Early 2000s Olsen Sisters Homeless Couture

I have to tread carefully here because this article was written by a freelancer and I don’t want to be mean or to be snarky just for the sake of being snarky as I could with LaMont Jones, who I miss terribly.

There is a fashion article in the P-G today entitled “Pittsburgh Fashion:  Layering in Lawrenceville.”

Snippets of interest:


I can’t even pick out snippets of interest because the whole damn thing is amazing.  You really have to go read it from start to finish to understand why I’m writing about it.  But, let me try again:

The two young writers subscribe to a philosophy of “trash can couture,” which can only be achieved by the most creative of souls.

Mr. McCloskey, 22, is proof that one man’s trash is another man’s fashion. His black shoes and gray pants were salvaged from the trash, and his slate-colored shirt last belonged to a man who passed away in a nursing home. It adds a polished look underneath his white sweatshirt with a CIA emblem. A gray jacket that Mr. McCloskey has had since junior high school brings his eclectic look together.

Now you see why I can’t ignore this article?  He is wearing two articles of clothing he personally found by rifling through the trash and a shirt from a dead old guy and it is all described as … POLISHED?! In the fashion pages of One of America’s Great Newspapers?! Would you like to see his polished look?

What she calls polished, eclectic, trash can couture,  I call “Raj from The Big Bang Theory.”

This writer, who previously described black jeans and a sleeveless black t-shirt as “savvy” “head-turning” “eye-candy,” almost succeeds in describing what sounds like a homeless guy, as a hipster with his finger of the pulse of trash can couture (I can’t believe I just typed those three words in that order.  What’s next? Trash can cuisine?)

What bothers me is how the P-G portrays fashion in Pittsburgh — as either $3,000 of the fuggest, sternest, harshest clothing ever to be sewn together, or some random crap I found in the trash. Why is it either Ivana Trump meets Mad Max of Thunderdome, or drunk guy rolling in his own piss?  Where’s the middle ground that says, “You guys, look at this adorable dress over at Mod Cloth that an average Burgher could actually afford and actually wear!  How cute and happening and not homeless at all is THAT?!”

Also, if you read the entire article in that beat poet format I wrote about yesterday? It totally works.

“Scarves. Pea coats. Leggings.  SCARVES. PEA COATS. Leggings. [snap] It’s cold. [bongo drum] Hand me down. Trash to treasure. Homeless man couture. [snap snap] Addams family. Values. Not a wrestler. Not a wrestler. CIA. Stop. [bongo drums] [drag of cigarette] Go. Rosy cheeks. Double-breasted. But not four boobs.  Quizzical. [snap] Stride on. Stride on. Layers peeled away. Smoke curls. My horizon has no beach. [snap] [single bongo beat] [rips head off of a pigeon].”

Where can I find an amateur open mic night, because I have found my calling.


  1. Jen
    January 12, 2010 2:01 pm

    The two young writers subscribe to a philosophy of “trash can couture,” which can only be achieved by the most creative of souls.

    I vomited a bit

    Really? I think it is just a case of white privilege trying to be edgy, if we dress poor, that will give us some credibility amongst the other hipsters. Yeah…let’s go dumpster diving. Yeah then we can go grab a $3.00 cup of coffee and some biscotto.

  2. asl87
    January 12, 2010 2:10 pm

    So here it goes –

    I’m a recent reader and haven’t felt the need to comment…..until now. I went to Pitt with that ragamuffin above. I wouldn’t say we ran in the same circles, but we had a few acquaintances in common and have seen him at parties.

    The name given to him by his friends? Smelly Dan. If you think his taste in clothes is unfathomable, you should smell him. Like a used diaper kept for safe keeping in an armpit for all eternity. And sadly, I know someone who slept with him.

    Also, trash can cuisine is real and happening in our fair city. People ‘dumpster dive’ to find unused food from supermarkets and restaurants. I’m sorry if I’ve confirmed your worst fears.

  3. red pen mama
    January 12, 2010 2:12 pm

    My husband has clothes from junior high school. They don’t fit him, and I would never let him out of the house if he put them on — as a matter of fact, if he put them on and tried to leave the house, I would probably have to call the men in white coats (which is ironic, as my husband is a psychologist, but I digress).

    But now I am afraid to throw them out because one of these two very creative (read: poor) people will scavenge them.

    What is wrong with Goodwill/Salvation Army, people? You don’t have to dig it out of the garbage or get it from dead people. Honest.

    As far PG fashion pages: They must be hard up. But if they want any articles on fashion for the the 3–to-5-year-old set as portrayed by the daughters of a harried mom, I have some good stuff.

  4. AaronC
    January 12, 2010 2:17 pm

    Right on sister! :) Raj was a great comparison. However Raj comes across to me as “affable and clean” whereas that old Skeksis gives me “irritating and filthy”. That’s one rough 22 years.

    For some reason the girl just draws sympathy from me. What happened to her that she ended up like that?

  5. Carol
    January 12, 2010 2:34 pm

    Quick, somebody throw away some hair scissors and detergent.

  6. Lauren
    January 12, 2010 2:41 pm

    @rpm–my dad is just like your husband, except he actually leaves the house in his junior high clothes. Imagine being a teenager, working late at Giant Eagle, and your father strolling in with green short shorts. You know, the track style ones. *Sigh* Thanks for that, Dad.

    As for trash can couture, Pittsburgh is way behind El Paso. I sometimes wonder how department stores actually sell clothes around here, what with the plethora of “rescued” garb I see.

  7. Erin
    January 12, 2010 2:46 pm

    Haaahahaa, Carol!

  8. Politicalpartypooper
    January 12, 2010 2:54 pm

    Hey, for a guy, he’s doing pretty good.

  9. spoon
    January 12, 2010 3:07 pm

    my clothes consist of beer fest/brewery tshirts, jeans and sketchers. Unless i’m going to a funeral or wedding don’t expect more since Teaspoon has managed to spit up on just about everything else.

  10. Rachel
    January 12, 2010 3:11 pm

    Why is this in the newspaper?

    All I read was “It’s cold as shit outside. People are wearing a lot of clothes.”

    I can celebrate “fashion” being strutted by the Everyman, but I can’t get excited about somebody wearing a CIA T-shirt with a polo he took of a dead dude. That’s not self expression, that’s “Oh crap, I need to do laundry.”

  11. Sooska
    January 12, 2010 3:13 pm

    Oscar the Grouch dresses better.

    This article represents the PG trying to be relevant to the under-30 non-paper-reading market. Fail.

  12. tolnski
    January 12, 2010 3:21 pm

    “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!”

    and, yeah – enjoy: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-freegan11sep11,1,369366.story

    Thanks #2….Smelly Dan. Ha.

  13. Carpetbagger
    January 12, 2010 3:28 pm

    You didn’t even mention the woman pictured in her double-breasted coat from Target!

    Clothes from trash bins, dead people, and Target. It’s just shit that people layer on because it’s so freakin’ cold outside! I ask you, is this news?

    Perhaps the PG food editor would like to do 1000 words on the green salad and cold cut sandwich I had for lunch. I call it Fridge Couture.

  14. Amy
    January 12, 2010 3:29 pm

    1.) Hipsters crack me up. As long as I don’t have to smell them. Solution: http://www.latfh.com/

    (Caution: Potty-mouth. Not for the faint of heart?)

    2.) OH. EM. GEE. How did I not know about ModCloth prior to this?!?!?!

  15. Still A Fan
    January 12, 2010 3:32 pm

    I want to start a website called shoot the hipsters.

    My horizon has no beach….nice.

  16. Cindy T.
    January 12, 2010 3:36 pm

    Smelly Dan — how embarrassing

  17. efg8
    January 12, 2010 3:41 pm

    Imagine my surprise when I look at this article on fashion and I see Smelly Dan called polished. He does not abide by the wash-before-you-wear rule when purchasing (dumpster diving for) clothes.

  18. ThePreachersWife
    January 12, 2010 3:53 pm

    I knew him by his nom de stank as well.

    He had attended house parties at my place; His stench can readily be described as “Strong Musky Sour Onions,” which speaks nothing to its profound ability to adhere to all upholstered items, and air particles, for long – LONG – periods of time.

  19. unsatisfied
    January 12, 2010 4:03 pm

    holy crap, I’m in style.

  20. CrashJK
    January 12, 2010 4:07 pm

    Would this make Ron Cook’s wardrode “in style” ?!

  21. Mary
    January 12, 2010 4:14 pm

    I blame the Olson twins for pretty much everything …

  22. butcher's dog
    January 12, 2010 4:39 pm

    Don’t forget I get dibs on playing the bongo based on yesterday’s comment. Just sayin’.

  23. newetiquette
    January 12, 2010 4:43 pm

    On what is probably a related note, I was just in a meeting with a vendor from Pittsburgh. One of our managers asked, “Pittsburgh? Isn’t that TV show about that…The Wire?” The image problem continues.

  24. Zerbe
    January 12, 2010 5:04 pm

    Hey, not cool with the making fun of Dan. He’s a really good friend of mine and he’s not just living out “white privilege” or being a “hipster” like you all think he is. That’s what he wants to wear, and so he does. He’s got better things to do, working on his non-profit writer’s house in Lawrenceville, to bother reading or caring about this stuff, but it’s really unfair to him to say that kind of shit. No one who is a real friend of Dan’s calls him that–we call him Dan, because that’s his name.

    I’m not going to go on attack, but what is funny to me is that you guys are all buying stuff to look just like Dan at Urban Outfitters or Avalon. Whether you like Dan’s “fashion sense” or not (though he’d probably hesitate to use the phrase), that does not make it okay to insult the guy or talk about “shooting all the hipsters.” Come on.

  25. AaronC
    January 12, 2010 5:26 pm

    @Zerbe Speaking for myself: I do not shop at Urban Outfitters or Avalon; and no – I don’t want to look like that guy.

  26. Summer
    January 12, 2010 5:59 pm

    Holy shit, I think that dude stole my pants!

    PS — A Kaufmann’s buy, I couldn’t find a local outlet for Urban Outfitters if you put a gun to my head.

  27. S
    January 12, 2010 6:10 pm


    Although its nice of you to stand up for your friend, it seems as if your time would be better spent delicately addressing the issue of his body odor and the impact it has with Dan. Because as evidenced by the comments above, regardless of how great of a guy he is or what a great job he does, that is mostly lost on people due to the overwhelming presence of funk. Hipster or not, there is no excuse for poor personal hygiene by an able bodied individual with a job and roof over his head.

  28. bluzdude
    January 12, 2010 6:59 pm

    The Funk (aka The Beast) negates any positive qualities before they can even be observed.

  29. bucdaddy
    January 12, 2010 7:26 pm

    What’s next? Trash can cuisine?

    That wasn’t me behind Las Velas last night, I swear! (And could you throw away some tacos tonight? I mean, the burriots are fine, but just to change it up a little, ‘K?)
    my clothes consist of beer fest/brewery tshirts

    How many ya got, spoon? I count coup on Pa., W.Va., Ohio, Ariz., Conn., N.Y., Md. and Del.

  30. bucdaddy
    January 12, 2010 7:26 pm


    *–burritos. Thought I fixed that.

  31. Pensgirl
    January 12, 2010 9:12 pm

    My former roommate once picked a hoodie off the street and kept it. I was appalled. As you can imagine, I never asked to borrow any of her clothes (in fact, I wasn’t too crazy about using the same washing machine she did).

    Someday, we will read a story about a person who found clothes in the trash, wore them, and got themselves arrested for matching the description of a criminal or was hauled in for questioning about a missing person (“Last seen wearing…”).

  32. HorseShoeBend
    January 12, 2010 9:33 pm

    In an effort to avoid delicately addressing the situation at close proximity and maximize intellectual time by narrowing search of dumpsters or deathbeds I suggest someone place clean suit, tie, towel, soap, deodorant, comb or brush in garbage cans behind his non-profit writer’s house in Lawrenceville.

  33. Still A, Fan
    January 12, 2010 9:49 pm

    i didnt say i wanted to “shoot all hipsters”….

    i said i wanted to start a website called “shootallhipsters”.

    on said website, i would make fun of hipsters. i remember when i was a suit wearing IT consultant in the late 90’s early ought’s. i would go to the huge tower records in center city philly and buy cds at lunch. i would go to pay and every single time it would be some freakin hipster type at the counter who would make some face about the purchase or just act judgemental in some way.

    well, i’m a capatalist. you can make fun of me all you want while you’re at your minimum wage job…..you damn hipster.

    he’s probably an act….but who really cares if it is or isn’t?

  34. L-A
    January 12, 2010 10:27 pm

    That was an epic post followed by epic comments.

  35. Zerbe
    January 13, 2010 3:42 am

    Why exactly is it that Dan needs a “clean suit, tie, towel, soap, deodorant, comb or brush”? I don’t understand the obsession with self-image that is coming to light here while commenters freak out about other people’s obsessions with self-image. Nothing has been “lost” on Dan; I have yet to meet someone who mattered in the slightest who has judged Dan based on his supposed “personal hygiene” issues, because they’re not issues at all–it’s just a difference of opinion of what smells “good” or “right.” I’ll take the body’s natural musk any day over the stench of Axe Body Spray that most guys our age douse themselves in. That’s what I think smells disgusting.

  36. LaReina
    January 13, 2010 8:42 am

    No obsession with self-image, Z, we just don’t like the smell of rancid rotting chicken parts, urine and old potatoes that tends to permeate any item of clothing dug out of a dumpster and donned by hipster doofuses (or is that doofi) like your boy Stinky.

  37. Betoon
    January 13, 2010 9:03 am

    On a literary note – remember Heidi wore all her clothes as she was leaving her house to live with her grandfather on “the mountain.” It kept her warm and she didn’t have to pack a thing. Maybe that’s what is going on here (hmm). The article itself wasn’t well written and I have to wonder why the PG put it in there in the first place – next thing to be revamped is the SEEN COLUMN I guess.

  38. Kelli
    January 13, 2010 9:05 am

    I’m so glad I wasn’t the only one who read this and found it to be among the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen published in my life.

  39. asl87
    January 13, 2010 10:10 am

    @Zerbe –

    There can be a nice, inoffensive middle ground between a cloud of axe body spray and a cloud of extreme body odor (yes – extreme. Not musky.).

    We’ve all been there. Maybe we forgot deodorant that day or woke up to late and just couldn’t get in a shower. Fine, no problem, we all have our skankier days.

    However, when your stench causes people to take you aside and have a talk with you, then you’re living in a way that is disrespectful to others.

  40. bucdaddy
    January 13, 2010 10:29 am

    Zerbe, I’ll say this sloooooowly for you:

    Dude can dress however he wants. That’s his space.

    Dude sits next to me and stinks, that’s my space.

  41. AaronC
    January 13, 2010 10:41 am

    So it seems that most people seem to be agreeing that yes this “Smelly Dan” character is in fact smelly, and looks like a wreck in his clothing formerly worn by the dead. And of course, he’s free to stink and look a wreck if he wants to. Fine.

    But why in the world would this “Georgia Templeton” person hold him (or those other vagrants) up to the world as an icon of Pittsbugh fashion?!?! It’s embarassing to me, insulting to the city, and she should be taken to task for it. Had the piece been on 20-somethings in Larrytown rolling around in their own filth then there wouldn’t be a discussion here. But it wasn’t.

  42. toni
    January 13, 2010 11:40 am

    To leave Dan and his body parts alone and get back to the article on question…yes annoying and entirely stupid. Definately filler with no purpose. As for the girl’s chic wrestling logoed shirt….go to any coffee house, college, etc and you can see a ton of kids in college shirts.

    I also have my own look…I call it studabuba couture. You look like a bag lady, you don’t give a shit but your warm as hell in 20 degrees.

  43. eileen
    January 13, 2010 11:44 am

    Who knew I was light years ahead of my time!!!
    As someone who lived in Lawrenceville 40 years before it was hip and wore hand me downs out of necessity, I wish we could have looked into the future, it would have saved years of humiliation. (probably at the hands of some of these hipsters wealthy parents.)
    @ Jen, love the “let’s go dumpster diving and then go buy a $3.00 cup of coffee.”
    HA, so true. Prob. charged to daddy’s charge card.

  44. Cnik
    January 13, 2010 11:44 am

    Here’s how I see this (boring) P-G article: The twenty-somethings of 2k10 wear clothes…. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Tomorrow we’ll find out that several of them also eat food and sleep.

    Welcome to the world of non-offensive PC news. Time to pop your soma tablets.

  45. Locasta
    January 13, 2010 12:09 pm

    You are all very mean and conceited people. I’m feel very sorry for you.

  46. Mel
    January 13, 2010 1:15 pm

    I’m sorry I read through all these comments – except for Z’s, they all make me pretty sad.

  47. Mel
    January 13, 2010 1:16 pm

    Wanting to live in a way that’s not wasteful has very little to do with how wealthy your parents are.

  48. LaReina
    January 13, 2010 5:16 pm

    Trying not to stink is “mean and conceited”?
    Who knew?

  49. Dana
    January 18, 2010 1:48 pm

    this doesn’t help Pittsburgh’s arguable status as being practically 10 years behind the fashion trends.