Ok, you apply a broad-spectrum facial moisturizing cream with SPF 15+ as part of your routine every morning, and reduce your Sun exposure. You stay out of the Sun between 10 am (1000) and 4 pm (1600) because it’s when the Sun’s radiation is the most intense except for lunch. You wear sunglasses that provide 99 to 100 % UV-A and UV-B protection to protect your eyes. But is that sufficient? This post explains what UV radiation is, and shows that you can look great in sun protective at work. Read why you should wear sun protective work clothing in summer.
- What Is UV Radiation?
- Why You Should Avoid UV Radiation
- Can You Avoid Damage from Sun Exposure?
- What Are the Requirements for Sun Protective Fabrics?
- Is There Sun Protective Work Clothing?
- Can You Wear Sun Protective Clothing for Work
- Why to Wear Sun Protective Work Clothing When You Don’t Work Outdoors?
- Summary and Conclusions
Disclosure: Ad. The top, skirt are samples from Coolibar. The post is not endorsed by them. I wrote it entirely myself and it represents my own 100% honest opinion.
What Is UV Radiation?
The figure below shows a schematic view of the Sun’s spectrum of solar radiation for the Earth. The Sun produces light similar to what would be expected from a 5778 K (5505°C) blackbody. This value is roughly the Sun’s surface temperature. The black line corresponds to these theoretical values of a perfect blackbody at various wavelengths.
The yellow shaded area is the Sunlight without atmospheric absorption that arrives at the top of the atmosphere. It depends among other things on the time of the year, distance Earth-Sun, Earth’s ecliptic and eccentricity (which changes at very long time scales). The red shaded area gives the solar radiation at the various wavelengths that arrives at sea-level height at a surface, e.g. on your skin. The difference between the theoretical black line and the red shaded area is what the atmosphere absorbs.
Now take a look at the figure in the region for ultraviolet (UV) which ranges from 100 nm to 400 nm. UV light between 315 nm and 400 nm is not absorbed by the ozone (O3) layer in the stratosphere. This range is called UV-A. In the range between 280 nm and 315 nm – the UV-B – most of the radiation is absorbed. The so-called short-wave ultraviolet, UV-C or germical (hard) UV light is used to sterilize surfaces, medical instruments and recently masks.
Why You Should Avoid UV Radiation
All UV wavelengths damage collagen, which accelerates aging of the skin. Both UV-A and UV-B also break up vitamin A in skin. UV-B damages the DNA (see schematic view below), which can lead to skin cancer.
Can You Avoid Damage from Sun Exposure?
In an earlier post, I explained why being in the shade fails to rescue you from sunburn. It’s also obvious that you can’t apply sunscreen to your entire body and then dress. The clothing would rub it off. It would look like a mess from the inside. Maybe even from the outside as well. Just think of how your beach cover-up looks at the end of your vacation. So what?
What Are the Requirements for Sun Protective Fabrics?
You need sun blocking clothes. Not all fabric is equal. Regular readers of High Latitude Style may remember my post about the worst sunburn of my life. The fabric had a weave that was so wide that even visible light could pass.
The weave of the fabric must be so tight that harmful UV radiation can’t pass thru it. Also the color and weight plays a role. Addition of sun-bouncing minerals, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide infused at the fiber or fabric level can help to avoid harm from UV rays. That’s the material that is also included in physical sunscreens. Because these ingredients remain active even when sweating and after multiple laundering, you stay shielded.
Tip: Wear tightly woven, loose fitting, dark color clothes
Yes, you are right. Sun secure clothing was first developed for outdoor wear. However, knowing that exposure occurs daily everywhere and you spend most of your time not exploring the Great Outdoors, Coolibar has developed also collections also for everyday wear. Therefore, you can get also incredibly effortlessly chic garments for your everyday urban and work life. The outfits in this post show just a small fraction of your options.
Can You Wear Sun Protective Clothing for Work?
The outfit photos above show a blouse and skirt example from their collection. On my petite frame (5 ft 4, 1.63 m), the skirt has a maxi hem. However, on taller women, it will be tea-length. In a business casual work environment, the look works as a variation on Casual Friday outfits, no matter where the hem hits. The top works even in corporate style under a blazer.
The look above shows a Coolibar tunic styled for Casual Friday with cropped pants.
Why to Wear Sun Protective Work Clothing When You Don’t Work Outdoors?
Lunch break, Babe. You go out for lunch, which is at about local noon. On nice days you sit in the outside area of the restaurant or on a bench in the park with your brown bag. Or you stand in line outside for an ice cream or a hot dog. Remember
When you are a 7-to-3 or 8-to-4 employee, you wait for the bus or tram in the Sun when it is pretty intense.
Summary and Conclusions
Coolibar offers not only affordable outdoor clothing, sun hats, and swimwear collections that shelter you from harmful UV radiation, but also effortlessly chic pieces for your everyday life. Enjoy 15% off & FREE shipping on your first order. Browse their collections now.
Coolibar’s clothes allow many business casual sun safe outfit ideas for female engineers.
Liou, K.N., 2002. An Introduction to Atmospheric Radiation, 2nd Edition, Elsevier. Hardcover ISBN: 9780124514515 · eBook ISBN: 9780080491677
Mölders, N., Kramm, G., 2014. Lectures in Meteorology, Springer, Heidelberg.
Mölders, N., 2023. Discover the Relation between Fashion, Fabrics, Weather, and Comfort. Amazon Pro Publishing. In press.
Torma, H., Berne, B, Vahlquist, A., 1988. UV irradiation and topical vitamin A modulate retinol esterification in hairless mouse epidermis. Acta Derm. Venereol. 68, 291–299.
WHO UV and health
Photos of me: G. Kramm
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