and that’s only because he made a deal with the devil.

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