I must admit, I belong to that Gen Y, education seeking, suburban rooted demographic. However after returning from my short stint of living in Manhattan's lower East Side, I've allowed myself a New Yorker's cynicality. Couple that with the jaded eye that I developed from nearly 5 years of service industry helotry and I've become one sardonically minded women. I'll use those facts as an excuse for my inability to refrain from poking fun at images like the following of lady Southsiders, stiletto heeled Bambis.
source Pittsburgh Post Gazette.com
So what prompted me to write this post was a conversation that insued after a cute girl walked by my friends and I to go to the ladies room. My friends in this case being three dudes.
Dude #1, we'll call him Bobby, looked the girl up and down and exclaimed his approval.
Following Bobby's exuberant approval came the opinions of dudes #2 and #3, we'll call them Brett and Micheal. Brett pipes in, "yeah she's about a Pittsburgh 8." And Micheal follows matter of factly, "and if she were in Cleveland she would be like a 12." Bobby follows up saying, "and if she were in Miami she'd be about a 4, but who cares, we're in Pittsburgh, and she's hot."
This little snippet of typical guy badinage is actually seeped in aesthetic cultural anthropology at the local city level. In other words, what makes a girl hot in one town does not necessarily make her hot in another. While beauty or 'hotness' are in the eye of the beholder, what you wear and how you wear it can mark where you're from just as much as your speech does. And I'm not talking about an Indian girl wearing a sari, or a Japanese girl wearing a kimono, or even necessarily someone looking very LA or very NY. I'm referring simply to the fact that by day I'm in a sea of North Face fleeces and Ugg boots, and by night awash in trends worn all the wrong ways.
This isn't to say that a "Pittsburgh Fashionista" does not exist, we're just outnumbered. I actually think that ModCloth.com encapsulates the Pittsburgh fashionista aesthetic, and dutifully so being that they are a Pittsburgh based company. The Carnegie Mellon alum couple do an amazing job of stocking the site with pieces that stay true to Susan's (co-owner) personal style and love for everything vintage and ultra feminine.
Pittsburgh blogger Lindsay, of My Solitary Consignment, also rocks a very Burgh Fashionista look following a plucky equation of one part thrifted, one part bold color, and two parts feminine. She modernizes vintage, mixes higher priced ModCloth items with smartly thrifted pieces, and is not afraid of color unlike such famed black addicts as Rumi Neely and Alexandra Spencer. Here are a few outfit pics from Lindsay's blog.
source My Solitary Consignment
Now I'd definitely rather kick it with Lindsay than with the girls in the first picture, but hey that's just me.
Now to the issue of breaking down the borders that Bobby, Brett and Micheal's conversation led us to. Fashion Blogging is lending to the dissemination of local fashion trends all over the world creating complex mash-ups of different culture's styles. A girl in Tokyo can be influenced by the way that a girl in Ann Arbor wears a scarf. A girl in Austin can be inspired by the way a guy in Melbourne wears a jacket. While it is wonderful, and I am very grateful for our ability to be influenced by people anywhere in the world, I believe that local styles will survive. As long as I'm not categorized as a stiletto bambi, I like representing where I'm from. For me the need to look Pittsburgh despite my heavy New York style influences has manifested into a small collection of sports tees. I've been wearing more Pen's, Steeler's, and black and gold pieces than ever before, and doing so proudly.
So to fashionistas all over the world, never forget your roots, they are in fact part of what make us each truly unique. We'll be our most fashionable selves if we dress like ourselves.