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#STYLISHPITTSBURGH // MEET LIZ PETONIAK, STYLE EDITOR AT A LOCAL MAGAZINE

Liz is one of the first people I met when we moved to Pittsburgh. I was looking to contribute to a local fashion magazine and had read and enjoyed some of Liz’s fashion features so reached out to her to see if she would be willing to meet me. A couple of weeks later we were sat in 21st Street Coffee, bonding over a love of fashion and Zara (it turned out that we’d both written to them saying they needed to open a store here), needless to say, we’ve been friends ever since!

Photo taken by Michael Fornataro

 You know that friend who turns up to drinks looking impeccable, after a crazy day at work? Well, that’s Liz. Her work schedule is kind of crazy – not only is she Style Editor for a local magazine, she also writes for a local food magazine, too – yet every time I see her she manages to look effortlessly stylish and polished!

It’s absolutely about time she was featured as part of my Stylish Pittsburgh feature, and I couldn’t be happier to share her interview with you!   

Photo taken by Michael Fornataro

 
Q: How long have you been in Pittsburgh and what do you think makes it such a great city to live in?

A: More than six years now! I first arrived here to study at the University of Pittsburgh and after graduating, I knew I wanted to stay. Coming from Buffalo, N.Y., what initially attracted me to Pitt was the urban campus feel, of course the Cathedral of Learning, and just that sense that there was SO much to do here, from all of the museums, to the restaurants and nightlife, and the beautiful green spaces. Since then, Pittsburgh has really only gotten better. It’s a wonderful time to be here. Many areas have experienced immense growth, like Downtown, East Liberty, the Strip, and Lawrenceville, where I live now. Each neighborhood exudes a specific vibe, has pretty good walkability within its own area, and each offers something different. It’s easy plan an entire day of activities here based off a mood. And, the welcoming and friendly community is one of the city’s best assets. No one has ever made me feel like an outsider and I’ve met some amazing people over the past few years. I truly believe that living a “great life,” however one wishes to define that, is attainable here in Pittsburgh.

Q: Your career must keep you ridiculously busy! What are your favorite things to do in Pittsburgh to unwind?

A: Anything active helps me relax. When the weather’s nice, I enjoy running outside on the river trails. My body really craves running so I try to fit it in at least three times a week. Yoga is an important part of my life as well. I took my first Bikram class seven years ago and I’ve been practicing consistently for over two years now. We’re very lucky to have a studio like Bikram Yoga Pittsburgh here! Recently, I’ve gotten into Pure Barre, which is a total change of pace for me, but I find it so fun!

I also love spending the morning shopping in the Strip District, then packing up for an afternoon picnic in Mellon Park or close by at Arsenal Cider House, or making a bomb dinner later on that night with all of my fresh finds. I’m pretty adventurous with trying out new recipes and cooking for others is one of my favorite activities. When I watch someone’s reaction and see their face light up with the “my lord, that is good!” expression, it gives me so much joy. Seeing the people in my life happy makes me happy. And, who doesn’t love good food?

Q: You have the opportunity to meet all sorts of stylish people in Pittsburgh, how would you describe the fashion scene here?

A: I would describe it as democratic and effortless. Walking around the city, you will see lots of types of styles, but there are a few common themes. Above all, I think Pittsburghers dress uniquely and fashionably without trying too hard and without being overly flashy. They’re not pretentious or snobby and have no problem wearing a gorgeous, designer gown to a gala on Saturday and then wearing a jacket they found at Goodwill on Sunday.

Q: How would you describe your style, and what influences it?

A: As a writer, I have the tendency to dress myself like a character in my own story, and that’s probably why I’m influenced by other fictional characters like Carrie from Sex and the City, and Blair and Serena from Gossip Girl. I really enjoy dressing for an occasion or a location and as a result, my style can be very “dynamic,” let’s say. It’s definitely grown to be more consistent over the years as I’ve learned what works best for me – tall boots, destroyed denim, anything cinched at the waist, fitted blazers, layered necklaces, etc.  I frequently go back and forth between boho and classic looks, but anytime I go for something more classic, there’s usually an edgier touch such as leather or unexpected accessories.

Q: Many people outside of Pittsburgh, have some pretty unsavory things to say about our style, what would you say to them? 

A: Can we please stop with the stereotypes?! If you catch the national news headlines about Pittsburgh, you’ll see that as a city we’ve been smashing through those previously held negative perceptions all while redefining our identity. Show me a guy wearing a Steeler jersey in the middle of June, and I’ll show you troupes of fantastically dressed people that live and work here. Also, don’t judge that guy. Because that’s pretty uncool.

If you’d like to check out the other stylish Pittsburghers I’ve interviewed, and find out more about #stylishpittsburgh campaign then head over here!

And if you’re a local boutique or style-obsessed Pittsburgher and would like to be featured, or maybe you know someone who you think deserves to be featured? Get in touch!!

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