What Is Sun-Safe Clothing?


Sun protective clothing uses color, construction, and UPF to protect the body from ultraviolet rays.

When it comes to sun protection, many people mistakenly think that any part of the body that’s covered up by fabric is protected from the sun. Unfortunately, this is a misconception that could prove to be harmful. Certain fabrics and styles of clothing are much better at protecting wearers from the sun’s harmful UV rays than others. To learn what sun resistant clothing is, and why it’s important, read on. 

UV Indicator

Provides UV Protection

The most important thing to understand about sun protective clothing is that it provides protection from UV rays. Look for something called a UPF rating—this stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor, and it indicates clothing that is specifically designed to be sun safe. Ratings typically range from 15 (good) to 50 (excellent). A garment can achieve a UPF factor either through construction or by being treated with UV-inhibiting chemicals. At SUMMERSKIN, we focus on constructing beautiful pieces that are sun safe by design—we never chemically treat.

 Day at the beach

Tightly Woven Fabric

The more dense a fabric is, the better it is at protecting you from the sun. Sun safe clothing is woven tightly, so that UV rays can’t penetrate it. Tweed, for example, is better at protecting you from the sun than a sheer, gauzy fabric. However, any stylist would frown at the idea of wearing tweed at the beach on a hot summer’s day. For women, in particular, it can be tough to find clothing that looks and drapes beautifully while still being sun resistant. It’s not impossible, though—sun safe fabric that’s woven and constructed to block UV rays can still be stylish and comfortable.


sun flower


Another way clothing can achieve UV protection is through its color: Dark colors absorb more UV rays than lighter colors. Bright colors, such as red, are also good UV absorbers. So don’t think that just because you want your clothing to be sun safe that you have to be cloaked in a black shawl at all times—it’s still possible to express yourself and have fun with your style while being responsible about UV protection.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that it’s not just exposed skin that’s at risk of UV rays and the negative effects of sun exposure, which can range from premature aging to sunburn to skin cancer. Choosing sun safe clothing when you’re planning on spending time outdoors will give you that much more peace of mind and let you enjoy time spent in the sun that much more. Plus, you’ll look fabulous!


February 25, 2016 by Summer Kramer

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