By Brooke Keane
Usually when people think of Pittsburgh, style isn’t something that first comes to mind. Much of the time, Steeler jerseys and Penguins T-shirts are an outsider’s definition of fashion. But for Pittsburghers, it’s much more than that. Pittsburgh is full of eco-friendly and vintage fashions that have come to define the city’s fashion “footprint.”
Breaking down the city’s sense of style even more are its neighborhoods. With 90 neighborhoods within the city limits, multiple influences lend themselves to major diversity. Lawrenceville is only one of the neighborhoods that have a solid grasp on Pittsburgh’s shift towards eco-friendly trends.
Often compared to New York’s Brooklyn/Williamsburg neighborhoods, Lawrenceville is most greatly influenced by the abundance of artists residing there, which has also affected its style and the businesses that have opened along it’s main roadway of Butler Street. Though many of those businesses are popular restaurants, there are also many boutiques, making the neighborhood a destination for residents and visitors alike.
Pageboy Salon & Boutique
3613 Butler St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
Hours: Tue 11am-6pm, Wed 11am-7pm, Thu-Fri 11am-8pm, Sat 10am-8pm, Sun 10am-5pm
Pageboy opened a little over a year ago, and is co-owned by Rachel Vallozzi and Dana Bannon, with Vallozzi owning the boutique half of the shop. The shop sells on consignment, showcasing the work of local artists as well as some vintage and an “upcycled” line called Buttercup Blues, both handpicked by Vallozzi herself.
Though she does incorporate much of her own personal style into her picks, Vallozzi keeps a close eye on trends in the vintage world, giving the styles in the shop a “sense of glue.” Pageboy also carries a men’s line called Woodbine, handpicked by shop manager Adam Shuck. Many of the pieces picked by Vallozzi and Shuck are found locally, and most of the handmade accessories carried at the shop are made by local artists. Some of the most popular items carried are feather accessories, including the recently uber popular feather hair extensions, and anything made of glass or leather.
Both Vallozzi and Shuck agree that much of the appeal of setting up shop in Lawrenceville lies in the positivity of working in such a tight-knit community. Shuck also believes that the strong sidewalk culture, walkability and outdoor vibrancy of Lawrenceville make it an ideal neighborhood for business and pleasure.
Further down Butler Street is Pavement Boutique that first opened exclusively as a shoe store in 2006 and expanded into a clothing boutique about three years ago. Pavement carries eco and local designers with a focus on the independent rather than on trends. Pavement does not carry vintage items, but shop associate Erin Shimel feels that gives Butler Street a good mix of vintage and new. The shop also carries many west coast designers, giving the many repeat, neighborhood shoppers a look at styles they wouldn’t normally find around the city.
“Everyone that lives here likes to shop local and support local business,” said four year Lawrenceville resident and Pavement customer Stacey Hart. “[Lawrenceville] has the biggest variety of style, and people on this side of town definitely like to experiment with style.”
Shimel also remarked that the support of local residents has also created close relationships with customers, which adds to the uniqueness of the shop.
Following along the economic trend lines of Butler Street is Sugar Boutique, just one storefront away from Pavement. Also selling the designs of local artists on consignment, boutique employee Justin Honard sees many customers gravitating to one-of-a-kind items. Sugar also carries a line of T-shirts exclusive to Pittsburgh called Neighbor Teaze. Each T-shirt showcases one of Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods with an image of what that neighborhood is best known for.
5171 Butler St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
Hours: Weds – Fri 11am – 6pm; Sat – Sun 11am – 4pm
Moving down to the other end of Butler Street is one of its longest standing shops. Elements, owned by Shelly Maiese, has been open for nine years and has moved into several different storefronts along Butler Street. Walking into Elements is almost like walking into your grandmother’s house, carrying vintage clothes, accessories, knick knacks and furniture.
Elements also sells on consignment and Maiese sees herself as much of a personal shopper as a store owner. With regular customers around the world, she keeps them in mind, as well as her own interest in styles from between the 1930s and 1960s, as she hand picks items of the highest quality.
“Normally [in Lawrenceville] you’re dealing with the owner who has a vested interest in you,” said Maiese.
The lack of a corporate environment in Lawrenceville is one of it’s greatest draws not only for Maiese and the large artist community there, but for residents and visitors.
“I’ve always believed in this community, and my belief in Lawrenceville has paid off,” said Maiese.
Brooke Keane acquired a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Pittsburgh’s Point Park University where she served in several editorial positions on school weekly, The Globe. Since graduating, Brooke has blogged for online vintage clothing boutique Crazy Hot Clothes and tried her hand at some freelance work. First a writer and then a fashion-lover, Brooke can be found spending time at the mall, when she doesn’t have her nose buried in an AP Stylebook or is surveying Craigslist for jobs.