T-shirts show off inner 'Burghness

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The newest line of Pittsburgh T-shirts don't say The Burgh, Stillers, Yinzer or the rest of the black-and-gold cliches.

No, these are inside jokes that speak to your inner Pittsburgh-ness, your ability to laugh at yourself and your city -- lovingly, of course.

For example, a T-shirt that says "Reserved Parking" shows an image of a chair. Another shows an image of the Statue of Liberty hoisting up not a torch, but a Terrible Towel, with the caption "S'Liberty."

To be sure, there are no shortage of Pittsburgh T-shirts out there. Steelers shirts alone come in a dizzying number of varieties.

But Mike Woycheck, the 32-year-old president of WearPittsburgh.com, a new online company that launched Thursday, said his shirts celebrate our fair city in a "tongue-and-cheek way, poking fun at the idiosyncrasies that make Pittsburgh such a great personality."

The most popular shirt so far is the one that says "PittGirl Says Drink," a sort of inside-blogger joke. PittGirl, the anonymous author of "The Burgh Blog" (theburghblog.com), devised a drinking game relating to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's propensity to say "moving forward." Readers are supposed to chug a drink each time she posts a media report of him using the phrase.

Not the kind of shirt that a fly-through tourist might pick up at Pittsburgh International Airport, but popular with PittGirl's many fans.

Mr. Woycheck, a founder of a clearinghouse for Pittsburgh blogs, said he devised the T-shirt with PittGirl.

Dubbed by fellow bloggers as the Godfather of Pittsburgh Blogging, Mr. Woycheck said he gets T-shirt inspirations in the middle of the night while talking to friends and driving on errands.

One his favorites is a shirt that says, "McKees Rocks Dance Academy" and shows pole dancers. So far no complaints from classically trained dancers in the Rocks.

Another, which he credits to two male bloggers at tunesmith-anthony.com, says, "Pittsburghers Do It with Fries on Top."

The shirts range in price from $14.99 to $25.99 and are placed in three categories: "BurghWear," "YinzWear" and "JagWear."

Even though the one-man company is for-profit, Mr. Woycheck said he plans to give some of the proceeds back to Pittsburgh, the place providing all of the fodder for the jokes.

He would only say that sales are better than expected, and that he expects to crank out a new T-shirt design every week or two.

Cristina Rouvalis can be reached at crouvalis@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1572.


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