Vestis, which is Latin for clothing, now helps close that gap, selling upscale men’s basics, including selvage denim, button-downs, t-shirts and Henleys, as well as sweaters and outerwear with a focus on ethically-manufactured clothing made in America. Romagni found brands he wanted to stock through visits to New York and men’s fashion blogs and he sought out smaller brands that weren’t yet available in the Pittsburgh area.
“I wanted to focus on quality stuff that people could wear that only gets better with age,” he says. Items sold at Vestis aren’t meant to be worn for just a season, but for years to follow.
During the first week of being open at the end of September, Romagni had customers visit specifically for Vestis’ sustainable and made in America products.
For fall and winter, the shop stocks soft work shirts and flannels from Faherty, an NYC-based brand that uses sustainable practices across the globe to produce its clothes. And it carries Pennsylvania-produced brands, such as Woolrich. Romagni hopes to add more Pittsburgh names as he grows his inventory.
Once deemed one of the worst-dressed cities, Pittsburgh is now attracting small clothing brands looking to expand here. “People have been so excited to get their brands out to Pittsburgh,” Romagni explains. “I wasn’t necessarily expecting that.”
Vestis is currently collaborating with New York-based brand Camp Hero to develop a beaded belt to honor Pittsburgh and the city’s heritage.
In addition to clothing and belts, Vestis carries bags, key chains, socks, grooming products and luggage for men. “It’s hard to find a great piece of luggage,” says Romagni.
The Gilded Girl Cosmetics, 5104 Butler Street
Liz Quesnelle, owner of The Gilded Girl, knows skin care.
Traditionally trained in theater makeup, Quesnelle has over a decade of experience working as a licensed esthetician. After running her own one-woman spa in Chicago for several years, she closed up shop and moved to Pittsburgh with her husband in 2012. With experience in both makeup and skin care, Quesnelle combined her passion and knowledge to create The Gilded Girl which opened in late September.
The Gilded Girl is colorfully stocked with hard-to-find boutique brands from all over the world. “I sell mostly products that have been largely unavailable in Pittsburgh, even in the western Pennsylvania area. In one case, I am the only person in the United States to carry the brand.”
Products include colorful nail polishes devoid of harsh chemicals and hard-to-find brand Bloom and Blossom, a UK pregnancy and baby skin care line with a cult following.
“I focus on ingredients,” says Quesnelle. “Having been in the industry for so long has helped me figure out which products to carry.”
To Quesnelle’s surprise, the most popular selling item has been a bright purple lipstick, which sold out days after the shop opened. Other favorites include handmade vintage pillboxes containing lip balm and innovative single-use makeup application papers for customers on the go.
“I have products at a variety of price ranges,” Quesnelle says, “and I don’t have a set audience. I’m here for anybody who wants to try something new, to experience a product they’ve never seen before.”
When the back room renovations are complete, The Gilded Girl plans to offer tutorial classes, Quesnelle’s answer to wine and paint nights.
“It’ll be a space where people can come in and learn a particular look, like holiday occasion, smokey eyes or skin care,” Quesnelle says. “Visitors can bring some wine and learn a new skill.”
Visit The Gilded Girl’s website to shop online and learn about upcoming classes and events.
Toll Gate Revival, 3711 Butler Street
Toll Gate Revival started as a hobby for owner Seth Hunter who searched Pennsylvania and nearby states for antiques in his spare time. Soon, he realized he could make some money on the side selling the pieces he found so he started operating out of a studio on the Northside.
“It started out as a storage facility for me, and eventually, I started opening the space up to the public, having open houses one or two times a month,” says Hunter.