Columns

SERIOUS Steelers Support & Fashion That Flatters

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

DEAR CAT: I was born in Pennsylvania, left when I was 18, joined the navy, now living in Hemet, California. I have been a huge Steelers fan since the 1970s. I have a Steelers tattoo and eventually my Harley Davidson will be painted with a Steelers theme. It took a year and a half to convince my wife to paint our house Black and Gold, but now the neighbors are complaining about the color. Mostly the wives are complaining, the husbands say I’m lucky to have a wife that understands my passion for the Steelers. To stop all the neighborhood talk, my wife now wants to paint our house a bland color like every other house on the block. How do I politely to tell neighbors to shut up about my choice of colors? – CITIZEN OF STEELERS NATION

Cat Note: This question was accompanied by several photos, one of which is published with the column in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. See it here.

DEAR STEELERS FAN: In terms of house colors, I don’t see the big deal here (not saying that as a Steelers fan, just as an onlooker). You chose a deep, warm yellow offset by black trim – if you weren’t an admitted, rabid Steelers fan, nobody would question the color choice. I suspect the real issue is the huge Steelers logo on your garage door which, unfortunately for your neighbors, faces the street. Some neighbors might find that decorative ‘accent’ a bit garish, but it’s your house and you’re free to decorate it however you wish. You don’t have to tell them to shut up, in fact you don’t have to say anything. Cat’s Call: If it makes you and your wife happy, that’s all that matters.

DEAR CAT: I don’t know if you can relate to my problem but I always like your viewpoint and I wanted to know what you think. I am somewhat overweight, about 30 lbs more than I should be, and every time spring (and summer, for that matter) comes around I stress a lot about my clothes. I am fashion-savvy enough to know you don’t have to “bare it all” to look good but I feel uncomfortable switching from sweaters and coats to shorts and skirts. I don’t think warm weather clothes flatter me. And all the bohemian styles that are “in” make me look frumpy. Your call? — FAN OF A COVER-UP

DEAR FAN: Fashion that flatters has nothing to do with seasons, it’s all about clothes that work for your body. First off, most shorts are unkind to most women, and they’re hardly a seasonal necessity so walk right past them in the stores. Second, adding a touch of boho chic is, well, chic! Try revisiting the idea because the style is comfortable and very flattering if you choose pieces carefully. Skip spaghetti straps and too much ruching. Instead opt for well cut, airy tunics over great jeans or capris. If you like skirts but fret over them, try dresses instead, they make you feel unhindered and unfussy, and they keep you covered. Choose ankle length or right at the knee for the best silhouette. BTW, please never (ever!) go for a drop waist – that’s worse than bad shorts. You’re savvy, so you know what matters most…Cat’s Call: When you feel good, you look good.

  1. DEAR CITIZEN OF STEELER NATION,

    Don’t pay any attention to those knuckleheads. They’re just jealous. It’s your home, your wife and your pride. They don’t pay you nor do they employ you and even if they did, they’d be in violation of the rules. The house looks GREAT from the picture you posted. Sounds like something I’d do anyways. Keep what you’ve got and let them know that as a proud Steeler fan, you’re not going to back down to their level by obliging their wims. Some people just can’t leave well enough alone. They’ve got to b&*%h some kind of way or another, just to start trouble. We call them LOSERS! ! ! Let them be LOSERS! ! !

    — Ed in Pittsburgh, PA    04/14/09    Reply

  2. Hi Cat,

    I really like your comments about spring clothing, mostly about adding touches of ‘bohemian’ to your wardrobe. I hope people don’t think you mean dressing like a wanderer. I LOVE the image of “airy tunics over great jeans” because every woman can wear it and look really good in it! Did you notice the trend of big shoulders is appearing on runways now? It’s the opposite of feminine, in my opinion. What do you think about that?

    ps: about the crazed Steelers fan in SoCal – I’m a NY fan, sorry Pittsburgh! I’m into Cat more than football, but that guy is an example of team devotion for you!

    — Claire D. from NYC    04/14/09    Reply

  3. Hi Claire from NYC,
    Yes, I have noticed the big shoulder look is coming back to fashion, but not to my wardrobe. The look was bad in the 80s and it hasn’t changed. Check out an article in today’s P-G about this very subject. PS: Sorry you’re not a Steelers fan, but you can get therapy for that.

    — Cat    04/14/09    Reply

  4. !!!Yinzer living in enemy territory (here for school) giving a shout out to Steelers fans!!!

    — D.Jr in Cleveland    04/14/09    Reply

  5. Your column today is hilarious! That picture is so funny, I can’t believe the stuff you get in the mail. Go Steelers!

    — R.P.K.    04/14/09    Reply

  6. I’m a Steeler fan but I’m not surprised his neighbors are upset. The garage is ugly and the logo is HUGE. Put yourself in his neighbor’s shoes. If you were living in CA and weren’t a Steeler fan, would you want that house next door to yours?

    — Kat    04/14/09    Reply

  7. I just wanted to comment about the Steeler fan in Hemet, CA. I say……you go boy!!!! I have lived in CA for the past 24 years and you can take the girl out of the Burgh but you can’t take the Burgh out of the girl.

    We have a neighbor that is a NASCAR fan and yes, you guessed it…he has a GIANT #28 painted on his garage……freedom of speech….

    As long as this guy doesn’t live in a planned community where they have rules and pay association fees…who cares. Last year I painted my house salmon..as my family calls it..PINK. The neighbors houses are all painted dark greens and browns…yep I’m pink and I’m proud :)

    — L.L. California    04/14/09    Reply

  8. I just read your column about the Californian who has a Steeler’s garage. I am not a Steeler’s fan or sports fan at all, but I think the garage is very tasteful. Unless there is a Homeowners Association that prohibits such flare they need to mind their business. Plus, if neighbors complain about that, how would they like living next to this guy in Monroeville, PA? It’s known as the Santucci Steeler House and it’s like this year round.

    — Amy B.    04/14/09    Reply

  9. I just read about the Steeler fan in CA. I wish my garage door looked like that. Looks like a quality job was done. If my neighbors didn’t like it that would make the situation better, I have my beliefs and you don’t. I have friends that like other teams. I tease them but I would never ask them to compromise their heart.

    — R.M. Pittsburgh    04/14/09    Reply

  10. I think you did a great job on the garage door , except you didn’t finish it... your neighbors would like it more if you put the six super bowl trophies on it. From x- pgher

    — Denny Ft. Pierce Florida    04/14/09    Reply

  11. Please don’t pay them any mind. They are probably either bitter Raiders or Chargers fans. It’s your house and your wife doesn’t mind so more power to you.

    — Danielle, Pittsburgh PA    04/14/09    Reply

  12. The cover-up fan should check out a few episodes of What Not To Wear from TLC. This TV show does wardrobe makeovers, frequently for women who carry a few extra pounds. The hosts do a great job of helping identify techniques to camouflage “problem areas” and make any shape look great. Frequent recommendations: change tapered jeans to straight-leg or boot cut to de-emphasize hips; highlight your waist with a tailored shirt that shows the smallest point instead of just falling from the bust; swap above-knee shorts for bermudas or a skirt; experiment with shirt and skirt lengths because the right ones can make your body look much better; avoid oversized clothes because we tend to imagine more than is there.

    — EK, Pittsburgh    04/14/09    Reply

  13. Yet again a great handling of the Steeler house. Perhaps, I would have added advice to any grumpy neighbors that it could be a “Cleveland Brown” house. What about the classical yard distraction of a life size, anatomically correct statue/fountain that spouts water from strategic places? Would that be more to the neighbors liking?

    — P.Smith. Pittsburgh, is there anyplace else?    04/14/09    Reply

  14. Cat … you just lost all of my respect by telling that guy with the Steelers logo to keep it if he likes it. Awful advice. That is a VERY VERY selfish move on his part. Not only is it ugly, but it takes the property value of his entire neighborhood down. Yes, it is technically his right to do that, but it is really no different than any other manner (e.g. it is your right to talk on the cell phone in a crowded elevator, but you wouldnt tell someone to do that). What if his neighors were in bad financial needs and/or wanted to retire and had to sell their house – now they can’t because this selfish prick? Not right. That advice was the type of advice a friend gives when the friend thinks they should just tell the person what they want to hear. Ugh, was it bad.

    — David B. (Pittsburgh)    04/14/09    Reply

  15. Hi Cat,

    Regarding the Steeler Garage in Hemet, California……you’ve got to be kidding me! This Pittsburgh Steeler fellow would actually care about what his neighbors think? Since when, unless you live in a gated community that has very stringent rules regarding the size, value, color scheme, etc., of your home, (and knowingly you make the decision to live in a place that has those restrictions) would anyone actually consider the rude and unsolicited comments of others, about the artistic expressions he has painted on his home and/or garage?????What is this world coming to? Are we not afforded the freedom of speech and others?

    Now we have to get our neighbor’s approval of a color scheme, prior to the decision we make? Oh maybe it’s a California thing? I can’t imagine anyone east of the Mississippi, giving anyone a hard time about the color scheme of their garage.

    I guess that’s one of the benefits of living in California, letting your neighbors tell you what to do. I have to say, with all my heart…Pittsburgh, PA has never looked so good.

    — Becky M.    04/14/09    Reply

  16. Hey Cat,
    My call: I know I would have answered the house color question the same way. I applaud you for subtly hinting that his Steelers fever hit a “garish” pitch while saying he has the right to do it, and that’s that. BUT let’s face it, treating your home like a styrofoam “We’re #1!” finger is about as classy as wearing jeans that show your butt crack. I grew up in Pittsburgh, I am also a “rabid” Steelers fan, I read the Post-Gazette every day (in addition to three other papers) and I LOVE your column. But you know as well as I do that that kind of year-round home display degrades the greatest sports team in history to nothing more than one person’s pastime obsession.

    — Cat Fan (waaay outside of Pittsburgh)    04/14/09    Reply

  17. Hey Hemet – fellow ‘Stillers’ fan here! Your house is AWESOME, don’t let anyone tell you different. Here we go Steelers – all the way to a 7th next year!

    — Jim in San Diego    04/15/09    Reply

  18. The Steelers are the greatest team in sports history and celebrated all over the world for their heart & determination. I love them, love them, love them! Spent my younger years in western PA, it makes you a better person! My husband? He’s not into football but as you say Cat, we can get him therapy for that! Go Steelers!

    — Anne, Proud Citizen of Steelers Country (resident of Denver CO)    04/15/09    Reply

  19. Confidence comes from within. You can pull off anything if you wear it right and feel right. If she doesn’t like the way she looks in spring colors it may have more to do with her own opinion of herself. She can exercise, write a journal of all the good she’s done or anything else that will make her feel better about herself. Then she’ll be able to pull off anything.

    — Raj, South Side    04/16/09    Reply

  20. Cat, I’m going to have to agree with David above on the Steelers garage (except that you haven’t lost my respect at all).

    I grew up in Pittsburgh and so did my parents, grandparents and their parents. I am a Pittsburgher through and through. However, let’s get real about painting your house this way. I mean, I liked Hello Kitty as a child, can i paint my garage this? No -it is ridiculous and childish and absolutely insane.

    Yes we can all have our personal tastes in what we like, but we all don’t need to advertise it on our garage. Absolutely ridiculous!

    — Pgh Girl, Mt. Lebanon    04/16/09    Reply

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