After 15 years of producing television news, Thomas West decided he’d had enough.
“I’ve always liked underwear and I don’t like to buy it online,” he says.
That’s why West and his business partner, Adam Childers, opened Trim Pittsburgh — a boutique-style shop offering designer fashions in men’s underwear, swimwear, tee shirts and socks in the space at 5968 Baum Boulevard in East Liberty. But this isn’t your standard Hanes 3-pack fare.
“If you want anything other than something you can get at Macy’s, there’s really no place to go,” West says. “We thought we’d offer some options that wouldn’t be available in Pittsburgh otherwise. This way, you can come in, you can feel the fabric, see how it may fit, that type of thing.”
Trim’s product lines — which encompass all manner of different fabrics and styles — come from all over the world. There are a number of domestically made brands but also imports from Colombia, Australia, swimwear from Spain and socks from Sweden. Trim also carries fashions from Montreal-based manufacturer Pump, which West says is one of the underwear world’s most popular brands.
“Pump is interesting because you have to be approved to carry Pump,” West says, adding that until Trim opened, the closest places to get the highly selective line were in New York and Washington, D.C.
Swag & Valor, a Seattle-based brand started by University of Pittsburgh alumnus Doug Hill, makes underwear for larger guys and boasts former Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley as an investor. They even produce underwear suitable for game day.
“If you put a good pair on and you walk into the office, you just have sense that comes over you which makes you feel more courageous. It’s a big confidence booster,” West says. “When you wear something that feels really good, it can put you in a great mood.”
In addition to cornering the Pittsburgh market for guys who are already into underwear, Trim challenges more conventional or traditional dressers to take risks.
“It may not be your thing, but I dare you to come in here, buy a pair and walk out and not feel excited about looking forward to wearing them,” West says.