Fashions (and more) for a Pittsburgh dad

Your dad and his witty wisdoms might not be the star of a YouTube comedy series — but let him know this Father’s Day he’s a Steel City star in his own right. For the dad who bleeds black and gold, salute him with a gift by a Pittsburgh-based brand or designer. Tap into the city’s entrepreneurial talents for unique fashions, accessories and grooming product options. Here are some suggestions:

Sports-pride sneakers: Does Dad’s footwear need some freshening up? Ben Smith of Sarver can help. Since 2010 the CEO of Brush Footwear ( has been turning ordinary shoes -- from slip-on sneakers to Cole Haan dress shoes -- into works of art with hand-painted sports logos, abstract geometrics and an assortment of other designs. Team Dad with Mr. Smith for some commissioned kicks or pick him up a pair from a ready-made collection, with selections typically starting at a couple of hundred dollars.

Shave in style: Help Dad de-clutter a drawer or bathroom sink with a zip-up storage tote for his shaving essentials. Pittsburgh-bred ModCloth offers the groom service travel bag ($27.99;, dressed up with images of classic barber tools.

Sara Bauknecht talks about Father's Day gifts

The PG's style editor Sara Bauknecht talked about Father's Day gifts on "Pittsburgh Today Live." (Video courtesy of KDKA)

A tee that tells a story: Designer James Houk of Brookline weaves Western Pennsylvania references into every collection he creates. He’s done denim with hardware and rivets made from materials harvested from local steel mills and shirts with graphics inspired by Pittsburgh’s people and places. The Jack’s Uptown Gym tee ($38-$42; or from his Jet Age tees collection is a nod to the now-defunct gym in Uptown where Mr. Houk, a former professional fighter, once trained.

Time investment: Kobold started as a project for an entrepreneurship class at Carnegie Mellon University in the late 1990s. It’s evolved into a global brand with branches in Nepal and Amish Country and famous fans. (The late actor James Gandolfini was a past collaborator.) Founder Michael Kobold strives to have many components of his timepieces made in America. The Soarway Diver watch ($1,950; comes in a “Made in USA” case, and its dial states its city and state of origin — Pittsburgh, Pa. New to the collection are expedition knives. Gift certificates also are available.

Steel City specs: Whether’s he watching his favorite sports team or surfing the Web, make sure he sees — and looks — sharp. Penn Avenue Eyewear’s ( buffalo horn frames are handmade, and no two pairs are alike. Opt for computer eyewear lenses to reduce digital eyestrain and improve vision clarity for screen reading. Prescription and reading lenses, as well as sunglasses, are available. Non-prescription glasses ship out the same or next day; prescription glasses are shipped within two days of ordering. Overnight shipping is available for deliveries to Pittsburgh. Ten percent of total purchase price will go to the charity of the customer’s choice. Can’t decide what to get? Go with a gift certificate.

Stay smooth: Dad’s skin deserves some TLC, too. Scrub up and stress down with the Manly Head-to-Toe Smoothness kit by Smooth for Men, the brother brand of Simple Sugars. Headquartered in Sharpsburg, it specializes in all-natural, handmade sugar scrubs. Each kit ($62; comes with facial sponges and a loofah sponge, a peppermint foot scrub and body and face scrubs in the scents of your choice. Those in the Pittsburgh region can order by Wednesday to receive it in time for Father’s Day, or they can pick up individual Smooth for Men scrubs at select Giant Eagle locations.

Wrapped in a bow (tie): Keep Dad dapper (and eco-chic!) with bow and neck ties made from recycled fabrics by Happy Handmade Haberdashery. Per Argentine of Squirrel Hill and his sister Anna of Mt. Lebanon work together to come up with patterns, pick fabrics and sew them. Bow ties tend to be $25-$30 (like the skinny batwing bow tie; Neckties average about $40. Or surprise Dad with the chance to create his own custom piece.

Sara Bauknecht: or on Twitter @SaraB_PG.

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