You’re probably (well, should be) stocked to the brim in regards to sunscreen for any exposed skin, but is your wardrobe protecting the parts that are seemingly covered up? If not, the best UV protection clothing items are definitely worth checking out. In case you didn’t know, there’s a nearly endless supply of closet essentials like t-shirts, hoodies, and even leggings that are certified to protect your skin against harsh sun rays while looking cool as a cucumber in the process.
Just like how our favorite sunscreens have a sun protection factor (also known as SPF) rating, clothes that provide sun protection are usually labeled with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) rating. This number indicates how much UV radiation (both UVB and UVA) a fabric allows to reach your skin, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. The same rule of SPF applies to UPF, as the SCF suggests wearing clothes with a UPF rating of at least 30 to avoid harmful UV damage.
So, are UPF clothing options a legitimate source of sun protection during long days of outdoor activities? According to Erum Ilyas, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, absolutely. “UPF protection clothing is considered the gold standard for UV protection as it provides reliable, sustained, and practical broad-spectrum protection against both forms of UV light,” she says.
Your closet could use a summer refresh, so why not treat yourself and your skin to these stylish UPF clothes? Whether you’re on the hunt for trendy cover-ups to wear during sunny days by the pool or sun protection shirts made of lightweight fabrics for optimal breathability, we’ve got you covered — literally.
Our Top Picks:
- The Lounger: Columbia Anytime Knit Layering Long Sleeve Shirt, $45
- Y2K Throwback: Patagonia Tech Skort, $79
- Itsy Bitsy UPF Bikini: Aerie Shine Pique Scrunchie Tie String Bikini Top + Bottom, $37
- Workout Warrior Essential: Outdoor Voices All-Time Bra, $58
- Your New Favorite Leggings: Athleta Ultra High Rise Elation 7/8 Tight, $89
- The Classic Tank: Vuori Mudra Plyo Tank, $64
- For Summer’s Chillier Days: Lululemon Pack Light Pullover, $128
Columbia Anytime Knit Layering Long Sleeve Shirt
The Columbia Anytime Knit Layering Long Sleeve Shirt is a tried-and-true pick that’s oh-so-cozy, stretchy, and most importantly, approved by the SCF to protect your skin against harsh rays. Its UPF 50 fabric also has moisture-wicking properties, so sweat is no match for this loose-fit cardigan.
Baleaf Long Sleeve Shirt UPF50+
Get ready to slip into the coziest long-sleeve t-shirts ever. Baleaf’s Long Sleeve Shirt UPF50+ is made from a breathable, lightweight, and quick-drying raglan fabric that provides protection against UVA and UVB rays all day long. This shirt also gets brownie points for its relaxed fit that still has some flattering shape to it.
Patagonia Tech Skort
The early 2000s called, and they said now’s the time to slip into Patagonia’s Tech Skort. This stylish skort is made from a stretchy, comfortable polyester-based UPF 50+ fabric and comes in two neutral colors like the light Noble Grey, seen above.
Solbari Luxe Sun Wrap UPF 50+
As its name suggests, the Solbari Luxe Sun Wrap UPF 50+ is meant to be a cover-up for your beachside moments, but we can see ourselves wearing this comfy cardigan year-round. It’s also worth mentioning that this sweater features thumb holes so you can cover the back of your hands to prevent sun spots.
Aerie Shine Pique Scrunchie Tie String Bikini Top + Bottom
A swimsuit that also provides UPF protection? We’ll sign up for Aerie’s Shine Pique Scrunchie Tie String Bikini Top + Bottom, stat. On top of providing UPF 50 sun protection, this adorable bikini has a scrunched design and comes in five summer-ready colors to mix and match.
Lululemon Pack Light Pullover
Even if it seems like the sun is in hiding for the day, you’re going to need UV protection. Enter the Lululemon Pack Light Pullover. This featherweight pullover provides UPF 40+ protection, which is why it’s on this list, but some other cool specs worth highlighting include its quick-drying fabric, high neck for added UV coverage, and its ability to be compacted into its internal mesh pocket to create a backpack for easy carrying.
REI Co-op Flash Hybrid Tights
REI is basically an outdoorsy person’s wonderland, so of course this retailer has tons of UPF clothing options. One of our favorites is the Co-op Flash Hybrid Tights, a pair of UPF 50 leggings that provide moisture-wicking properties, a form-fitting high-rise waist, and a zippered pocket.
Vuori Mudra Plyo Tank
Everyone needs a tank top in their closet, especially the Vuori Mudra Plyo Tank. Made for workouts and lounging, this top provides UPF 30+ sun coverage and pairs well with just about any pants in your closet.
Outdoor Voices All-Time Bra
Have an outdoor yoga class booked? Don’t forget to slip into the Outdoor Voices All-Time Bra before you head outside. This sports bra provides all of the lightweight support you desire from your average racerback bra while guarding your boobs against sun damage with the help of its UPF 50+ fabric.
Athleta Ultra High Rise Elation 7/8 Tight
Athleta’s Ultra High Rise Elation 7/8 Tight comes in so many cute colors that we need in our athleisure wardrobes, but that’s not the only reason why we love these workout leggings. Its buttery-smooth fabric (made of ultra-stretchy nylon, by the way) protects your legs against UV rays with its UPF 50+ properties, and you’ll never feel sweaty in them.
Girlfriend Collective High-Rise Pocket Bike Short
Bike shorts have become the most popular bottoms of the moment, but some can be quite sheer and let harmful sun rays get into contact with your skin. So, if you want to guard your gams (well, your thighs, at least), we suggest slipping into Girlfriend Collective’s High-Rise Pocket Bike Short. These are no mere bike shorts: Each pair is made with an opaque material that’s absolutely squat-proof (a savior for public workouts) and features two pockets that are big enough to snugly hold your essentials. Oh, and the best part? These shorts are made from the brand’s compressive fabric, which is made from recycled materials and has a UPF 50+ rating.