The boys of summer: Pittsburgh men are partying down on the style front

| Sunday, July 6, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Embracing an effervescent approach to the same old stitch, it's not uncommon to see our city's most fashionable fellas making statements all their own that bid adieu to the stereotypical black ties and tails.

Indicative of a movement that has clearly slammed the door on their father's closets, a simple Google search using “men's fashion” yielded an impressive 131 million results while a similar one for “women's fashion” lagged behind with a mere 110 million.

“I feel like the gals have always had all the fun, and so, we're following your lead, I guess,” says Joe King, a well-known fashionista on the social circuit.

The numbers have been equally surprising to clothiers.

“I'm not sure exactly how that happened,” says Anthony Farah, a sales associate and men's personal shopper for Larrimor's. “But even with my friends, things that they would never think about wearing or putting together, it's really catching on.”

As the tide turns toward a more personalized approach, tried-and-true wardrobe staples are being reinvented in ways that don't just beg for attention — they demand it.

“I think that guys are becoming lot more comfortable with color. They are stepping out of the box a little bit, and that's good,” says Tim McVay, who frequently makes the Best Dressed lists with his partner, David Bush.

“They're a little bit freer to step outside of the black tux,” King agrees.

“In the world of men's fashions, this is probably one of the biggest changes in 20 years as far as styling. There's a big evolution coming on,” says Joseph Orlando, whose namesake store has been dressing gentlemen since 1981. “I tell my customers when they come in, ‘I know you don't have a 6- or 7- or 8-year-old cellphone, right?' I just try to put it into perspective: You update everything else in your life; wouldn't you do that in clothing?”

Even those having a hard time saying goodbye to yesterday's pleated pants and cuffs are slowly warming to the idea of a more personalized, tailored look. In large part, Orlando says, this is because of the contagious nature of social media — ideas are as accessible to your friends as they are to complete strangers halfway across the world.

That's not to say, however, that change doesn't come without a few growing pains.

“I think a lot of men are a little anxious to try a new style of clothing … but once they do it, and one person comes up and gives them a compliment, then they're all in,” Orlando says.

“But that takes a little bit of doing,” he says.

“Whenever we have an appointment, we're putting together things that they never would think of,” Farah says. “And that opens their eyes to a whole other world.”

Kate Benz is the social columnist for Trib Total Media and can be reached at, 412-380-8515 or via Twitter @KateBenzTRIB.

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