Contrary to popular belief, in these sweltering summer months, I DO take a trip to the beach every now and again. But, good luck finding me anywhere on those sandy East Coast shores- I’m basically invisible. At least, to my kids anyway…they’ve pretty much perfected the art of pretending not to know me. And I get it. I’m a little bananas….
Not only am I slathered in Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide from head to toe, I’m under an umbrella, fully-clothed, and donning massive shades and a ridiculously oversized hat. All while desperately (and perhaps, at times, dramatically) avoiding even an inkling of direct sun exposure.
Laugh all you want. Kids, you don’t want to sit near your mother? No problem. One day, when you’re my age, you’ll understand…..
For all of you diligent, little sun-avoiders out there, there is a lesser-known route to take if you’re in search of the ultimate in sun protection technology: Sun Protective Fabric! Now, I know what you’re thinking: “But, Jane Marie!!! I do love you and your skincare products, but wrapping myself in layers of sun-blocking fabric? I don’t want to look quite that ridiculous!”
In the past few years, this once-frumpy industry has truly turned things around with trendy patterns, chic styles, and incredible anti-aging super powers! Whether you’re looking for a cute swimsuit coverup for a girls’ beach trip or the best poolside solution to protecting your little one’s baby soft skin, here are my top 5 favorite brands for sun protective clothing:
Solumbra– While they were the first company to hit the sun protective fabric scene, Solumbra certainly doesn’t have a reputation as a trendsetter. At first, their utilitarian products seemed to have forgotten about fashion altogether while focusing solely on shielding those most sensitive to the sun. But, don’t count them out until you take a peek at their present day collections. With a product range that boasts an impressive UPF 100+, they’ve crossed over as an increasingly fashion-forward contender while offering the very best in sun protection.
Coolibar– Weighing in at a cool UPF 50+, Coolibar’s lower protection minimums translate into a more diverse inventory for those unwilling to sacrifice style for sun protection. Their Lily Pulitzer-esque patterns and poppy color palette will impress without breaking the bank. Not only was Coolibar the first company to receive the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation for sun protective clothing, they’re also endorsed by the Melanoma International Foundation and the Pediatric Sun Protection Foundation. Our best advice: Grab a pair of their Sun Gloves to stash in your car… you can always tell a woman’s age from her hands!
Athleta– Owned by Gap, Inc., Athleta isn’t just a killer place to shop for a cute, new outfit for your weekly yoga class. With their line of UPF 50+ clothing, they have introduced a hipper generation of sun protective fashions. Patterned rompers, trendy swimsuits, and booty-hugging yoga pants comprise their stylish 2016 collection.
REI– For those men sneaking a few sun protection tips on the sly, don’t be embarrassed- who doesn’t want to avoid the ticking clock of Father Time? While most of the above retailers carry menswear, REI’s advantage lies in your already-established familiarity with their rugged brand. When it comes to style, it seems your go-to outdoor store still has a few tricks up its sleeve.
Solartex- While they carry a full range of adult gear, Solartex is best known for their adorable line for your little ones. The mom-owned brand was built on the ideals of keeping kids safe while making life easier for parents. (Don’t you just love them already!?) Solartex keeps kids covered while letting you skip the hassle of those dreaded hourly, head-to-toe sunblock applications!