How To Style Your SPF

I am a sunscreen woman, head to toes. I have been since my late 20’s, after many sunburns. I’ve had a few non-melanoma skin cancers removed from my hide, with the scars to show for it. So I wear what my husband calls “sunscreen that works on the surface of the sun.”

But I do live in coastal Florida, where the sun is strong and the beach is inviting. Re-applying sunscreen every few hours is a drag. Beyond a big floppy hat and sunglasses, I have not ventured into specific sun-protective clothing; I wear normal tees and sleeved dresses to protect myself. The average white tee, though, has a sun protection factor of less than 10.

I’ve considered high-SPF clothing for those longer outings, like bike rides and beach picnics. But I mostly found pieces like this, not horrible, but uninspiring:

I recently saw some options that expand my SPF style horizon. From this article in the Times, I found a couple of new-to-me sites that specialize in high SPF clothing. With style!

  • Cover Clothing says their fabrics are “luxurious swim jersey, certified UPF 50+, blocks 98% UV rays,” without chemicals. Their website shows a lot of cool designs (I love the Pucci-look print tee) but they’re only sold at Neiman Marcus for the moment – and the selection at NM is small.
This can be a cover-up beach dress or midi skirt. $67 at Neiman Marcus.
  • Mott50 has a larger selection, and you can purchase from the website. They donate a portion of their proceeds to melanoma research and skin cancer education. They’ve got a lot of utilitarian-looking tees, but some pretty cover-ups that I would definitely wear.
I like this embroidered tunic, available in three colors. $68.
I’d wear this on a long bike ride or beach walk.
This dress  ($155) would be perfect for a long sunny day thrifting in NYC  ツ

Is sun protection an issue for you? I know some of you (hey Megan!) are allergic to chemical sunscreens, so SPF clothing might work out for you. Kick skin cancer in the butt, however you choose to cover.

Have a terrific Tuesday,

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  1. i don't wear nearly enough sunscreen, but fortunately have a naturally darker complexion so i don't burn. i'm sure i have sun damage, but winters in maine are long and dark.. uniqlo [one of my favorite ny stores] has started online retail, and during summer months has a UV protection line. they only have a few items left as its nearly time for heattech leggings! but something you might want to check out online or during your next nyc trip!

  2. Columbia has spf clothing with more style, imho. They have spf pants that look professional enough to wear to work.

  3. There are few better illustrated cautionary tales of Why To Wear Sunscreen than living on the beach in Mexico with a bunch of gringos of a certain age who worshiped the sun and have paid the price with their skin. It's a cruel few decades from beach bunny to baseball glove, so I wear SPF every day and go nowhere without a parasol, covering shawl and sunglasses.

  4. I use ultra sunscreen on my nose and I cover up, this year more than ever, almost always covering my arms AND legs. I dislike the feeling of the sun drilling into my skin whereas I used to like it. I tan but only after I've burned crispy. I'm getting used to whitish/yellow or blue skin – how attractive!

  5. Have you tried P20? We use that when we go boating. You apply it half an hour before going into the sun. Walk around a bit with not too many clothes on as is feels a bit sticky in the first half hour. After that, you don't feel you have applied anything. Dry, not greasy. It also smells a bit, but only the first half hour.

    It sort of makes an alliance with your skin and you can be in the sun for more than 10 hours without re-applying and no sun burn. My husband missed a little spot on his arm once. That was burned and looked like a stamp haha.

    Here is a link:

  6. I tan easily and rarely burn but always use a high protection factor once-a-day cream when I'm out in the sun, wear a big vintage straw hat or carry a parasol.
    Out of all the choices I prefer the tunic but it seems very expensive. Most Asian boutiques do pretty and cheaper alternatives. xxx

  7. The other option for sun protection is to use an umbrella or parasol made of SPF fabric. I know that Solumbra offers these. As this would mean one less free hand, I tend to use sunscreen on my face (cream & power), hat (because the sunscreen dissipates from sweat or facial oil) and long sleeves – preferably a shirt from Solumbra which are expensive and offered in very limited colors and sizes. I just got a beautiful shirt in turquoise but have to shorten it as it was not offered in petite.

  8. The one dress with the bare shoulders doesn't look very protective. I like the tunic. I'm also a big fan of brimmed hats. I twist my hair up underneath and secure with a clip so when the hat comes off it's decent looking, which for me means curly.

  9. so glad you're posting about this, I've never consider about spf clothing, so thanks for sharing it!. Those embroidered tunic or red dress are really pretty pieces.
    It's really boring to apply my sunscreen half an hour before hitting the street!, and reapplying it!!
    besos & shades

  10. I'm with you and so many others on the sun issue. Long sleeves, hat, and umbrella for me! I'm in Florida as well, our sun is soooo strong. This is an interesting post!

  11. Great ideas–and stylish options! I know people who are allergic to the chemicals in sunscreen so this is perfect. Plus, a bit of extra protection is always a good idea. I burn easily!

  12. These pieces seem fairly costly and the strapless dress doesn't offer much coverage. The usual failure by clothing companies – offering practical clothing at high prices and / or plain designs! It's like finding larger bra sizes in something other than white or 'nude' at a decent price. I don't go anywhere in summer without sunscreen and then usually a light cardigan or wrap as well.

  13. My dermatologist told me my breakouts were actually caused by overdoing it on sunscreen, so I've been trying to stay out of the sun as much as I can. Yesterday I carried an umbrella to my son's football practice. I know I look a little silly, but who cares? Instant shade!

  14. Ooh that tunic is lovely. If I was an employed person, this would be a great option.

    Speaking of – I'm off to see a derm next week for suspicious moles! That's part 2 of keeping skin cancer at bay. Keep an eye on your skin.

  15. I have never considered SPF clothing! Thanks for introducing us to something different! It is so hot right now, I have no desire to be out in the sun!

  16. I too am a fair skinned, freckley person who burns frighteningly fast, and have had some bad sunburn in the past. These days, I am a high factor, shade-seeking, cover-up kinda gal! My Littlest's dermatologist prescribes Sunsense sunscreen for her, though it's available to buy from pharmacies – he calls it the best sunscreen in the world, it's Australian, and has low levels of chemicals and higher levels of barrier product but isn't too white or thick to be cosmetically appealing. We share it!
    Never tried SPF clothing, it seems pricey to me and the designs are a little uninspiring… xxxx

  17. I live in FL also, but only venture out at dusk and dawn for long periods of time. My foundation has an SPF so I'm pretty well covered. If I'm going to have to stay in the sun at the "prime" burning times, I usually wear light-weight sun protective clothing from Columbia.

  18. As a pasty gal myself I am definitely looking into these!! I lotion up and just avoid being out in prime sun time!

  19. Interesting. SPF clothing is becoming increasingly popular. About time too as I also have had a skin cancer spot removed, not pleasant. I find hats essential to protect my face.

  20. The "Clothing Cover" dress is cute, but doesn't offer much coverage. I've worn a few pieces from Coolibar. Uninspired styling but basics for gardening, etc. Sun protection is a massive issue for me. I'm fair skinned, beat he day lights out of my skin when I was younger, and had Melanoma to show for it. I wonder why these fabrics aren't being made into chicer clothing?? I understand they just have a zinc fiber as a component of the fabric. Thanks for searching out some other brands for me to look at!!

  21. I use sunscreen with a high SPF and I like to wear a pretty parasol (on Monday before that was in my photos). Sun Protection clothing do not have, I can not pay this. I only use vintage clothes from a charity depot … I avoid to go out at lunch and consider myself as much as possible in the shade.
    That's all.

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