Though fashion may always be first and foremost on your mind, it’s necessary to consider the pesky, practical matters of clothing, as well. Chief among these is dressing for the weather, because Mother Nature doesn’t fool around. Wearing the appropriate clothing for sun and heat can make the difference between a pleasant day in the sun and finding yourself sporting the lobster look for a few days–with all the nasty cancer-risk stuff that comes with it! Instead, choose clothing colors to help you resist the sun’s rays.
Does Color Matter?
Before you choose your clothing colors to repel sunlight, think about this fact from the Skin Cancer Foundation. Color matters, but not as much as fabric type. Thicker cloth with a tighter weave will provide more protection than loose weaves and lightweight materials, regardless of the color. You can buy fabrics designed for sunlight protection or wash your clothes with laundry additives that put sunscreen right into your clothes. When you pick your colors, remember to consider fabric first, color second.
Ultimately, white is the be-all and end-all of heat-repelling colors, but not so great for sun protection. With this light color, lots of sun gets in. Still, it’s the most comfortable thing you can wear on a hot day if you don’t want your clothing to absorb lots of heat. The sun’s UV rays will penetrate white and light clothing pretty easily, so it’s a good idea to wear a sunscreen along with your whites.
While light colors are resistant to gathering heat, black colors provide better protection fro the sun’s UV rays. This makes black and other dark colors an excellent choice for sunblocking power. Unfortunately, black does attract heat, so you’ll probably be the most comfortable wearing black on days that are sunny but not so warm. Alternately, wear light, cool colors, but protect yourself with a black brimmed hat or parasol.
Want to hedge your bets? Go with some blue instead of black or white. This will give you some dark color UV protection, but with less heat absorption. Just how dark the blue is will make some difference, but the great thing about blue is that it is the color of choice for denim, a material highly rated for skin protection by the Skin Cancer Foundation.
References and Resources"The Pocket Stylist: Behind-the-Scenes Expertise from a Fashion Pro on Creating Your Own Look;" Kendall Farr; 2004
The Skin Cancer Foundation: Protective Clothing