One of the things we’re most famous for here in Australia is our hot, Australian sun. While our warm summer weather is great for outdoor activities like fishing, swimming and camping, it can be easy to forget to protect your skin when there are so many fun outdoor activities to enjoy.
We’ve all grown up learning the jingle to remind us to ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’ – slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat (in case you’ve forgotten). Now they’ve also added ‘Slide’ to remind us to slide on some sunglasses too.
Sunscreen is obviously vitally important to protect your skin from the harsh Australian sun but, the truth of the matter is, if you’re not diligent about reapplying your sunscreen every 2-3 hours, then you need to invest in some UPF clothing.
What Is UPF Clothing?
UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor, so clothing that carries a UPF rating has been approved under Australian standards and guidelines to be effective in protecting your skin from UV radiation. To reach the Australian Standard, clothing needs to incorporate full length sleeves,
collars, crew necklines, long skirts or long trouser legs – basically the more coverage of the body, the better, as it will provide a physical barrier to block the UV.
The UPF rating also takes into account the material used in the garment. The amount of UV that passes through unstretched, dry material is assessed to provide the appropriate UPF rating. There are only four UPF ratings used for clothing – UPF15, 30, 50 or 50+. A material with a
UPF rating of 30 will only allow 1/30th (3.3%) of UV falling on its surface to pass through it, therefore effectively blocking 96.7% of UV. A fabric rated with UPF15 provides the minimum protection level against UV to receive a UPF rating.
Meanwhile, fabrics rated as UPF50 and/or UPF50+ provide excellent protection and are therefore recommended for use to protect your skin from sun damage.
Having white, pale and pasty skin, I am no stranger to the need to protect my skin from the sun. My children have all also inherited my pale, freckle-prone skin and have grown up having to pay attention to the ‘Slip, slop, slap’ message – at least they’ve also grown up with the ‘No hat, no play’ rule enforced by kindergartens and schools these days, so they’re well aware of the need to wear a hat if going outside during those dangerous high UV hours.
But, while we’re all aware of the need to not wear singlets, exposing our delicate shoulder skin, and to try, where possible, to wear t-shirts or shirts with collars to protect the back of the neck, what we haven’t been aware of until recently, is UPF or SunSmart clothing.
I actually can’t remember how I stumbled across the Solbari website – knowing me, it was probably from a Pinterest or Facebook ad, or similar. Always looking for ways to protect my skin, and that of my family, I was excited to give some of their UPF50+ clothing a try.
I ordered a shirt and a hat for my eldest son and a ‘sun wrap’ for myself. Helpful shopping tip – if you sign up to their mailing list, you’ll get a code to receive 10% off your first order! (And SunSmart clothing is a bit on the expensive side, so the 10% discount is worth having).
We were very excited to receive our order within a few days. Everything was packaged nicely, the hat even had a plastic mould inside it to keep it in shape.
The hat fits well and looks great and is going to offer great protection from the sun this summer. It even came with foam strips that could be added to adjust the size and fit if necessary.
The clothing feels amazing! The shirt is lightweight yet heavy enough to drape well when wearing – it looks great on and, despite the long sleeves, feels as though it will be comfortable to wear even on hot days.
As for the sun wrap, it looks and feels great! I’ve already worn it once as a lightweight cardigan on one of the warmer days we’ve had recently.
I haven’t had the opportunity to test it against the sun yet as it’s only October in Melbourne as I write this, and we haven’t had any scorcher’s yet, but it certainly feels comfortable and I’m looking forward to trying it out on the next hot day we get.
It has over 200 positive reviews on the Solbari website, so I’m expecting it to work well. I bought the black wrap (because, hey, I live in Melbourne!) but, after I’ve tested it out a bit more, I think I’ll probably go back and buy another one in a more summery colour, like the Oatmeal or the Natural Beige.
That way I’ll be fully equipped for whatever outfit I’m wearing, with a dark and a light wrap to choose from. There are heaps of different colours to choose from for this versatile piece of clothing, you can be as colourful as you like, I’m just a very neutral dresser!
The sun wrap is made from their ‘Sensitive Solbari Fabric’ which is a blend of cotton and bamboo, keeping it lightweight, breathable, naturally anti-odour and making it feel so soft against your skin. It also has little holes in the sleeves that you can put your thumb through to cover up the backs of your hands.
It’s a nice feature as this part of my skin is often left exposed and is showing signs of aging and sun damage. I wouldn’t wear the wrap this way ordinarily but, for instance, if I was sitting at an outdoor cafe and sun was getting on my hands, it would be an easy fix to pull the sleeves of the wrap down and hook my thumb in to keep the skin protected.
All Solbari products are rated UPF50+ and block both UVA and UVB rays. Their products are independently tested and rated and offer the highest sun protection available worldwide.
We are thrilled with the fit and quality of the SunSmart clothing we purchased and, as I said before, we’ll be ordering some more in some other colours soon.
Suddenly the long, hot, sunny days of the Summer ahead don’t seem so daunting as we’re getting ourselves well equipped with the right clothing to keep us safe and protected from the harsh Australian sun.
Solbari has a large range of SunSmart clothing, swimwear and hats to choose from, they even have sun umbrellas and sunscreen too – everything you might need to protect your skin is available on the Solbari website – check it out today! And don’t forget to join their mailing list to get your discount code!