Today is the one-month anniversary of our arrival at the dig site, and judging from our battle scars of various bug bites, scrapes, bumps, bruises, cuts and sunburns, we’ve become exemplars of the hazards from not only working at an excavation site, but living on an island more hospitable to wolf spiders, centipedes and snakes than to mere mortals. Needless to say, excavation digs do not foster our inner-goddess glamour. For most of us, me in particular, our wardrobes cater to comfort. Sneakers to hike up to the site, long pants to avoid mosquitoes and other pesky insects, and faded or stretched shirts from the ever-powerful Greek laundry machine have become my uniform these past few weeks. Advised of the sheer impracticality of packing anything we would normally wear in public, most of us came prepared with our least favorite clothes – just ripe to throw out, and, as of now, way past its expiration date. Arielle Winnik, my fellow archaeologist and former fashion assistant at Elle, answers my questions on how to remain fashionable during an excavation dig.
Q. Let’s start with the basics. What would you recommend to pack for an archaeological dig?
A. Lots of sunscreen. A great pair of sunglasses. A hat that covers your shoulders as well as your face. Shirts that cover your shoulders, so you won’t burn them, but also are of a light breathable material so that you don’t get too hot. Bathing suits for beach time. Comfy sneakers.
Q. How could one blend fashion with comfort during an excavation dig?
A. The worst thing would be to try really hard to look cute. You just have to stick with whatever your style is on a regular basis and try to make that work. So if you’re preppy just wear simple preppy clothes. And if you’re… What else are people? Haha if you like to dress.. What does a hipster wear? Is anyone punky anymore? What are [other] styles? Just keep it simple.
You just have to accept that your clothes are going to get wrinkled so you have to bring an iron. But that’s just me because I really don’t like to have my clothes wrinkled. But other people might not care and that’s okay.
Q. Anything that has inspired you at the excavation dig that you might incorporate into your style?
A. I’m inspired to wear lots of sunscreen all the time. I think there are things that I would never think are cute, but for practical reasons I started doing. For example, I asked Gloria to French braid my hair one day because I was so hot and miserable, and I wanted it off my face. I’ve also gotten quite tan, which I always avoid doing because I don’t like to be tan but it looks quite cute.
Q. Any other words of advice?
A. If you must wear makeup, lipstick is better than mascara and foundation. And you’re not going to get a lot of sleep so just accept that you’re going to have bags under your eyes. Don’t wear rings because you work with your hands.