The Carnivale Between My Peers
The lovely Rebecca
is hosting the Carnivale of the Couture this week, and she wants to know
"Suppose you stepped off a plane in your neighborhood, city, or country. Could you tell you were home by how people were dressed? Is there a Regional Casual Uniform? What do people (and you may narrow down to a specific segment of the population if you like) wear when they are going out, during the day, going to be seen, but not needing to dress up?"
The short answer is resoundingly affirmative; you can indeed tell where you. Let me take you on a tour from the airport to my apartment. Pittsburgh International Airport is a major hub, so the terminals are teeming with people from all over, dressed in all different styles. Even those returning home to Pittsburgh are hard to identify, since so many people dress differently to travel than in their day-to-day lives. You would be hard-pressed to figure out where you were just using your highly-tuned sartorial sense. However, as you start driving towards my home, things change. You head down the highway and through a mountain, emerging to view a beautiful skyline
just beyond the river. Head over the bridge to downtown, and you'll see: youths in baggy jeans, financial workers in business suits, shoppers in high-end jeans and fancy sweaters. But mostly you will see regular people, dressed casually, and even sloppily by the standards of other Eastern cities. The single most common element, however, is Steelers
gear. That is because Pittsburgh is not just a city, it is a nation: Steeler nation
. T-shirts, sweatshirts, jerseys, hats, polo shirts, ties, and jackets everywhere are black and gold, emblazoned with the Steeler's hypocycloid logo
. There is no doubt that you are in the home city of the current Super Bowl champions.
Head through downtown to Oakland, and the scene changes a bit. You'll see lots of students in jeans and t-shirts, many celebrating Pitt
. In the summer, a lot of the college women wear skirts or dresses, but the guys won't dress up as much. Oakland is very much a student part of town, and it shows.
When you arrive at my apartment building, you'll see old people. Lots of them. My building is mostly peopled by those old enough to be my grandparents. Unfortunately, not many of them are as stylish as my grandparents were. Lavender pantsuits and pastel patchwork sweaters are the rage among the blue-haired women, while the balding men prefer suspenders clipped to slacks dating from the 1980s, over shirts that would be vintage if young hipsters wore them, but on these men are simply old and worn. Despite this geriatric lack of fashion, however, they are all very nice people. When I see those patchwork sweaters and support hose, I know I'm home.
Unfortunately, not all scantily clad Steelers fans are hot.