Fashion & Beauty · General Medical

Melissa Papock Upgrades Sun Protective Clothing with Style

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It was a diagnosis of malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, at age 26, that led Melissa Papock to rethink how she could protect her skin with the clothing she wore (See Dr. Anetta Rezko’s post today on melanoma). No stranger to the world of fashion, working with brands such as VOGUE, Vanity Fair, and O, The Oprah Magazine, Papock, embarked on a mission to take the drab out of sun-protective clothing and create more stylish and fashionable options for the whole family. So began Cabana Life — a line that combines fashion with function by offering stylish clothing with 50+ UV protection through patented SkinSafe™ Technology. True to her values, Papock has also instilled in her company a socially-conscious agenda to increase skin cancer education by partnering with organizations such as The Skin Cancer Foundation and the Women’s Dermatologic Society.

As a woman who knows intimately what both resilience and reinvention mean, Papock generously shared some key advice for our Women’s Voices readers on how she defines resilience, what fashion items make her feel her best self, her commitment to cancer awareness and prevention, and what we can look forward to as she continues to build and evolve her company.

-2. Q: At 26, you were battling cancer. Now as you enter your second act, what is your personal definition of “Resilience?” A: Resilience is getting up one more time than you’ve been knocked down.   . Q: What key advice do you have for women who have a desire to reinvent their lives and start a new venture? A:  Utilize everything you’ve learned and everyone you know to forge a path that you feel passionate about. It is that conviction that is going to drive you and keep you on course even when times get tough, which they will. Commit to constantly learning, as the world, customers, technology and trends are ever-changing.  
Q: What are 5 key pieces of clothing from your current collection that make you feel your best self? A:
  1. Coastal Crush Ruched Rashgaurd — I love this rashguard whether I’m on the beach or out on our boat. I wear it cinched up as a top and un-tied as a dress, for a quick dash to the beach bar 🙂
  2. Coastal Crush Swing Shift Dress — I love this versatile cover up/dress for running around town in Florida. 
  3. Navy Swim Leggings — These are the absolute best pants to wear while jogging on the beach, paddle boarding and overseeing our full-day photo shoots. Sun safe! 
  4. White Zip Up Rashguard — I keep one in my car so I always have it for convenient, fast protection while driving or dining al fresco in Florida.
  5. Monaco Blue Beach Pants — These colorful pants pair perfectly with summer whites and easily transition from sand to sidewalk in style.

Q: You’ve been committed to using your company to raise awareness for skin cancer prevention. How do you see your role in bridging Fashion & Cancer Education? A: Raising awareness for skin cancer education, research and prevention was the reason I started Cabana Life. It is a vehicle to spread the message while providing customers with stylish, sun safe solutions. We regularly partner with like-minded non-profit organizations to donate proceeds to initiatives we feel passionately about. If my experience with skin cancer and Cabana Life can help keep other people protected and safe, than I’ve succeeded in my mission.  . -3.
Q: What’s next for Cabana Life? What exciting items should we look forward to next season? 
A: We just finished shooting our new Resort ’17 collection (coming out in November) and I’m SO thrilled with the large and luxurious assortment. Expect to see intricate embroideries, new lightweight fabrics, gorgeous new prints and flattering silhouettes. We’ll also continue to pursue additional charitable initiatives by designing exclusive pieces to benefit our favorite skin cancer non-profit organizations.  . Photos courtesy of Melissa Papock/Cabana Life. .

RELATED: Libby Fitzgerald Reinvents the Modern Espadrille

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Here are some of our favorite picks from Cabana Life’s current sun protection line:

432-OD6-Orange-Drive-Paddle-Suit-Cabana-LifeOrange Drive Unisuit — $86

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898-OD6-Terry-Dress-Orange-Drive-Cabana-Life_12 517-OC6-Oceana-Terry-Tunic-Cabana-Life

Cover Ups: Orange Drive Veranda Terry Tunic — $90 and Oceana V-neck Terry Tunic —$94

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499-CC6-Coastal-Crush-Embroidered-Tunic-Cabana-LifeCoastal Crush Swing Shift Dress$96

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450-CO6-Colbalt-Swim-Pants-Essentials-Cabana-Life_10433-WH6-White-Scallop-Rashguard_452-OC6-Beach-Pants-Oceana-Cabana-Life-1_1-1

Cobalt Swim Leggins — $86 and Oceana Beach Pants — $84

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437-BL6-Essentials-Navy-Zipper-Shoulder-Rashguard_442-BL6-Navy-Microfiber-Shorts-Cabana-LifeNavy Striped Zipper Rashguard — $70

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