Clothing That Protects Me From the Sun
It’s the spring of 1985. I am a sophomore at UCLA in Southern California. It is Friday afternoon and I am cruising down Wilshire Boulevard in my souped down Chevrolet Chevette. The sun is out and I am headed to Santa Monica Beach. The pier is my destination. I have my AM radio tuned into KLOS and 'Take It Easy' by The Eagles is playing.
I am all packed for the beach. I have my Wayfarers (sunglasses) on. I am wearing some Hawaiian shorts and flip flops. My boogie board and a beach towel are stashed in the back. I see tasty waves in my future. I am tan, buff, blonde hair flying in the breeze as I pull into the parking lot.
It’s the summer of 2020. I can barely remember college. It’s 6:00pm and I am heading to Jones Beach on Long Island. I am in a minivan with my Canon Rebel camera in tow. I am listening to a self-improvement podcast. With two-foot waves and a south-facing beach, I am going to take photos and smell the ocean breeze.
SPF and UPF are a must
I am wearing prescription sunglasses with UV protection. My Dodger hat sits squarely on my head. I’m in lightweight, athleisure work out pants and running shoes. Most importantly, I am rocking my feathery light, royal blue long sleeve hoodie with UPF 40 protection. I am quite a sight. Everyone else is wearing as little as possible (some, legally possible). I am fully dressed.
I have learned to accept my beach attire and in fact, I embrace it, especially my sun-protective garments. I love my new gear. I started experimenting with clothing that claimed to block out harmful UV rays over a year ago. I wrote this article about one of my experiences. Last summer, I tried different fabrics and most were ok, but not great. My biggest complaint was how uncomfortable they were.
Tips for sun protection clothing for men
Things have improved. I especially love Solar Factor attire. I was able to purchase their lightweight hoodies at a local warehouse chain and they were exactly what I needed. Here is what I look for in sun-protective clothing.
1. Sun protection
Obviously, this is the point of wearing these garments. Now, since I don’t have a lab in my basement to test these shirts, I take their claims at face value and look for reviews. If the fabric is tightly woven, then I take that as a good sign.
Some of the issues that I have had with UPF clothing has been with comfort. They are just too thick and hot. Lightweight and cool are important in the summer, as long as lightweight is also protective.
Yes, I care about style. I want vibrant, fun colors. Early versions of UPF clothing felt drab and dreary.
I am willing to pay a premium for UPF clothing because I wear them so often and because, well, I care about living and good health. I will say this, go online and shop around. Paying a premium is different than paying through the nose.
I can still enjoy the ocean, but with a different look. Just because I am not spending all day catching waves and laying out does not mean that I can’t pop in a Beach Boys cassette in my cassette player. Just kidding about the cassette player.
For more information, check out the Skin Cancer Foundation’s recommendation regarding clothing that protects you from the sun.
Do you check the UV index before leaving the house?