Because no one wants a painful sunburn to ruin their summer fun.
There’s nothing quite like the summertime. The days are longer, the temperatures are hotter, and everyone seems to be in a great mood all the time. But there’s one thing that can ruin all that summer fun in a hot minute: a nasty sunburn.
Even though you diligently slather on the SPF all season long, you’ll likely end more than a few good days spent outdoors with a painful pink glow (or even a hot red burn, depending on how your day went). When this happens, chances are it’s because sunscreen just wasn’t enough to protect you from the sun all day—and that’s where UPF clothing comes in.
While you may know that SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, you may be less familiar with its sibling, UPF—or Ultraviolet Protection Factor—which is basically the number that measures how adequately a piece of fabric will protect you from the sun. According to the Environmental Working Group’s sun safety tips, UPF is actually a more reliable form of sun protection than SPF in sunscreen, simply because the majority of sunscreen users don’t apply enough of it, use it incorrectly, or don’t re-apply as often as is needed.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, a piece of clothing’s UPF indicates what fraction of the sun’s ultraviolet rays can pass through the fabric and onto your skin. As an example, it noted that a shirt with a UPF of 50 allows “just 1/50th of the sun’s UV radiation to reach the skin.”
The organization also included a handy graphic proving that clothes made with tighter weaves (or darker colors) block out more of the sun’s rays, meaning they have higher UPF ratings. That means a lycra one-piece bathing suit will come with an already-high protection factor, and even a barely-there bikini will block (at least part of you) from the sun.
But the more you cover up, the more protection you’ll gain from both a bad burn and potential sun-related issues that are much more serious—like skin cancer—down the line. The Skin Cancer Foundation notes that more people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined, which should be enough of an excuse to buy as much high-UPF clothing as you want. If you’re wondering just how high of a UPF you need, the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends choosing clothing with a UPF of at least 30 in hot summer weather—but you can also opt to go as high as UPF 50, which offers the most extensive level of coverage.
To help you stay happy, healthy, and burn-free this season, we’ve rounded up 15 clothing items—including dresses, skirts, leggings, shorts, and more— that come with high UPF ratings and can all double as swimsuit cover-ups for long days at the beach or pool. This way, you can enjoy your summer (and spend a few extra hours outdoors) with the peace of mind that you’re keeping yourself safe from the sun.
Coolibar Women's Monte Carlo Maxi Skirt
Just because you want to protect yourself from the sun, doesn’t mean you can’t look stylish while doing so. Coolibar’s Monte Carlo Maxi Skirt comes in a range of colors and provides 50+ UPF protection. The super lightweight fabric feels more like silk than sunscreen and, perhaps best of all, it has pockets. And skirts with pockets is something we can all get behind.
Sunbib Sun wrap
After a day in the sun, it often seems like our shoulders are one of the first places to burn.. Luckily, something called Sunbib exists—and you can probably figure out from the name what it’s used for. The brand’s sun wrap is a super versatile piece of clothing that can be worn in five different ways—including as a crop top, shawl, scarf, or head wrap—to shield you from the sun. Since you can choose how to wear it, it’ll easily go with just about any beach ensemble. The shrug comes with a 50+ UPF and, as the manufacturer notes, is ideal for your convertible drives to the beach (convertible not included).
Coolibar UPF 50+ Women's Santa Cruz Swim Leggings
Coolibar’s leggings are made to help the earth—and to protect against it. Made with a comfortable and stretchy blend of lycra and recycled nylon to minimize environmental impact, these leggings come with 50+ UPF, meaning they protect against 98%t of harmful rays. Best of all, they have a near-perfect rating from Amazon reviewers, so chances are you’ll love them, too.
Patagonia Micro Swell Rashguard
If you’re going to buy a rashguard this summer to protect you from the sun and the surf during water sports, make it Patagonia’s Micro Swell Rashguard. The water-ready shirt comes with a charming floral print and has 50+ UPF, as well as smooth seaming that won’t irritate your skin. The rashguard is also made with recycled polyester fabric that’s Fair Trade Certified, so it’s something you can feel good about wearing, too.
UV SKINZ UPF 50+ Women's Maxi Cover Up
If cute summer style and full-length protection are what you’re after, then the UV Skinz maxi cover-up on is perfect for you. The wrap-front dress comes in a variety of colors and designs, and is made with UPF 50+ fabric. The breathable, sun-ready material is also quick-drying, so you can wear it straight from a day at the beach to an evening cookout without skipping a beat.
Nike Hooded Cover-Up Tunic
If your sun-filled activity is more active than just sitting on the beach, go with Nike’s hooded tunic. The loose, lightweight cover-up is ideal for summer days on the tennis court and playing paddle ball in the sand. Plus, it’s made with UPF 40 to protect your face and head from the sun in between sets.
Kanu Surf Women's Marina UPF Board Shorts
For a cute way to cover up your bottom half after a day at the beach and protect your legs from the sun, check out Kanu Surf’s marina board shorts. The surf-ready shorts are available in a range of bright colors, patterns, and sizes (including plus sizes) that all offer 50+ UPF. And, with more than 700 perfect five-star reviews on Amazon, you can trust that these will quickly become one of your summer staples.
SunFlux UPF Protection Golf Skirt
For many people, golf is a huge part of summer time. Instead of hitting the links in any old outfit this year, wear SunFlux’s golf skirt instead The trendy skirt is ideal for golfers because it includes pocket space for extra balls and falls to the mid-thigh for ultimate swing comfort. Constructed with SunFlux’s UPF fabric, it’ll protect you from harmful rays and can easily transition to a cute swimsuit cover-up at the beach, too.
Coolibar Women's Petra Wide Leg Pant
Coolibar has your sun-protective pant needs covered with its wide-leg pants with UPF 50. Made with lightweight fabric that can easily roll down to fit in a carry-on or beach bag when you’re on the go, the pants have a drawstring waistband and bow-tie ankle closures for an added touch of style. The pants are not only easy to pack and wear with anything, but the loose, drapey fit and breathable fabric means they’re also super comfortable and perfect for throwing over your suit after a day at the beach or pool.
UV Skinz Beach Cover-Up Top with Hood
If you’re in the market for an on-trend, sun-ready top, check out the UV Skinz cover-up. Made with UPF 50+ fabric, the long-sleeve, tunic-style top comes with lace-up detail as well as a hood, a cinched waist, and bell sleeves for added flair. Along with having sun-blocking capabilities, the material is also resistant to chlorine and salt water damage, so you can trust that it’ll last you for a long time. Plus, it comes in a few solid color options, so you’re bound to find one that fits into your pre-existing summer wardrobe.
Eastern Mountain Sports UPF Tunic Dress
For another great sports-to-brunch-to-beach look check out Eastern Mountain Sports tunic dress. The tunic dress is the perfect shade of white for summer no matter what activity you’re doing that day. The tunic dress comes with paneled stitching and a slightly flared hem to give more shape to this athletic summer look. And with UPF 30+ fabric it shields you from harmful UV rays too.
Solbari UPF 50 + Women's Sun Protection Luxe Sun Wrap
Solbari is ready to help you spend all day (and night) relaxing on the beach with its cozy luxe sun wrap. Made with a soft, breathable cotton and bamboo fabric blend, the cozy wrap is ideal for protecting you from the sun during the day (it has UPF 50+) and keeping you warm by a bonfire on the sand as the sun goes down. The flowy, cardigan-style wrap can be worn different ways and even comes with thumb-holes to cover the back of your hands—which tend to show signs of aging sooner than other areas of your skin—from harmful rays.
Columbia Women’s PFG Tamiami II Long Sleeve Shirt
Columbia is a true leader in outdoor apparel, so it’s no surprise that the brand has you covered with top-quality UPF clothing, too. This classic long-sleeve fishing shirt features Omni-Shade UPF 40 fabric,as well as Columbia’s Omni-Wick sweat-wicking technology that’s designed to keep you cool and dry all day. The button-up shirt also boasts rollable sleeves and mesh-lined venting on the back for added breathability, making this an ideal option for keeping you comfortable (and protected) whether you’re on a hike in the woods,, kayaking in the water, or lounging on the beach.