An Ode to Story and Soil Merch

I’ve always been such a merch lover. For my school, for extracurricular activities, Wesleyan merch, however, is almost too ubiquitous. Red font is emblazoned everywhere, and many of the styles skew athletic, which is not everyone’s cup of tea. None of the clothing I bought when I got in in the far past year of 2019 fits me either. Unisex sizing is super confusing, and I am understandably a different woman now than I was in pre-pandemic high school. With growing up inevitably comes changes in style, and thus new pathways of repping your school to discover. 


Story and Soil, on the other hand, is to me a fresh and exciting merch opportunity. The food there is incredible, the vibes are perfect small town cafe, and something about owning a bookstore’s merch feels adorable and literary and perfectly quirky. For those of us without cars, RJ Julia may sometimes feel like too much of a trek, especially on a jam-packed weekday. Every trip to my favorite local cafe is thus all the more special, breaking up the monotony of Pi Cafe and Swings (which I deeply appreciate no hate). 

Over these past months, I have noticed Story and Soil merch of all kinds cropping up around campus–crewnecks, t-shirts, hats, stickers, water bottles even. At the end of last semester, friends with extra points were blowing all their excess points on these expensive items.  Inspiring! 

As an oatmilk-latte-novel-reading college student, bookstore clothing is right up my alley. RJ Julia, proprietor of the best bookstore cafe I have ever encountered, only has two locations in all of Connecticut. The store’s merch is a celebration of the culture that makes Wesleyan and Middletown unique. A thick and long-lasting crewneck commemorating your college experience can also be treasured and worn long past graduation. 

But each time I have visited recently, the selection is low. Too many RJ Julia lovers have purchased much of the available items. ;( My inability to buy these beautiful pieces has only made me want them more, as is often the case with popular clothing pieces that sell out in the blink of an eye. Hopefully they restock soon. (And side note also hopefully in time they will maybe serve breakfast later than 12 but it’s OK). For now I will just stay jealous.

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