Want to look good outdoors while staying safe in the sun? Today, stylish clothing and accessories made especially to shield your skin from the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays can help prevent the damage that can lead to skin cancer.
Learn more about fashionable options for staying safe from the sun.
Due in part to the fedora's retro allure (the hat is regularly featured on AMC's TV series Mad Men, set in the early 1960s), sales of the broad-brimmed hat have soared in the last few years. Fedoras are usually made of felt, but a tightly-woven straw version is a great warm weather alternative.
The versatile floppy hat is a summer classic. Its broad brim - usually 3 or more inches wide all the way around - shades the face, neck, and tops of shoulders. Floppy hats come in various materials, so styles range from the casual (straw) to the rugged (canvas) and formal (silk).
Before Your Eyes
Sunglasses are always cool, so with a pair that blocks 99-100 percent of UV radiation (the label or packaging should state this), you'll protect your eyes and look chic. According to Accessories Magazine's 2009 Census Report, aviators, which have oversized, teardrop-shaped lenses, are fashionable right now. For a more traditional look, wayfarers, with their distinctive four-sided lenses, are always smart. Sunglasses with side shields on the stems offer peripheral shade for extra protection.
The Dress Code
If you're an outdoor athlete (or just want to look like one), sun-protective sports clothes are a must. Luckily, many sportswear outfitters offer stylish staples suitable for work and play.
Look for a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) label, which conveys how much of the sun's UV radiation can penetrate the fabric; a shirt with a UPF of 30 will let just 1/30th of the UV reach the skin. (The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends items with a UPF of 30 or higher.) Today there are high-UPF cargo shorts, long pants, polo shirts, summer dresses, and more. Many of these clothes are also designed to wick sweat and water away from your skin, so you'll stay cool and dry as well as sun-protected.
Denim is never out of style, and dark blue jeans offer an estimated UPF of 1700. For cooler mornings or windy days at the beach, denim is an easy, and classic, option.
Water sports enthusiasts should have no trouble finding high-UPF swimsuits and trunks. Many swimmers and surfers also swear by rash guards, athletic shirts made of tight-fitting materials like spandex. Lighter than traditional wetsuits, rash guards' tight weaves can provide superior UV protection. If you prefer a looser fitting top, try a swim shirt. Both items are a sun safety basic for anyone who's in or on the water.
On the shore or at the pool, beach cover-ups are a great idea. Lightweight, loose-fitting pieces like pareos and sarongs shield the often-exposed legs; scarves and wraps can cover the neck, upper chest and shoulder area. Cover- ups are perfect for very hot, sunny days when you need UV protection but don't want the added weight of heavy layer.