The Best Sun Protective Clothing Brands for Women

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After being personally affected by melanoma (you can read about that here), I’ve become diligent and conscientious about the things I can do to ensure I’m protecting my skin against further damage from the sun. I’m sure most of you know to apply sunscreen, wear a sun hat, and limit sun exposure during peak UV hours. But have you ever tried wearing UPF clothing? Today, I want to share some of the best sun protective clothing brands for women and why you should wear UPF clothing. Plus, I’m sharing a few of my favorite UPF clothing pieces that are worth investing in.

If you’re interested in diving deeper into the topic of protecting your skin from the sun, I’ve written a few other posts you may enjoy:

What is UPF clothing?

I love clothing, but most of it doesn’t keep you protected from sun damage. Just as SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is written on the front of sunscreen bottles, UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) is a similar concept that measures the amount of UVB and UVA rays that can reach your skin through a piece of clothing. Anything higher than UPF 30 qualifies for the Skin Cancer Foundations Seal of Recommendation. They rate UPF 50+ clothing as excellent, so those are the items that I strive to find when shopping.

jennifer connolly of a well styled life wearing athleta white oversized poplin shirt

Why is it important to wear sun protective clothing?

The reality is that while you should be wearing sunscreen every day, it can be difficult to remember and messy to reapply it every 90 minutes. I’ve been there and learned the hard way. The effects of the sun can be seen and felt even on the cloudiest of days. This is where wearing sun protective clothing comes in.

Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life modeling Ibkul top
This IBKUL Athleisure Wear Sun Protective UPF 50+ comes in lots of colors and patterns. I love to wear it on my walks because it has Icefil Cooling Technology with an Under Arm Meshing that keeps me cool.

Even if you spent your younger years in the tanning bed or basking under the sun, it’s never too late to start protecting your skin. One of my favorite parts of wearing UPF clothing is that, unlike SPF, you don’t have to reapply it. In a clothing item that has UPF 50+, 98% of the UVA and UVB rays are blocked while you have them on. Sadly, a simple white t-shirt you may have in your closet only has a UPF of around 7. It’s as simple as making a choice when you get up to put it on in the morning and finding ones that fit your style.

For days when you spend a lot of time outside, especially during warmer months, I highly recommend wearing SPF on your face, UPF clothing on your body (at least a top or wrap), and a sun-protective hat with a wide brim.

Best UPF Clothing Brands

If you’ve ever shopped for sun protective clothing, you’ve likely noticed that they are not the most fashionable. Many of them are designed for outdoor athletic activities, which is perfect for hikers and bikers but not as stylish as a woman may want for her everyday life. Since I refuse to dress like I am heading on a fishing expedition, I’ve made it a goal to find stylish sun protective clothing that will keep me (and you) looking stylish while still blocking the sun’s harmful rays.

Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life wearing denim shirt, white shorts and white hat on dock in Vancouver Island

Where can you buy stylish sun protective clothing?

Below you’ll find a list of brands and stores that carry UPF clothing. One of the most popular brands you’ve seen me share before is Coolibar. I’ve been a fan of their clothes and hats for years. They probably have the biggest selection of UPF clothing that you would wear on a daily basis. Plus, you can also shop for your husband on their site.

woman wearing coolibar UPF 50+ wrap
I have this Coolibar UPF 50+ Women’s Marietas Sun Wrap in several colors and find it easy to pop over everything

A few of the brands, like Cabana Life, Sailor-Sailor, and Lilly Pulitzer, are resort wear brands. They carry a lot of bright, colorful patterns and prints that you might pack for a trip to Florida or Mexico. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there are tons of options that are more simple and more subtle that don’t scream, “I’m on vacation.”

My Favorite Sun Protective Clothing Pieces

Some of the pieces I am sharing are short sleeve options. If you have a history of skin cancer or are more vigilant about protecting your skin, add a UPF jacket or wrap. Don’t forget your sunhat and sunscreen for the uncovered parts of your body and the backs of your hands.

1. Athleta Pacifica Jacket

If you need a very casual, light jacket to keep in your car and throw on, this jacket from Athleta would be perfect. The thumb holes add some sun protection to the tops of your hands as well.

2. Sun Protective Wrap

This wrap is so versatile. Layer it over a short sleeve shirt or a tank while you are out and about running your errands, put it over a swimsuit on your way to the pool or the beach, or wear it in the evening to dinner. I have had a similar one from this brand for years, and I love it! It comes in lots of colors like white, black, and even a navy/white stripe.

3. Cabana Life Dress and Top

Cabana Life was started by a skin cancer survivor and has a variety of sun protective clothing options including dresses, tops, and tunics. They also carry swimwear and a line of sport clothing for playing pickleball, tennis, and golf. Talbots has done a collaboration with Cabana Life for the last few years. You can grab the UPF pieces from their collaboration at Talbots.

4. Chico’s Bungee Crops

Chico’s has a surprisingly decent selection of UPF clothing. These pants would be wonderful for everything from taking an outdoor stroll, running errands, or a day of travel! They also come in pink and light blue.

5. Long Sleeve UPF Button Down

A white button down top is such a classic look. I consider them a wardrobe staple as they can be paired with virtually any bottoms and accessories. I even talked in this post about 10 ways you can wear a white shirt. These sleeves can be worn long or rolled up as pictured. You could also wear it unbuttoned over a swimsuit as a cover up.

6. Sailor-Sailor Outfits

Sailor-Sailor is another resort wear brand that has UPF 50+ in all of their clothing items. They have a large selection of prints available in many dress and top silhouettes. They also started carrying a sport line this year. I thought both of these were really great prints without being overwhelming.

7. UPF 50+ Popover

Sun protection isn’t just important in the spring and summer. This popover half zip will be fabulous on cool spring and summer mornings as well as during the fall and winter. It’s also available in a few prints, plus a classic navy.

Shop More Sun Protective Clothing Brands for Women:

Have you worn clothes with UPF and do you have a favroite brand to share?

Thanks for reading, and remember to wear what makes you feel confident.

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