The Best Sun-Protective Clothing for Summer

Stay sun-safe this summer with our top UPF clothing finds for your whole family.

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April 07, 2023

Rain, sleet or shine, sunscreen is a skincare essential. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends you apply (and reapply) an SPF of 30 or higher to your face and body each day to guard your skin against harmful UV rays that, when left unchecked, can lead to premature aging of your skin as well as skin cancer. Another life-saving recommendation from the pros at The Skin Cancer Foundation? Protect your skin with UPF 50+ clothing.

One of the most common misconceptions is that all clothing items protect your skin from UV rays. Unfortunately, UV rays are relentless and easily penetrate your favorite summer frock to harm your skin. But the good news is that clothing with UPF, or ultraviolet protection factor, is specifically designed to block UV radiation. According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, “The number indicates what fraction of the sun’s UV rays can penetrate the fabric. A shirt labeled UPF 50, for example, allows just 1/50th of the UV radiation to reach your skin.”

What to Look for in Sun-Protective Clothing

Ready to stock up on UPF-rated clothing for your family this summer? The first step is to look for clothing with a UPF rating of 40 or above. The Skin Cancer Foundation explains that denser fabrics and clothing in darker or brighter colors are generally more protective than their light and airy counterparts. Even so, the best way to ensure maximum sun safety is to look for a UPF rating and their seal of approval when searching for sun-protective clothing.

Next, narrow your search by considering where you spend the most time exposed to the sun. Are you walking your dog during your lunch break or splashing around in your neighborhood pool? Do you spend hours on the golf course every other weekend, or are you gearing up for your first beach vacation with your toddler? Take stock of your answers, and let us do the rest. Check out our curated shopping guide with the best UPF clothing and shop our favorite picks for your family in the links below.

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$160
Photo Courtesy Tuckernuck

Dress to impress and protect your skin from the sun in one fell swoop with this polished Cottage Blue Oris Performance Poplin Sport Shirt by Peter Millar. The tailored button-down boasts UPF 50+ sun protection, making it an ideal top for running around the office, enjoying an alfresco afternoon date or sipping on mint juleps in the sun at the derby. Each performance poplin is moisture-wicking and features double-button barrel cuffs, two-way stretch and a French placket.

$29.99
Photo Courtesy Amazon

Looking for something new to throw on for school drop-off or your morning Pilates class? Add this UPF 50+ zip hoodie to your Amazon cart. The lightweight jacket is guaranteed to be a wardrobe mainstay with its breezy silhouette, breathable fabric and thumb holes that protect your hands from the sun. Each jacket features zip pockets and comes in three hues: black, white and mint green.

$26.99 $21
Photo Courtesy Amazon

This UPF 50+ long-sleeve shirt is a must-have find for the guy in your life. The comfy, moisture-wicking top boasts over 25,300 glowing customer reviews and a 4.6-star for its unmatched comfort and breathability. Each BALEAF shirt has a four-way stretch for a flattering fit and is available in sizes from small to 3X. Bonus: You can’t beat the budget-friendly price tag. Grab the celebrated sun-protective shirt for yourself and a few for your dad, brother or boyfriend in one of the 23 unique colorways.

$88
Photo Courtesy Tuckernuck

Slip on this crisp-white boyfriend tee to run errands or dominate the tennis court this summer. The UPF 50+ crewneck shirt has a boxy, semi-cropped fit that pairs well with high-waisted joggers, skirts or shorts. Better still, the long-sleeve top is moisture-wicking and quick drying making it a failproof choice for sweltering afternoons or seaside mornings. Treat yourself to the white for a classic look, or snag the navy, black or black Dahlia colorway to add a pop of contrast to your wardrobe instead.

$79
Photo Courtesy L.L.Bean

Beach days call for ample sun protection, and this L.L.Bean cover-up is the perfect addition to your UV-fighting arsenal. The sporty slip-on design features long sleeves and a hood for extended coverage on sunny days. The quick-drying, UPF 50+ design offers 10 times the protection of a simple t-shirt, making it a must-have for endless afternoons under the sun. Snag the tailored cover-up in sizes extra small to extra large and take your pick from six fresh colors to suit your style: artic blue, beach glass, darkest navy, iris mauve, white or hot coral.

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$39.95
Photo Courtesy L.L.Bean

Keep your tot safe from the sun with this top-rated sun-and-surf suit from L.L.Bean. The splash-ready romper is made from recycled fishing nets and backed with UPF 50+ protection to keep your little one from burning on your upcoming family vacation. The unisex design comes in 2-4T sizes and your choice of two summery colorways: aqua-and-purple or navy-and-orange.

$98 $64.99
Photo Courtesy Athleta

Level up your sun protection on your next pool day or beach vacation with this classic one-piece swimsuit from Athleta. The classic scoop-neck silhouette, removable pads and adjustable straps make this suit a chic option for all ages. And the best part? The Hermosa swimsuit boasts UPF 50+ sun protection rating.

$85
Photo Courtesy Patagonia

Lake days call for SPF aplenty. Add these UPF 40+ rated boardshorts to your trunk rotation to keep your body protected while living it up on the water. The 18-inch shorts come in sizes 28 to 40 and in nine fresh colorways guaranteed to stand out in a crowd. Bonus: Each pair of board shorts feature a rear pocket with a key loop and drainage for toting the essentials between swims.

$64 $49
Photo Courtesy Amazon

Give your favorite golfer a shirt that will keep them burn-free between greens. The Cutter & Buck Men’s Moisture-Wicking UPF 50+ Drytec Forge Polo offers a unique mix of comfort, style and sun protection. The breezy shirt will be the first they look for when getting ready for the driving range or alfresco brunch dates on the weekend. Scoop up the classic collared shirt in sizes small to 3X and your pick of 12 handsome hues.

$69
Photo Courtesy Amazon

Hot girl walks are made hotter with the help of this chic, UPF 50+ top. The protective long-sleeve shirt features thumb holes for full coverage and a classic crew neckline for a universally flattering look. And our favorite part? You can snag this top-rated design in sizes ranging from XXS to 3X. Choose from 14 colorways including neutral and vibrant tones like coral rush, spring green or cloud blue.

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