This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 19, 2011 - Randy Vines' least favorite T-shirt at STL-Style is also one of the store's most popular. It reads: "Where'd you go to high school?"
"I'll be honest," he says. "We hate that one."
But it's also a favorite of customers. "So we have to have it because it's very St. Louis, for better or worse."
What's important, Vines says, is that people don't take the question so seriously. And a new T-shirt STL-Style is producing might help with that.
It reads: "High School? Don't ask, don't tell."
"We're owning this," says Lisette Dennis. "This is a St. Louis thing, and we want to find the humor in it."
The idea came from Dennis and Diane Kline, who are both with the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission which sponsored a recent event featuring Peter Kageyama, author of "For the Love of Cities." The more she thought about it, the more Dennis wanted to really do something, and the T-shirt was one result.
The T-shirt should take several weeks to produce, and in the meantime, Dennis plans to print the slogan on a sign and hit the streets to take photos of people with it.
Once they're finished, "High School? Don't ask, don't tell" shirts will be available at stl-style.com.
The hope, Dennis says, is that the T-shirt will help bring people together instead of separating them.
Though she didn't go to high school here, "St. Louis still belongs to me," Dennis says. "We want everyone here to have a part of St. Louis."