Saturday, June 11, 2016

Before and After (PSA Disguised as a Fashion Post)

Because I love you guys, there's going to be a heavy-handed lecture (with photos) at the end of this post about sun exposure and the consequences later in life. I know you don't come here looking for photos of my scarred back, so I'll understand if you just want to check out today's outfit, and scram. I rarely wear anything that shows my back, so I thought it might be a good opportunity to frighten the younger set into taking precautions in the sun. Anyway, just a heads-up that the post will have you looking at sun damage on an old lady's (mine) back. I know, "Old lady...ewwwww."

This cotton dress is another piece of Mexican tourist wear, though much later than most of the pieces I own. I would guess it is late 80's-90's but it could be even newer. Made in Guadalajara, it is clearly for the tourist trade as the label and washing instructions are in English. The patch on the front is a pocket-just large enough to carry a room key and a few Pesos to the resort beach. "Resort Beach", are there any better words in the English language? Anyway, with our heat of 104 F degrees expected (that's 40 degrees Celsius outside the US) and high humidity, the thought of wearing much more than a loose cotton dress isn't terribly appealing. Sadly, Omaha is not a beach resort (no beach=no beach resort) and if I want a tropical drink I'll have to fix it myself.

As I'm prone to severe sunburn (I'll be getting to that later) I need to keep covered-up in the direct sun. This Eileen Fisher shirt is light enough to wear without dying in the heat, and easy enough to shed when out of direct sunlight. I have a collection of linen shirts stashed around the house, in the car, by the garden-all so I won't accidentally find myself without adequate coverage. Sunscreen helps, but when the serious sun is out, I need all the protection I can get.

Outfit Particulars:
Mexican cotton dress-Hand-Me-Ups
Liz Claiborne earrings-Von Maur about 15 years ago
Vintage bag-New Life Thrift
Vintage ring-Mum's
Bamboo bracelets-Hand-Me-Ups & Goodwill
Hair Flower-Tiff and Tam
Eileen Fisher linen shirt (has matching trousers) Goodwill

So now we've come to the "Heavy handed lecture" part of the post.


This is my back. Today, I've only had a couple of moles start spontaneous bleeding (Wisk does an ace job of removing blood spots from clothing, BTW). This is a good day. I've long since accepted the scars as a reminder of my youthful stupidity. I'm sparing you the close-up view. You're welcome.

For the rest of my life I'll need to be vigilant about having things carved out of my back (I think that deserves bold type) and worrying about whether it will eventually be the thing that kills me-all because my younger self figured I was immortal, and didn't need to worry about a few sunburns here and there. The thing is, a few blistering sunburns here and there on the same area spells trouble. Why was my back repeatedly subjected to the sun?

Great tan, eh?
(That's mud on my legs. There was mud everywhere as that particular site was below the water-table and we had to bail it out each morning).

Funny thing about archaeologists-our faces stay young because we're always peering down at the ground thus avoiding sun damage! I console myself that my face looks better than it ought to given I use almost no skincare beyond Ponds cold cream and Pears soap. My back is another story. If my face blistered and burned as much as my back and shoulders did, I surely would have used something to protect it-why I ignored my back is beyond comprehension today.  I never liked the way dirt clung to sunscreen (this was long before the lightweight dry formulas) so being young and stupid, I simply skipped it. More than thirty years on, I curse that decision each time I slap a plaster over yet another mole that has decided to start bleeding. Worth it? God, no.

I can't go back and lecture my younger self, so I'm taking this opportunity to lecture younger readers who think the warnings about sun exposure don't apply to them. Can you sunbathe safely? I have no idea, but I do know that getting to the point of blistering burns is very bad news. Doing it repeatedly is pure stupidity.

Okay, lecture over. I promise not to show you any more photos of my back.


ThriftyParka said...

Aw Goody, that is so sweet of you to try to protect the next generation. I will diligently spread the word to the young whippersnappers at work.

On another note....LOVE THAT DRESS!! The earrings!! As usual, I love everything you're wearing.

My goodness, you were an archeologist? Do tell!

happy thrifting ;)

Vronni's Style Meanderings said...

Well said Goody, the sun can kill! Even though my children and grandchildren are mixed race and black I still encourage/make them wear sunscreen.

I love your Mexican cotton dress and God bless linen in the heat. I have lots of linen tops (and some trousers) too and they get the most wear when it's very hot here.

Our temperatures are just about to cool down but our week long hot spell only reached 25 degrees max where I am. Coping with the temperatures you have plus humidity would wipe me out!

What beautiful and unusual ring and earrings.


Beth Waltz said...

I was admiring the cut and fit of this ensemble guaranteed to be suitable for 90* heat and humidity when I realized the patch depicts a cat eating a bird, or a bird attacking a cat! (Or is heat and humidity affecting my sight?)

Your PSA is well timed, Goody. I've shunned the sun since childhood, applied gallons of sunblocking goop blessed by dermatologists, and still! discovered an actinic keratosis on the top of my hand.

Bibi Maizoon said...

As it veers daily here in Nepal from a fiercely sunny braise of 97F/39C to sudden Monsoon torrential downpours and violent lightning I wear 50SPF sunblock & carry a proper HUGE chatta (umbrella) everywhere I go. I'm also anywhere from 3,000ft to 5,000ft in altitude depending which side of the valley I'm on so 50SPF is a must!
I here ya on sun damage & not bothering to wear sunblock when we were young & decidedly immortal- I now have the chloasma & remnants of my mask of pregnancy on my face.
In 2006 I trekked up to high Mustang where they were doing an archaeology dig. It was very interesting, they were digging mummified remains out of caves dug in the cliffs. Very interesting, apparently ancient Tibet was a vast forest with huge elk & deer.
I think that's a cat eating a fish on that dress? I love it because it looks beachy, breezy, & comfy though.

Polyester Princess said...

I burn easily so I try to stay out of the sun as much as possible, but I still do get sunburn from time to time, especially in my neck while trawling flea markets in summer ... I had to buy a scarf at a flea market one time, simply for protecting my poor neck. Your outfit looks great on you and I am loving the accessories. xxx

Sue said...

You are an archeologist? HOW VERY VERY COOL!!! I have never known an archeologist before. Sunburn, hmmm. Yes I remember slapping on plenty of baby oil and coconut butter all in the pursuit of a golden tan when I was younger, utter madness!! Now I don't lay about in the sun, I find it all too hot and I don't mind my tan coming to me in a bottle these days. We have to keep a good eye on moles as we get older, which you obviously do. Nice frock by the way!!!

Vix said...

Good on you. Us Brits are the worst, we go mad when the sun's out as we don't get to see it all that often. Throughout the world you can spot a British tourist a mile off, half naked no matter how inappropriate the location just to catch a few rays.
I love your Mexican dress, I'd definitely have snapped that beauty up. xxx

Mim said...

Like Sue, I never knew you were an archaeologist. That's fab! Lots of my friends from uni did that.

Your poor back :-( I try to avoid getting sunburned, though it happens occasionally; one of the good things about being a teenaged/20-something goth was that I tended to avoid the sun. Do you see a doctor about the bleeding?

Goody said...

@Thrifty Parka
I feel it is my duty as an adult to warn the kids, even if I'm duly ignored.

Yep, complexion doesn't mean much in the face of the sun's power-I wish more kids understood that.

Perhaps it was subconscious that I bought it as I wouldn't mind seeing Mr. Budgie in a cat's maw (not really, but wow is he annoying!).

Nah, it is a birdie!
You definitely need sunscreen in your part of the world.

Oh, I remember my neck being burned so badly when I had short hair. Isn't it funny how sunburn always feels so much worse in a spot you can't quite see?

Yeah, I had a life before I got married ;)
I haven't tried tan in a bottle since the 70's when it came out kind of orange and streaky. I hear it has improved-you always look great. I never would have known it was fake tan!

Somewhere I have a photograph of my mother sunning herself on the lawn with visible snow in the background. A freak warm day in March wasn't enough to keep her from sunbathing!

Mostly, it was diversifying my skills as there isn't much work in anthro unless you fancy doing autopsies (which I don't). In the US, there's work for archaeologists doing surveys of sites before they can be developed. There needs to be paperwork indicating nothing of cultural value was found, etc.

Really, I'm a theory person but there isn't much work outside academia.

Mim said...

I have a friend who started as an archaeologist but got extra qualifications and works as a forensic anthropologist - one of her jobs was excavating at Srebrenica (sp?) for the UN. Nasty.

There's actually a shortage of archaeologists in the UK for building site work right now - historic sites have to be investigated before building can go ahead, and the UK having been so densely populated for so long, that's pretty much everywhere. (Come and get a summer job, bring the family ;-) )