The Whats and Wheres to fashion’s latest


Image via Wikimedia Commons

Animal prints are eye-catching.

By Justin Gardner, For The Pitt News

Many fashionable individuals regard the fall/winter fashion season as the pinnacle of style, citing its rich colors, layers and diverse textures. Yet, as July brings forth summer’s peak, it is important to remember the potential these months hold for fun and exciting fashion statements. It is a time of cookouts and trips and music festivals — opportune moments for bold, colorful fits.

However, for many college students in Pittsburgh, capitalizing on the spring/summer fashion season may still seem difficult. Shopping for clothes can be an expensive endeavor, and it can be difficult to pinpoint en vogue clothing items. These challenges are amplified by the fact that Pittsburgh isn’t a mecca for fashion. But projecting the fashion-forward image you want this summer is possible to achieve in a cost-effective manner.

Enclosed is a brief list of current fashion trends and a couple of affordable places to find them in Pittsburgh. These items, colors and prints can add a bit of zest to your wardrobe, while the stores mentioned won’t lighten your wallet by too much.

Animal Prints // Wearing animal prints is a simple way to add tremendous character to an outfit. They are eye-grabbing and have intricate patterns. They are also extremely versatile, and they can be worn with or on various pieces. It can be worn on a shirt, pants or skirt with a simple complementary item. Animal prints also work well in matching top and bottom pieces.

For a more subtle statement, animal print accessories like purses or fanny packs can be worn with warm summer colors. And while this trend is primarily associated with women’s fashion, men can also incorporate these patterns into their closet for a striking, unabashed look. Animal print button down shirts and shorts are simple ways to incorporate the trend.

In essence, animal prints are a way to exude confidence at your favorite events. So, next time you go clothes shopping, do not shy away from the leopard, snake or tiger prints.

Mixed Prints // There is often a pressure in day-to-day life to wear clothes that match cleanly and to color coordinate clothing with precision. Wearing mixed prints is a current trend that undermines some of these pressures. It is predicated on combining different patterns into the same look and not shying away from a bit of dissonance. Differing floral patterns, stripes of varying size or monochrome pattern mixes exemplify this trend. They put a refreshing spin on tried-and-true fashion. Clothing can be more personality-driven and less like pieces of a puzzle. A few recommendations for mixing prints are to match prints of similar tones, to utilize classic prints and to not fear being a little outrageous. Finding clothing stores with distinct and fashionable pieces is helpful in building the wardrobe for this look.

One of these stores is the Avalon Exchange, a vintage clothing store in Squirrel Hill for buying, selling and trading clothes. Like several other resale shops, it has a large selection of high quality items for low prices.

Avalon Exchange maintains a diverse selection by hosting a mix of high-end fashion and lesser-known brands. 

“We’ve gotten really cool Gucci and Chanel and stuff like that,” said Aaron Valentic, an assistant manager in training at the store.

Yet Valentic made sure to note that Avalon Exchange is not brand-obsessed. The curators will buy Brioni and no-name brands alike. He described the environment of Avalon Exchange as prioritizing individuality and fun, embracing eccentricity and not taking itself too seriously.

“It’s like we’re creating a mini block party,” Valentic said.

Lightheartedness is at the core of many summer fashion trends. It is reflected in the current season’s eccentric prints, but also in its bright colors and the interesting cut of its clothes.

Short Shorts (Men’s Fashion) // ’80s nostalgia in fashion has been a recurring theme over the past couple of decades. One of the most recent iterations of this is the increased popularity of high-cut shorts. They make a straightforward outfit more distinct, and their style can be accentuated with warm colors or a cool design. They can be the centerpiece of an outfit, or a subtle flex of fashion acumen. Regardless, short shorts are a good option in any casual setting.

Bike Shorts (Women’s Fashion) // Bike shorts are another trend that has resurfaced from a past decade, having initially attained popularity in the ’90s. It is perhaps the most comfortable trend of the year, due to the shorts’ simplicity, low weight and relatively soft materials. At their core, bike shorts are athletic wear, fitting well with sneakers and athletic tops. However, they also can work seamlessly with heels and sandals. What is most important to recognize is the somewhat muted tone of bike shorts. They are less likely to be the loud centerpiece of an outfit when compared to other items on this list, but that can be advantageous, because their subtlety lends itself to adaptability. Bike shorts can be integrated with a variety of outfits and are worth buying because you can get a lot of use from them.

Neon Green // Neon green has arguably been the color of 2019 thus far. It has experienced a surprising amount of staying power since its rise to popularity early this year. It has proven to fit the theme of summer fashion, yet it simultaneously stands apart from the traditional summer palette. For this reason, do not be afraid to wear it with other summer colors such as orange, red, yellow and blue. Doing this will prevent your look from becoming monotonous. Wearing neon green with a little nuance is the difference between simply jumping aboard a trend and using a trend to reinvigorate your image.

Zed’s is a family-owned Pittsburgh thrift store in South Side that owner Zack Edgar (known an Zed) refers to as “a smorgasbord of current fashion.” The influences of the store and its items are rooted in ’90s nostalgia, vintage hip-hop culture, vintage sports memorabilia and streetwear — all of which are extremely relevant in current fashion.

Another apparent influence of Zed’s is the City itself. This is especially visible in the store’s extensive collection of Steelers, Pirates and Penguins memorabilia. These various pieces of culture are personal to Zed and give his business an intimate feel.

“We like to give [Zed’s] a homey vibe. Some people say it looks like a big bedroom from back in the day,” he noted.

Simultaneously, the store has many items at the intersection of streetwear and high fashion. Brands such as Yeezy, Supreme and Off-White are the most popular examples. They tend to be the most expensive items, but still sell for much cheaper at Zed’s compared to retail prices.

Overall, Zed’s is an affordable place to find shirts, sneakers and jerseys for the summer. And while most of the clothes are in men’s sizes, Zed considers his store to be unisex.

“I wouldn’t pigeonhole it into men’s fashion,” he said about his intended customer base.

Many of the graphics and designs in the clothes are meant to speak to a wide range of people and tap into the collective nostalgia of teenagers and young professionals alike.

“I always want people to just come here and find something they genuinely like, or something that’s nostalgic for them,” Zed said.