By Sierra Smith | Photographs by Michael Fornataro
Thomas West presents a staggering selection of luxury underwear, swimwear, apparel, and more, just for men, at TRIM Pittsburgh.
Ask a woman her favorite underwear store and you’ll get a laundry list of answers — but the question tends to go unanswered for men, as they’re hard-pressed to find a specialty store in their area. “When it comes to underwear,” says Thomas West, “a lot of guys are stuck going to the same places, wearing the same stuff.”
Enter TRIM Pittsburgh, a men’s underwear and swimwear store, owned by West, that stocks more than 40 international and domestic brands, and suddenly (finally!) men have the options they’ve craved. The store caters to the men of Pittsburgh, and surrounding areas, by providing luxury underwear, swimwear, apparel, and shaving supplies from hard-to-find brands like PUMP!, Parke & Ronen, Happy Socks, and many more. One step inside reveals the countless options available, as racks of colorful underwear in every cut imaginable completely cover the dark gray walls.
For West, the store is a way to express his personality and make his mark on the city. “It’s in the store if I like it. That’s how I bring a little bit of myself,” he says. “It’s [me], but on shelves.” The endeavor has also allowed West to fulfill his dream of owning a small business, while also working on revitalizing TRIM’s East Liberty home. He believes stores like his keep communities fresh and thriving. “I want to see small businesses survive, that’s my biggest thing. If we lose our small businesses, it won’t be good for anyone.”
Be on the lookout in late November when TRIM celebrates Small Business Saturday, the oft-forgotten younger sibling of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. As a member of East Liberty’s Chamber of Commerce, West dedicates himself to creating change within his community. “You don’t get the chance often to get into a neighborhood that’s up and coming,” he says. But standing at the helm of TRIM Pittsburgh, filling a long-ignored void in men’s fashion, West can continue to pave the way for innovation.“[My store is] a pathway to help me help others.”
TRIM Pittsburgh, 5968 Baum Blvd., East Liberty. 412.512.9251. trimpittsburgh.com.
How would you describe your personal style?
Thomas West: “When I comes to personal style, it all depends on my mood. A lot of times, it’s casual because I own an underwear store and when people come into my store I want them to feel at ease. But when I go out at night, I like to dress up a little bit.”
What inspires your fashion sense?
TW: “A lot of my inspiration comes from my traveling. I like to travel. I’ve been to Ireland, Norway, Germany, France, and each country has its own style, so when you go there you can take a little bit of that style.”
What are your favorite designers, brands, and places to shop?
TW: “When I travel, I like to stop in local stores. In Pittsburgh, I like to support local and small businesses, whether it be Moda in Shadyside or Vestis in Lawrenceville.”
Who are your style icons?
TW: “If you look at Marlon Brando back in the 1950s, he could wear a T-shirt or a tailored suit and look like he was starting a new trend. And Calvin Harris, it’s the same with him. He looks stylish in whatever he’s wearing. You can’t go wrong with simple.”
What are your wardrobe essentials?
TW: “Good underwear! Underwear can really make or break your day. For guys, you can be assertive in a certain pair of underwear, you can be more laid back, you can feel sexy. You don’t always see it, but let me tell you, it makes all the difference!”