The weirdest thing about visiting Alaska was seeing everyone wearing their souvenir shirts, hats, windbreakers, and leg warmers the day they bought them. In my experience, people usually wait to wear their bear-eagle-moose-wolf-caribou-Mount-McKinley vomit-collage sweatshirt until they get home, but outside Denali every tourist was fully emblazoned in AK-wear. It was as if they needed reminding where they were every time they passed a mirror. I thought you could do that by just looking up, but as we're all quickly learning, the Last Frontier quickly intoxicates non-natives.
If your tastes run both preppier and more towards the desert southwest, witness the glorious creation above. Artist Thomas Ruff created this limited-edition Polo shirt for the 75th anniversary of LaCoste (you know, the French fashion company that makes shirts with the crocodile above your left nipple). Ruff chose to cover the shirt with a pixelated image of the Grand Canyon that appears sharp from afar and blurry when close.
Celebrities like Michael Stipe, David Byrne, Karl Lagerfeld, and a host of other artists joined in creating signature anniversary shirts, but to my eyes they don't compare to Ruff's perplexing ode to the Big Ditch. Interested? You'll have to buy the shirt as part of a $250 set. But relax: It also includes shirts covered with frightening images of model Linda Evangelista and a movie-poster collage from Pedro Almodovar. That's value.
The hardest part for me will be finding a place to wear it. Either I better start hanging with elderly Japanese tourists at Flagstaff or find a country club that doesn't care if I blind fellow players on the green with my stunning choices in course wear.
That, or I find a way to have grandkids right now.
— Ted Alvarez