I should start by saying that I’m not a tanner. I’m naturally very fair and have no desire to change that, and even if I did, the desire to engage in the sort of extended outdoor activity that creates a tan is also not really in my wheelhouse. Among the reasons that I chose to move to New York is that I’m comfortable having only a casual relationship with things like grass and trees.

That being said, I put on my best maxi dress and headed to watch the QuickSilver Pro New York surf competition on Long Island with some friends this past weekend, because who can turn down a trip to the beach on the last weekend of summer? Of all outdoor places, the beach has always been my favorite. But since I’m not much of a weekend warrior, my preparations for a day outside were…insufficient. For the next six months, everyone’s going to be able to tell what kind of handbag I carried this weekend.

I could have sworn I bought a bottle of sunscreen at the beginning of summer. If I did, I have no idea what I did with it, but I couldn’t find it on Sunday morning when I was scrambling to make it to Penn Station on time. (Mornings, like the outdoors, are another thing to which I’m ill-suited.) “That’s fine,” I thought. “New York is full of drug stores! I’ll go to the Duane Reade next to my subway stop.” Except, naturally, that’s the only Duane Reade I’ve ever encountered that’s not open 24 hours. I went into the K-Mart at Penn Station, but inexplicably, it only sold clothes. It’s been a minute since I’ve been inside a K-Mart, but most of them sell toiletries, right?

And so that’s how I ended up on Long Beach with no sunscreen, a strapless maxi dress and a crossbody purse. I managed to stay inside or shaded most of the day, but my skin is very fair and total coverage is impossible at the beach. Surveying the damage the day after, one thing is very apparent: Don’t wear a crossbody bag when you’re going to be outside all day. Perhaps those of you who are more acquainted with such activities learned this long ago, but I now have a stripe of pale skin running diagonally across my sunburnt chest.

So ladies, take note. It might be too late in the season to prevent your own crossbody-related problems, but it’s never too early to prepare for next summer. A backpack, a tote bag, one of those big things made out of woven hard plastic that has to be carried be hand – almost any bag you can think of will lead to less sunburn embarrassment than a crossbody at the beach. Learn from my mistakes, because my tans fade slowly and I’ll have my stripe for six months. Although I suppose that if anyone were to be semi-permanently marked by her handbags, it’s appropriate that it was me. As far as I can tell, my problem can only be solved by wearing that same bag every day to fill the gap, but luckily, I have it in two colors.

P.S. Please consider supporting our small, bag-loving team by clicking our links before shopping or checking out at your favorite online retailers like Amazon, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, or any of the listed partners on our shop page. We truly appreciate your support!

Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • Joani

    Picture please

    • I tried to take a picture, but it didn’t show up well. I’m not a master at these things. If I’m wearing something where it shows the next time I see Vladi, I’ll have him take one. He’ll surely be able to capture my awkward purse tan in all its glory.

  • kouturecrochet.com

    love this post and it has me soooo excited to be moving back to NYC. i dont know what i was thinking moving to the quiet burbs in NJ. its too quiet and entirely too much grass and green. my problem is not tans. but bites. two minutes in the green at night or dusk and i have covered in bugs. whether the bugs in nyc are less interested in me or there are less of them i dont know. i know that i am a night owl and i cant be out at night in the burbs. in the city i am out every other night!

    anyway, i agree that this post needs images!!

    Kouture Crochet
    twitter: @kouturecrochet

  • Rasheedah

    Which purse were you carrying?

    • It was a Botkier crossbody, which I didn’t mention in the post because I didn’t want to blame the bag! It was my fault, would have happened with any crossbody. I do highly recommend Botkier’s in particular; if you see me out and about, that’s more often than not what I’m carrying.

      • Rasheedah

        I was just curious because you said you had it in two colors. I figured it had to be a good bag for you to have muitples! I’ve heard that using a little self-tanning lotion in the affected area can help make the difference less noticeable.

  • ReneeO

    Great story! Ha! We all want to see a pic.

  • Blair

    That sucks! :( I hope it fades fast, but at least autumn/winter is coming soon so you’ll be able to cover it better then? Ahah.

  • suz

    What a funny story…..and a definite first.

  • Grace

    Yipeeee,Long Beach made the Purse Forum!!!! Hope you enjoyed yourself even with the bag episode!

  • Linda

    I second Grace’s Yipee! I grew up there and go all the time still. Don’t feel too badly Amanda! I bought the Coppertone 50 spray that everyone raves about and saturated my entire body and when I got home found I was redder than a tomato!! Bottom line is, as long as you had fun! The boardwalk is my fav.

  • jason

    go to the tanning salon duh

  • AJ

    That K-Mart is miserable. The sell sunscreen it just might be on one of the hidden floors.

  • Karin bag4bag

    That is so funny ! (sorry…) I have to wear blockout sunscreen in summer constantly so I understand your problem. Well you may have stopped it happening to others after your story. Good luck lining up the crossbody strap on your bags exactly with your white line !

  • Anna Bananers

    That’s happened to me this past weekend in San Diego, but I was wearing a boatneck shirt and crossbody. It’s not too bad but it’s a bad tan line over another bad tan line -_-
    Love your blog!!!

  • MissTiss

    This story is hysterical! Love your writing. I’m not fair, more the opposite, but I can catch a tan wearing SPF 80, in the winter, inside the house. I’ve had my share of fun tanlines over the years. Once I had a pretty severe sock tan (what? it happens) and one of these snotty girls, you know the ones who never learned “if you can’t say anything nice…”, well she suggested I kill myself over it. Like discontinue living. Because of the sock tan.

    Glad to see the ladies of Purseblog are above such rudeness. Plus, it’s all about the bag, right?