I'll Try Anything Once: Coffee-Stained T-Shirt

It's this sort of thing that make my husband ask if xoJane is a sorority and if they are “hazing” me.

Oct 4, 2011 at 11:00am | Leave a comment

A few days ago, Emily e-mailed me a link to a T-shirt Alexander Wang designed to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of Starbucks. It’s being sold at Nordstrom and retails for a cool $85. And just what kind of look says “celebration” most? Gird your loins, people.

To my utter surprise, Emily wasn’t dropping hints about an early birthday present or something. (“You shouldn’t have! No, really…you shouldn’t have.”) She had far more sinister things in mind – I was to DIY my own version of the T and wear it around town.

These are the sort of e-mails that make my husband ask if xoJane is a sorority and if they are “hazing” me. But I’m nothing if not obedient.

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My home-brewed homage was created with an $8.50 Old Navy T-shirt and a steaming cup of Starbucks Via® instant coffee. I actually did try to emulate the more subtle drips of the original tee, but apparently hot beverages want to spread around when they hit cotton.

This whole look says “OOPS,” so I didn’t think it was a big deal. I added a few coffee cup rings as well, which I think add a certain je ne sais caffeine.

I headed out the door to grab dinner with a friend. He laughed in my face the moment he saw me, which was 75 percent due to my shirt and 25 percent due to the pot brownie he ate before meeting me. As we were seated at the restaurant, a woman at the table next to ours gave me a hard stare, then shook her head at her companion without even trying to hide her disgust. I felt pretty revolting, so I couldn’t blame her.

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For the most part though, our evening was pretty uneventful. I got funny looks here and there, but mostly from children -- who probably just recognized me as their sartorial equal. I did get strangely over-attentive service from our waiter, which my friend hypothesized was due to the guy recognizing the T-shirt as an expensive designer piece.

“He thinks you’re a high roller!”

Craving more interaction and feedback, I decided I’d wear the shirt again the next day while running a few errands. My first stop was the frou-frou waxing studio, as I was in major need of some ‘stache and brow maintenance. I figured it was a good chance to look grody in front of well-groomed, fashionable ladies.

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My homemade T-shirt was nearly 48 hours old by now, and as I lay under the hot magnifying lamp with my sweet aesthetician waxing and plucking me so thoroughly, I felt GUILT. Guilt for subjecting her to my hideously stale old-coffee odor.

There was no escape from the fumes wafting up from my chest and we both knew it. So I told her about my little scheme and asked what she thought of my look. I wondered if she’d thought it was a legitimate designer piece or if I was just a scumbag. She probably sees all kinds of ridiculous fashion choices in her line of work.

Surely enough, she confided that, “Everyone in L.A. dresses like homeless rich kids anyway, so I was totally willing to believe you were just being gross on purpose.”

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My next stop was the grocery store, which has a mini-Starbucks inside. I chatted with the barista as she made my Grande Iced Skinny Hazelnut Latte, and I asked her what she thought of my shirt. She looked it over in silence, obviously not wanting to hurt my feelings.

I said, “Please be honest, I swear it’s okay.”

She replied that I looked like I messed myself.

I explained to her that I was trying to emulate a look her employer was offering online for almost a hundred bucks a pop, which she seemed to find hilarious. She gave me some tips on how I might better have dribbled the coffee so as to create a more deliberate-looking pattern -- like a tie-dye. Indeed, my version looks more like tie-diarrhea.

My take-away from this assignment? People who see you in the Alexander Wang shirt (or a much cheaper DIY’d knock-off) are very likely to think you lack basic motor and hygiene skills, but will be too polite to comment on it unless provoked.

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Who am I to say, though, that food-splattered fashion won’t be the next big thing. Why not just coat your clothes with all the foods you love and see what develops?

When I got home I doctored up my coffee T with some of my favorite hot sauce. I think it’s going to be the new little black dress. Wait and see, doubters!