Protect Yourself from the Sun: The Evolution of Sun Protective Clothing

Rayward Apparel

The summer heat is officially in full effect and the sun is out in full force! While laying out by the pool or taking a leisurely stroll may sound fun, it's important to protect yourself from the sun's harmful rays. In recent years, advances in fabric technology have made protecting ourselves from the sun much easier with sun-protective clothing. 

But how did this clothing come to be and what is it made of? In this blog post, we'll take a look at the evolution of sun protective clothing and discuss some of the latest materials that make covering up much more chic than retro sunglasses and beach hats. Put on your sunblock and let's dive into this topic!

The First Sun Protective Clothing (& The Early Years of Sun Protection)

early days sun protective clothing

The first protective clothing designed to protect against the sun dates back to Ancient Greece and Rome, where people would cover themselves in long, flowing garments made of cloth with a naturally impermeable fabric such as linen.

This then progressed to protective garments being stitched together from dense fabrics such as velvet, wool, or cotton. These early attempts at providing us with UV protection served mainly to protect the elites, including soldiers, seamen, and royal courts who were often exposed to high levels of sun exposure due to their roles.
Although it was only used by affluent members of society in the earlier days, there has been a major evolution in sun protection over the years. Nowadays, more regular people can purchase a variety of protective clothing, from hats, rash vests, and trousers – making it available for everyone who wants to be savvy when heading out into direct sunlight.
From this early attempt at using traditional clothing materials to provide us with basic UV protection in our everyday clothing comes today's modern fabrics specifically engineered for sun protection - soft, lightweight, and fast-drying fabrics that protect us even when wet. 

The Popularity of Sun Protective Clothing (1950-1980)

The popularity of sun protective clothing heavily increased during the 1950s to 1980s. This surge in sun protective clothing was mainly due to an influx of people beginning to understand the importance and necessity of protecting their skin from harmful UV rays. Not only did this help people become aware of the risks of overexposure to their skin, but it strengthened the idea that prevention is better than cure.
Many businesses around this period began producing and selling items such as hats, long-sleeved shirts, and other forms of UV-protective clothing, which skyrocketed its popularity around that time.

While large fortunes were being made by companies responsible for producing primitively designed sun protective gear, many individuals with sensitive skin marveled at being able to participate in activities like outdoor sports without the worry of enduring a painful, itchy sunburn afterward.
Because these early versions of sun protective clothing were often bulky and lacked affordable materials for creating light fabric options, manufacturers eventually turned towards researching and utilizing new technologies to produce more efficient methods for protection.

With advances in modern technology come solutions that make us less dependent on things we used in the past - including the garments we used for protection against UV radiation during the 1950-1980s period. 

High Tech Fabrics in the Modern Era (1980 to Present Day)

UPF 50 Women's Blue Bamboo Short Sleeve

Over the past 40 years, advances in fabric technology have helped improve sun-protective clothing as well. Since 1980, high-tech fabrics have been utilized to increase not only their UPF rating but also their breathability, longevity, and comfort compared to traditional materials like cotton and linen.

In particular, fabrics made from synthetic fibers such as nylon, spandex, and polyester have allowed for more form-fitting shapes that are perfect for activities like running and swimming.
The evolution of sun protective clothing into something more fashion-forward is taking off rapidly—allowing people to protect themselves while also expressing their creative style. Whether you prefer natural or synthetic materials combined with cutting-edge nanotechnology or just classic pieces with no frills, there's something out there for everyone looking to shield themselves from dangerous UV rays without sacrificing comfort or style.

Key Takeaway

The modern era of sun protective clothing, from 1980 to the present day, has made great strides in providing stylish protection for its wearers. This advancement has allowed individuals to express themselves through the varied styles now available in the market.

Sun protective clothing lines are now offering an array of colors and cuts that cater to self-expression and creative displays of style. With the option of UV filters built into the material or applied directly, individuals can safely engage with the sun while expressing themselves.
Evidence in support of modern sun protective clothing shows its efficacy at shielding skin from potentially damaging solar UVB/UVA radiation. According to research conducted by The Australasian College of Dermatologists, high-quality materials outperform conventional cotton over time by successfully blocking up to 98% of UVA/UVB radiation, granting wearers peace of mind in a fashionable way.

In addition, some brands are now creating styles specifically tailored for athletes and other active people, making this form of expression available for any lifestyle or occupation.

Ultimately, variety in style combined with advanced fabrics for better protection are important aspects of modern sunwear that enable individuals to express their personal vision without sacrificing safety measures such as sunscreen.

Modern technologies combined with innovative design have opened up a whole new world when it comes to personal self-expression; allowing us all to embrace both individuality and safety during our outdoor activities in the hotter seasons. Contact Rayward Apparel today for more information about UPF sun protective clothing for both men and women