We’re back with our first post of 2019, and what better business to kick off the new year than one that pays homage to Pittsburgh right in its name: Steel City Clothing, located both online and at their flagship store downtown.
The Steel City Story
Steel City Clothing was founded by married couple Brandon and Carly, who wanted something more for their lives and their family. The pair wanted to find work that allowed them to live better than just paycheck to paycheck, but also allowed them to continue to spend time with their children.
The company was formed in their living room, the first few designed were created, and the real work began. Brandon and Carly booked tables at every craft show, vendor fair, and crafter’s showcase that they could find, contacted local boutiques, networked, and built an online presence. In the beginning, they barely broke even, and spent their nights — after work, family time, and getting their kids to bed — filling online orders. It wasn’t an easy task, and taking the leap from steady weekly pay and health benefits to growing a new business was both scary and exciting.
Lucky for all of us, they stuck with it, and have even “made it big.” They have sold their products with big retailers like Nordstrom, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Urban Outfitters, are the only independent brand featured by the NFL, and have outfitted celebrities like Seth Meyers, Joe Manganiello, Eddie Vedder, and even the entire Pittsburgh Steelers’ football team.
Products at Steel City
Though they are marketed as Steel City Clothing, with the back of the company built on t-shirts, but the brand encompasses many products, including accessories and gifts. Products are sold by collection.
The City of Pittsburgh collection features the brand’s signature Steel City logo products, tributes to Heinz ketchup and the incline, homage to Kennywood’s “Goodnight” heart, and much more. The Steel City Logo Christmas Tee was perfect for all Christmas party festivities this past holiday season. It’s lightweight and unbelievably soft, and somehow just nicer than a regular old t-shirt. The quality of the materials is apparent, and makes everything worth the price.
In addition to tees you can find Yinzer socks, PGH caps, logo hoodies, baby onesies, children’s t-shirts, greeting cards, bottle openers, koozies, pennants, keychains, and even a trivia game as a part of this collection.
Pittsburghers love the Steelers. While we watch more hockey here at Getting to Know Pittsburgh, we can still appreciate all the Steelers references that the Steel City football collection has to offer. If you’re looking for something to show your pride in the 1975 or 1979 Steel Curtain, your ongoing excitement about the Immaculate Reception, or your displeasure with the refs because “Jesse James Caught That Ball,” then you’ve come to the right place.
You can also pick up your Steelers hypo print and blitzburgh socks, “I drool black and gold” onesies, kid’s apparel, and current and former Steelers players Funko Pops right here.
Did you know “Sidney Crosby Is Really Good At Hockey,” or that “Jake Guentzel Is A Hockey Legend?” How about “Phil Kessel Is A World Champion?” If, like us, you believe all those things are true, you can get t-shirts, hoodies, and socks to prove it from Steel City’s hockey collection. You can also show your love of history with Civic Arena and Pittsburgh Hornets tees, prove your desire to “Party Hard,” or display your appreciation for Mike Lange-isms with this clever collection.
Raise It! And by “it” we mean one of the Pittsburgh Pirates-themed tees from Steel City’s baseball collection. Hey, you could use them as rally towels, or even flags if you want to get creative. If “The Bucs Make [You] Drink,” you’ve got nostalgia for the Homestead Grays, Three Rivers Stadium, or Forbes Field, or if you’re just here for the pierogies, this collection has you covered.
A baseball collection wouldn’t be complete without hats. You can choose from “Raise It” ball caps, and old-time Pirates pillbox hats in two different colors.
You can take the mills out of Pittsburgh, but you can’t take the love of beer out of the former mill workers. Steel City gets it, and has a collection dedicated to the most famous beers of the ‘Burg: Duquesne Pilsner, Fort Pitt Beer, Stoney’s, and, of course, Iron City.
In addition to shirts, this collection includes bottle openers, beer glasses, koozies, and buttons.
Who doesn’t love Mister Rogers? Steel City has obtained licensing to bring you exclusive tees and products from Mister Rogers Neighborhood. Choose from Mister Rogers logo apparel, and tees that proclaim “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” “Speedy Delivery,” or that you “Believe in Make Believe.” Other shirts feature the neighborhood trolley and a heart with the number 143, which stands for I (1) Love (4) You (3), inside. Other products in this collection include stickers, buttons, socks, hoodies, mugs, and hats with the same prints.
Steel City also sells other Mister Rogers products that are not produced by their brand. These include Funko Pops, enamel pins, sticky notes, soap, magnetic dress up toys, and a wooden classic trolley set.
Local celebrity Pittsburgh Dad has an exclusive collection with Steel City. Most products spoof not only the city, but also episode of the web series by the same name. Choose from tees, socks, beer glasses, buttons, mugs, koozies, and calendars to show your support for the funniest web series this side of Pittsburgh.
Whether you #H2P, “Lock the Gates”, hope to “Dominate the State,” or turn on the “Victory Lights,” Steel City has something for every Panthers fan. Choose from looks in the old-time blue and yellow, the new navy and gold scheme, and the old time Pitt script in tees, hoodies, jackets, socks, and onesies.
Steel City is not just a fashionable, customer-friendly company, but they also do a lot of charity work as well. Particularly with their Pittsburgh is Stronger Than Cancer Collection.
This collection offers three t-shirts – pink and white, black and gold, and blue and yellow – which all read “Pittsburgh is Stronger Than Cancer.” One-hundred percent of the proceeds from these shirts benefit different cancer prevention, awareness, and support organizations.
Proceeds from the purchase of a pink and white shirt benefit The DeAngelo Williams Foundation to provide women with free mammograms. Proceeds from the purchase of a black and gold shirt benefit the Heyward House, which supports the Reflections of Grace Foundation, which cares for children with brain cancer. Finally, proceeds from the blue and yellow tee go to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh to support the families of children diagnosed with pediatric cancer.
Though now sold out, Steel City also produced a shirt in the wake of the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh in October, and donated 100 percent of the proceeds to the Tree of Life congregation. That shirt was not part of the Pittsburgh is Stronger Than Cancer collection, but it is another testament to Steel City’s good faith effort to give back to our community.
If you are a fan of delivered-to-your-door box subscriptions, you’ll want to check out Steel City’s Tee Club. Each month, you’ll receive one brand new tee, designed exclusively for Tee Club members only.
Order by the 19th of the month to receive the current month’s tee (you’ve got 10 days to get your order in for January!). If you would, for some strange reason, be unsatisfied with your membership, or, more likely, you have to buckle down on your budget and cut back on fun purchases, you can cancel your membership at any time.
Pricing at Steel City
To me, pricing at Steel City makes sense. Though I’m not part of the business or design teams with the store, I feel the items are priced based on production costs.
All adult short-sleeve tees are $29.99, with the exception of sale items, which can cost anywhere between $9.99 and $24.99. When you sign up for the Steel City Tee Club, you’re also paying just $29.99 a month to receive a shirt. No markups, no gimmicks. You do have to pay $3.99 shipping and handling on your Tee Club packages, but if you purchased products from their online store you would have to pay shipping on those as well. I think it’s nice that they’re not gouging you to be a “member,” or acting like they’re giving you a fabulous “exclusive” deal that ends up costing you more in the long run.
As for pricing on other products, things are consistent across the board. Long-sleeve shirts are $32.99, more than short-sleeve tees because they require more fabric; Kid’s tees are $24.99; Onesies are $19.99; Socks are $9.99; Knit beanies are $19.99 and ball caps are $28. I’m not going to list every single product, but you get the idea. The more material, the more expensive a product is, with pullover hoodies hitting the top of the price range at $54.99.
Some people might think “$30? For a T-shirt?” And yes, I can understand that line of thinking when organizations give out free t-shirts all the time, and you can go to Walmart and buy a plain t-shirt for just a few bucks. But you’re not getting the same quality of product with Walmart and the giveaways.
T-shirts licensed by sports organizations, and concert t-shirts will run you, at the very least, $30, and their quality still isn’t even as nice as that of Steel City. Sure, they’re durable, and they’ll last, but Steel City’s shirts are soft, tagless, and fit really well, as long as you buy the right size.
Sizing at Steel City
As I’ve said before on the blog, sizing for me is a logistical nightmare. At Steel City, it doesn’t have to be. All clothing comes in unisex sizing. That means the cuts, the lengths, and everything else about the clothes are standard, the way women’s clothing sizes never ever seem to be.
Most of the adult-sized shirts come in XS to 3XL, though the online size chart goes up to 4XL. Sweatshirts and hoodies go up to 2XL, and joggers go up to XL. Kids tees range in size from XS (4-6) to XL (12-14), and onesies range from 3-6M to 12-18M. Other products like hats, socks are one-size only.
If you’re worried about getting a shirt that’s too small, consider checking out the product descriptions before you purchase. The descriptions will tell you the material from which the shirt is made, the type of fit you can expect, and whether the item is pre-shrunk or not. I wear a medium in unisex t-shirts, and I purchased the Steel City Christmas Logo Tee in a medium, without trying it on, and it fit perfectly. It’s been through the washer and drier too, and it didn’t shrink. If you have a “normal size” in shirts, you should be able to purchase that size without any worries.
Shipping, Returns and More
I’m one of the rare people that prefers to shop in-store for things, especially clothes, but not everyone feels that way. Luckily, you have the option to shop in-store and online with Steel City Clothing. If you’re an online shopper, the web store gives you some shipping information before you even purchase your items.
The “Quick Ship” tab in the product description will let you know if your item is in stock, and when you can expect it to ship. Most will ship the same business day, Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., depending on when you make your purchase. Obviously, if you purchase something at midnight the order won’t be filled until the next day.
Also, returns don’t have to be a hassle at Steel City. You have 365 days – yes, an entire year – to make a return or exchange on a product. For online customers, you also get free shipping on returns and exchanges.
Photo Op at Steel City
You know by now that we’re always looking for fun and unique Photo Ops around Pittsburgh. The Steel City flagship store has one! Painted on the side of the building, along Strawberry way, next to the parking garage, is a large Steel City mural, done in the style of old-time side-of-the-building billboards that used to exist not only downtown, but in places like Homestead. Make sure you stop by and strike a pose during your visit!
Steel City Clothing
- Monday through Saturday – 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Sunday – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.