- Let's face it, sometimes sunscreen isn't enough, especially since dangerous UV rays can penetrate your clothing.
- Instead of risking it, avoid future sun damage by wearing garments made specifically with UPF protection that are designed to protect against harsh UV rays.
- Our top pick for clothing brands that sell the best sun protection clothing is L.L.Bean because the company produces well-made, on-trend basics with built-in protection you can wear every day.
During the warmer months of summer, it's likely beach days, backyard BBQs, and home pool parties quickly fill up your calendar. Spending more time outdoors during the summertime is inevitable — as is the likely sunburns that come along with it.
But even if you're careful and slather on SPF every few hours, the sun's harmful rays can still penetrate your clothing. This is why investing in clothing with UPF is so important, especially during the hot and sticky months.
How sun-protective clothing works
Clothing and accessories with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) feature tighter weaves than normal clothing, which helps prevent UV rays from passing through. The average cotton tee has a UPF of 5, which means the garment allows 95% of incoming UV rays to penetrate it, while an item with UPF 50+ only allows 2% of the sun's rays to pass.
UPF clothing may have been hard to find in the past but more of your favorite clothing brands have been designing pieces that offer built-in sun protection. To help you find the most stylish sun-smart offerings on the market, we've rounded up five fashionable brands that sell clothing with a minimum of UPF 50.
Here are the best sun protection clothing brands:
- Best overall: L.L.Bean
- Best sporty brand: Athleta
- Best stylish brand: Lilly Pulitzer
- Best brand for swimsuits: Lands' End
- Best brand for accessories: Coolibar
Updated on 9/2/2020 by Rick Stella: Updated the section on how sun-protective clothing works, checked the availability the products recommended for each brand (where necessary), and updated the links throughout.
The best UPF clothing brand overall
L.L.Bean is a one-stop-shop for summer basics including button-up tops, trousers, shorts, tees, and even dresses that feature built-in UPF 50 at a moderate price point.
There's a reason why L.L.Bean is a go-to source for stylish yet durable outerwear and accessories. The American brand has been making high-quality functional goods for more than 100 years. While you probably own a pair of L.L. Bean's winter boots or cozy thermals, the company's summery UPF clothing is just as good.
The iconic company has more than 150 items with built-in sun protection for all genders, including separates, dresses, outerwear, and accessories. Trousers and tops mostly retail for $60 or less, while higher-end pieces like hiking jackets and polarized sunglasses range from $100 to $250.
The brand recently earned The Skin Cancer Foundation's Seal of Recommendation on dozens of styles in its collection, including the popular Cropped Comfort Trail Pants. The foundation's Seal of Recommendation is given to sun conscious products that meet the strict criteria of an independent Photobiology Committee.
Pros: Great basics with sun protection of UPF 50, mostly reasonably priced, lots of options and variety in products, Seal of recommendation from Skin Cancer Foundation
Cons: Fancier items can get pricey
The best sporty UPF clothing brand
If you like to be active while outdoors, Athleta's on-trend activewear with UPF 50+ is just what you need.
Do you love to workout in the sunshine? If so, check out the UPF clothing at Athleta. The activewear brand is known for its fashionable yet functional pieces and the company also has a large variety of sun conscious items.
While Athleta offers plenty of basic tanks, leggings, jackets, and swim that have built-in protection, many of the brand's most popular UPF items can pull double duty in your summertime wardrobe. Like the Stinson Back Zip Tank, which can be also used as a rashguard or the Makaha High Neck Reversible Bikini Top and Makaha Reversible Bottoms, which can be mixed and matched into four different swimsuit combinations.
Insider Reviews writer Kylie Joyner is a huge fan of the brand's Sunlover UPF Tank saying, "it provides excellent protection from the sun's rays." She added that it is great for hot runs because it "wicks sweat away easily, and dries quickly."
Kylie also mentioned that the Athleta UPF top is on the more expensive end but "its performance, quality, and the features it offers make the price justifiable."
Pros: Stylish activewear with UPF 50+, many versatile pieces that can be worn multiple ways, high-quality
The best stylish UPF clothing brand
Is your warm-weather wardrobe full of pieces in bright prints? Then Lilly Pulitzer's UPF clothing will be right up your alley.
Resortwear brand Lilly Pulitzer is known for making colorfully printed clothing that screams summer. Knowing that a lot of the brand's customers pack its cheerful designs for tropical holidays, Lilly Pulitzer expanded its collection to include pieces made with sun protective fabrics.
The vacation-ready UPF 50+ line includes everything from preppy pullovers and sporty leggings to flirty frocks and ruffled skirts, all in the same vivid and happy prints as the regular collection.
The UPF 50+ Sophie Dress was the brand's first foray into sun-protected clothing and remains one of the most popular pieces to date with a 4.7-star rating on Lilly Pulitzer's website. The feminine frock comes in six different prints and can be customized with your initials.
It's just one of the pieces from the stylish line that can offer protection when worn as a cover-up to the beach but is sleek enough to take you from the sand to dinner in a snap.
Pros: Fashionable feminine items with UPF 50+, large variety of items and multiple prints to choose from, great for vacations
Cons: Very bright colors and prints might not be for everyone
The best UPF swimsuit brand
If you spend your summers outside laying by the pool or hanging out on the beach, Lands' End's stylish UPF 50 swim and cover-up options will ensure your skin stays protected.
While Lands' End has a huge offering of clothing with UPF 50, its swim and cover-up collection is the largest we've ever seen. The swim line includes one-pieces, bikinis, swim skirts, rashguards, and even dresskini styles.
Land's End also offers plenty of cover-ups with built-in sun protection, including dresses, tees, shorts, and skirts in a variety of colors, prints, and sizes. Much of the brand's clothing also has The Skin Cancer Foundation's Seal of Recommendation including the Women's Perfect Suit One Piece and the Women's Swim Fabric Skirts.
While most of the line is at a moderate price point, some of the pieces with technical features like tummy control and Slendertex fabric can be pricier.
Pros: High-quality swimwear and cover-ups with UPF 50, The Skin Cancer Foundation's Seal of Recommendation, large variety of options
Cons: Pieces with technical functions can get expensive
The best UPF clothing brand for accessories
Coolibar has an extensive collection of UPF clothing and accessories on Amazon that look great and offer good protection.
Coolibar is an apparel and accessories brand that was started with the sole purpose of creating sleek wearable fashions that offer high-quality UPF 50+ protection. Coolibar was actually the first sun protective clothing company to receive The Skin Cancer Foundation's Seal of Recommendation.
The company's UPF 50+ accessory line offers everything from scarfs and hats, to beach shawls and even gardening gloves, so you'll stay safe from the sun's harmful rays no matter what outdoor activity you partake in.
Pros: High-quality accessories that feature sun protection, fast shipping on Amazon, large selection of different types of accessories
Cons: Amazon Prime isn't available on a few select items
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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at email@example.com.
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