Having been in business for over 40 years, Patchington is well known for their comfort and bright colors. Patchington used to be a national chain until a new owner named Levich took it over. He closed 50 store locations, leaving only 15 in Florida. He wanted the company to change its focus to high quality customer service and a fashion-savvy target market.
Today, they also carry clothing with ultraviolet protection. Almost all of their clothing has a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) rate of at least 50 percent. This means that only 1/50 of ultraviolet rays can get on your skin while you’re wearing the garment.
Coolibar is a company that is dedicated to ultraviolet protection. As a result, all of their clothing is UV protective clothing. The UPF on a good number of their clothing is also at least 50 percent. They also sell sun sleeves and a face mask with the same UPF rate. Most of their sunscreens are at least 30 SPF. What makes Coolibar unique is that they team up with cancer survivors, dermatologists, outdoor athletes, etc. to determine their designs.
They combine classic styles with hidden design details such as inner ventilation and specialized moisture management. Even Coolibar hats and other accessories are designed with multiple layers that provide specialized moisture management.
How UV Protective Clothing Works
All anti-UV clothing has to have a very tight weave in it. Even if you’re indoors, it’s easy to figure out if it’s UV protective. Just holding the garment up to a bright light source, such as a light bulb. If you can still see light patterns, it’s not going to be very effective against UV rays. The whole idea behind the UV clothing is to minimize the amount of skin that needs creamy sunscreen or sun block. It can also be hard to tell how long sunscreen or sun block lasts and when it needs to be reapplied.
Here are some other pieces of general information about UV protective clothing:
-Dark colors tend to provide more protection than light ones
-Aside from being more tightly weaved, some UPF clothing has special coating that is designed to absorb UV rays. They usually contain minerals such as zinc and titanium. It’s as if you’re cloaking your body with shade.
-Believe it or not, some products that are similar to laundry detergent can add UV protection to your clothes without changing their appearance. However, it is not currently clear how much they tend to add. So, you’re probably better off sticking to tightly woven and UV protective clothing.
-Denim, believe it or not, has been found to provide UV protection of up to 1,700. However, you probably won’t want to wear jeans at a swimming pool or beach. Fortunately, there are plenty of shirts, and swimwear, such as those sold from Coolibar, with UV protection.
-Thick fabrics absorb more UV rays than thin ones do. Wool and silk are moderately effective but are probably not the types you want to wear if you’re planning to hike across the country. The ones with the lowest effectiveness are rayon, cotton, and hemp fabrics. They can’t block UV rays without added treatment.
-Polyester and nylon tend to do the best job at blocking UV rays.
More information about UPF ratings:
-Any UV protection rated under 15 is not considered to be UV-protective. For example, a white cotton undershirt would not be considered to be UV-protective because it has a rating of five or less.
-Getting a lot of fabrics wet may reduce their ratings. However, polyester has actually been shown to be even more effective when wet.
-When the fabric gets old and worn, it is usually not as effective at blocking UV rays. So, if you hike a lot or spend much of your time outdoors in general, that’s the time to donate and replace them. Same issue with any fabric that’s stretched or doesn’t fit you anymore.
-Many detergents, especially those with brighteners, do help protect your clothes’ UP rating. Unfortunately, though, there’s no way to really be able to tell if any of them improve the effectiveness of UV protection.
-If you can get away with shrinking a garment, great! Shrinking does increase its UV protection effectiveness.
-Clothes with UV finishes, unfortunately, wash away in the laundry. So, if that’s your only choice for UV protective clothing, always check to see-or ask a store associate-how many washes it’s expected to last through.
Other Common Features of UV Protective Clothes:
-Naturally, clothing that is designed to be UV protective usually has extended coverage. For example, some shirts cover all the way to the back of the hand. Most of the hats are the ones with the wide brims and capes for the back of the neck.
-They also tend to be looser-fitting. Hiking and being in nature is not the time to be donning things like tight jeans or jackets. Nature doesn’t care about your appearance, so nature is not the place to put much thought into what you look like on the outside.
-UV protective clothing tends to dry very quickly. Not that you’re probably planning to swim in it or anything, but you sometimes do have to get wet in nature to survive. Hence, it is beneficial to have clothing that dries very quickly so that it can quickly regain its full UV protection. Especially if you’re going to be outside all day, are planning to go camping outdoors for a number or days, or are planning to hike across the country, you might also want to pack a spare pair of clothes.
Other tips for staying sun safe with your clothes:
-Wash it when you first buy it. This not only gets rid of the sizing, it also helps to close in any subtle holes in the weaving. If it’s cotton, it may need to be washed two or three times before it tightens.
-If you are going for something tight, such as leggings, be absolutely sure that they fit you before purchasing them or when you open the box. Again, fabric that doesn’t fit isn’t very effective.
-If you’re going swimming, skiing, snowboarding, or will be in a glass building for much of the day do be aware that UV rays bounce off of water, snow, and glass. This means that it’s hitting your skin with twice the intensity, so UV protective clothing is especially essential in those situations.
Some Final Things to Remember
Clothes, like sunscreen, won’t cover you 100 percent. As a result, it is always best to stay in the shade whenever possible. If you’re going to be outside for more than 15 minutes, it is important to apply sunscreen on exposed areas on a regular basis. You also probably don’t want to get too much sun in your eyes so if you spend an inordinate amount of time outdoors, UV protective sunglasses are essential as well. The time that the sun is the most damaging is usually between nine o’clock in the morning and three o-clock in the afternoon. Clouds don’t protect against the sun, either, so never assume that you’re home free even then. Wearing protective clothing from Coolibar can help. Visit Patchington or stop by one of our 13 boutiques to find the perfect protection for your active lifestyle.
UV Protective Clothing