You know it, that one "around the house only" beloved item of clothing that you unapologetically relax in that doubles as a wearable napkin. Salsa,


In Honor of Turkey Day: The Napkin Shirt, a Personal Story

You know it, that one "around the house only" beloved item of clothing that you unapologetically relax in that doubles as a wearable napkin. Salsa, onion dip, burritos, whatever. You know you do it. We all do it.

Though no holiday exists specifically for the napkin shirt, nothing comes closer than the four-day weekend of eating and sports-watching that begins this Thursday. In honor of this private tradition, we ask you to leave your napkin shirt story in the comments section of this post. The best one wins... a brand new napkin shirt.

I put the napkin shirt question to many notable Seattleites, but only a few were willing to discuss their permanently dirty laundry. After the jump, Chris Navarra (Prost!, Die Bierstube, Feierabend), Justin Esch (Bacon Salt) and Ben Friedman (Homegrown Sandwiches) bravely share their stories, as do I. (above: Justin Esch proudly showing off his Marcus Trufant napkin shirt)

CHRIS NAVARRA, Prost!, Die Bierstube, Feierabend

Will a napkin hat count? I actually have a hat and a shirt. The hat is a San Francisco Giants 2003 National League champions hat. I wear this hat EVERYWHERE. I even had it on for the birth of my daughter! It has stains on it from bar construction, smoke stains from 5 years of the Pipers Creek Smoke Off, grease stains from working on my 1969 bus, and numerous stains from slinging brats and sauerkraut at the pubs. I still, however, where this hat out in public...even though my wife thinks i should burn it.

The shirt is an original Primo Beer shirt from Hawaii that my high school girlfriend got for me in 1992. As of last year, it became officially unwearable. The armpits in the shirt no longer exist. The sleeves pretty much have fallen off. The stains uncountable, and while I'm sure each represented good times, they have been long forgotten. This shirt has been made into a quilt for my eight-month-old daughter, along with other shirts that have seen their time come and gone.

BEN FRIEDMAN & BRAD GILLIS, Homegrown Sandwiches

Napkin shirts must be talked about; they cannot remain hidden away forever. My napkin shirt is a long-sleeved, green 1991 Grateful Dead live at the Boston Garden t-shirt with stains ranging from my grandmother's amazing raspberry freezer jam on the right cuff and the last vestiges of a pastrami-hash breakfast sandwich from last Sunday. Brad Gillis, our co-owner, has a Bowdoin Lacrosse t-shirt with homemade coriander ketchup stain in the shape of New Zealand on the bottom and spatters of homemade marshmallow fluff decorate the torn v-neck collar.


I absolutely have a napkin shirt. It's my Seattle Seahawks Marcus Trufant #23 jersey. I wear it everywhere, especially when I travel. I am not only a die-hard Seahawks fan but I attended Washing State University at the same time as Marcus Trufant played for WSU and had a couple classes with him. It's my single favorite piece of clothing. Year round, it is appropriate for all occasions.

My Hawks jersey is stained from top-to-bottom. First, I never wash it during the season. Never. It's bad luck. That's 16 weeks of the regular season, 4 weeks of preseason, and (if I'm lucky) one to four weeks of post-season play; so you're talking about a potential 24-week "no wash" napkin shirt that is worn a minimum of 1 time per week for a solid 4-8 hours of binge beer drinking, tailgate snacking on bratwurst and seven-layer dip, whatever stadium food I wash down with a $8.50 beer and potential post-game happy hour black-out celebrating. I would sleep in it if my girlfriend let me. She say's it smells like a "hobo's sweat sock washed in garbage". Aside from the standard ketchup, mustard, relish, sour kraut, beans, guacamole, brat juice and Sriracha hot sauce it has a very nice collection of blood stains, mostly mine, some others.


My napkin shirt is my University of Illinois sweatshirt that I bought 16 years ago on a buying binge when I realized my student I.D. doubled as a charge card. I managed to seal its destiny within fifteen minutes of purchase with a big drooling stain of yellow mustard. We've been together ever since, through copious amounts of hot wings, nachos, and deep dish. The cuffs are permanently stained with a pattern that is half barbecue sauce and half chip residue.

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