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Steelers sport styles for charity

| Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, 6:50 p.m.
It was a family affair for Larry Foote and his children at Heinz Field Thursay, October 6, 2011 for the Steelers fashion show. (Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review)

Brett Keisel's most treasured fashion accessory?

His beard.

“I have the intangible,” the Pittsburgh Steeler defensive end says. “I have the beard. Sporting that is like wearing an extra gold piece.”

Keisel will be sporting his finest suit and sportswear looks on the runway for Football/Fans/Fashion: Steelers Style 2012 event before a predicted sold-out audience of Terrible Towel-waving fans Friday at Heinz Field. He and teammate, center Maurkice Pouncey are co-captains for the evening.

“I like to wear what the skinny guys wear,” says the 6-foot-4, 304-pound Pouncey. “I like clothes that fit. A lot of big guys wear baggy clothes, but not me. I will be stylin' that evening.”

This year's theme is inspired by the fans in conjunction with the team celebrating its 80th anniversary. The black-and-gold invitation travels through four phases of the franchise's history — the beginning, the Chuck Noll era, the Bill Cowher era and the Mike Tomlin era — with photos from each time period that show players, and fashions from those times.

“Our fans give us so much support like no other NFL team, and we appreciate it,” Keisel says. “They are behind us, win or lose. It's a fun event for us and them, because they get to see us in something other than a uniform. And, they get to see that we have style off the field, too.”

He considers his style “country swag,” which means sport coat, jeans and you guessed it a pair of cowboy boots (Justin Boots are his favorite).

“Cowboy boots look sweet with any outfit,” says Keisel who will strut down the runway with wife Sarah, son Jacob, 4, daughter Grace, who will be 2 in November, and the family's newest edition, Will, 7 weeks. “It will also be a perfect time to get a photo for our Christmas card.”

Rookies will wear tuxedos, while veterans will sport their own dress clothes, since most wear custom-made suits. Casual wear will be presented by American Eagle Outfitters and Nike.

The players join this fashion team so that they can help the charities which mean so much to the Rooney family, Keisel says. This event will include the most players participating ever, Greta Rooney says.

Greta and Art Rooney II along with Mike and Kiya Tomlin are event chairmen.

Between the fashion show and Taste of the Steelers, a food event to be held Nov. 17 at Heinz Field, fund-raising since 1994 surpassed $5 million last year. The benefitting charities are UPMC Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program, which is new this year, and the Cancer Caring Center.

“My favorite part is when I see the players with their children and their wives and the reception they get from the audience,” Greta Rooney says. “It has helped me appreciate them for who they are, and I realize they all have big hearts to want to be part of this event.”

Kiya Tomlin agrees.

“I love to see the players all suited up,” she says. “They are fathers and husbands and boyfriends, and you get to see how they are with their families, especially their children. It's fun to watch. The public doesn't always get to see that. And, as busy as they are, they still find time for this event. And walking the runway is not easy. I have done it. But they love it. They play it up and put on a show for the fans.”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at jharrop@tribweb.com

Showing chic in the Style Lounge

Before and after Friday's Steelers Style 2012 fashion show, guests are invited to browse apparel and accessories in the Style Lounge. A new addition to this year's chic event, this boutique-like shop will have various apparel and accessories available and a stylist on hand to help you create your own fashionable look.

“We can show you how to wear a Steelers shirt with a black suit and heels that can be worn to the office,” says stylist Ariel Lawrence, who will be in town Friday through Sunday to offer fashion tips and help style those walking the runway. “As stylists, we help people take something they already have in their closets and find ways to wear it in a new way. We hope to take sports fashion to the next level. We have items for women of all sizes and are so excited to be part of the Steelers fashion show night and weekend.”

Pittsburgh is the first of several NFL cities to have a pop-up Style Lounge. The lounge will also be open Saturday and Sunday, when the Steelers host cross-state rival Philadelphia Eagles at 1 p.m.

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