Take Sun-Cover in These 7 Hot Fashion Trends

Take Sun-Cover in These 7 Hot Fashion Trends

Cover Up in Several Hot Fashion Items From the Spri
ng/Summer Runway
May 20, 2008 —
With Memorial Day — summer’s unofficial kickoff — less than a
week away, thoughts turn immediately to
and ballgames, biking and boating, golf, tennis and long, languorous da
ys at the
Less time is spent thinking about the damage the searing solar
rays wreak on our precious skin. “It’s a
constant battle to educate people on the importance of adequate and
reasonable sun protection,” says
Doris Day
, a New York dermatologist.
But fashion, which has always respected the elements, is here t
o help in an even bigger way this year. Some
of the major trends culled from the runways of the spring/summer col
lections can offer more
sun protection
than ever before — at least for women — if worn properly and
coupled with sunscreen, medical and fashion
experts say.
“It’s not like the usual tanks or short skirts,” says Dr. Susan Chon,
an assistant professor of dermatology at the
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, which publi
shed an article about summer
fashion and sun safety in its May newsletter.
“The trends on the runway this year offer a lot more skin coverage tha
n in previous seasons,” Chon says.
“The kinds of clothing choices are actually beneficial as far as
your skin health goes.”
Long skirts and dresses, leggings (yes, even in summer), long-sle
eve tunics, huge-brimmed hats, shawls,
scarves, wide belts (a
Michelle Obama
staple) and enormous sunglasses all stood out on the catwalks, right
alongside the one-piece bathing suits, this season.
“It speaks to the idea of investment dressing,” says Jen Goodkind, co-
host of “
A Fashionable Life
,” a weekly
radio show on fashion, beauty, health and style that airs on WGCH 1490-AM
in Greenwich, Conn., and at
“With the economy as it is, if you’re going to wear something and ma
ke a statement,” says Goodkind, who
started her career as an accessories editor at Vogue, “make
it big.”
And big is good when it comes to
sun safety
The Rules: Sunscreen, Fabrics, Colors
More than 1 million skin cancers are diagnosed each year in the Unite
d States, according to the
Cancer Society
. And 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancer and premature aging have be
en linked to
ultraviolet radiation from the sun, according to the
Skin Cancer Foundation
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The summer-chic clothing shown on the runways in no way eliminates the ne
ed for
, which should
have a sun protection factor of at least 15.
“These fashions don’t necessarily give you full protection,” Chon says.
“They are great just for the low-level
exposure you get walking around, running errands. But there’s a lot of i
ncidental light you get, say, when
you’re driving. Through the glass you’re going to get a lot of the longer
UVA rays
Colors and fabrics are also important in creating a protective
barrier between your skin and the sun. Whether
you’re shopping for leggings or a bathing suit, “the tighter the w
eave, and the darker the fabric, the better the
protection — whatever makes you maximally uncomfortable on a hot day,”
Day, the New York dermatologist,
Some bright colors, such as orange and red, offer higher ultraviolet
protection from
UVB rays
— the main
cause of sunburn.
Keeping these caveats in mind, here’s how you can tweak seven high-fa
shion trends for maximum sun
protection and maximum chic.
Sunglasses: Wraparounds for Botox
Choose extra-large frames, as they shield the fragile skin around
the eyes from skin cancer and aging. The
perfect sunglasses don’t have to cost a lot but should block 99 percent
to 100 percent of UV rays for
maximum protection against skin cancer and cataracts, according t
o the American Cancer Society.
“If you can look like Jackie O and still protect that sensitive ski
n around your eyes, why not?” fashion guru
Goodkind says.
Dermatologist Day ups the ante on the protection side at the cost
of a little style. “Ideally, the best sunglasses
are the ones that wrap around the side a little bit and block the
sun from coming in, the ones you wouldn’t be
caught dead in,” she says, laughing.
She recommends wraparounds, especially for her
patients, to keep them from squinting.
Hats: Cop an Attitude
Big, wide-brimmed hats, like the ones seen in the Marc Jacobs
collection, screen the areas most exposed to
the sun and so the most vulnerable to skin cancer — the scalp, fac
e and forehead, neck, ears and eyes.
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“The head and the neck account for 80 percent of all basal skin cancer
, the most common form of skin
cancer,” Chon says.
Huge big-brimmed hats give attitude. “They’re another way to make
a statement,” Goodkind says. “Big-brim
hats go with a spring attitude, a resort attitude, and if you’re
looking to add a little personal style, it’s a great
But again, pay attention to the weave, especially if choosing a s
traw hat. “If the weave is loose, everything
goes right through it,” Chon says. “A fabric hat will probably
be more opaque to light.”
The MD Anderson Cancer Center recommends holding your straw hat over the
ground and examining the
shadow it casts. If light speckles the shadow, toss the hat.
Tunic Tops: Watch Your Bottom
They’re not just cover-ups anymore, even though “any extra help you can get
at the beach is great,” Chon
says. And if they have long sleeves, all the better.
“You get a lot of reflected light from the sand or just by sitti
ng by the water,” Chon says. “Even under an
umbrella, people still get sun.”
But take care not to pair a tunic with full-length pants. “It c
an look like pajamas,” Goodkind says. Either belt
it, or pair it with another runway highlight — leggings.
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“It’s all about proportion,” Goodkind says. “If the tunic’s longer a
t the top, you might go with a cropped or
more Capri pant at the bottom.”
Leggings: A Leg-Saver
Lighter than most pants, leggings have been a fixture on the runways
since their tentative comeback in 2005.
“We saw a lot of those skinny, skinny pants, which translates to the
legging, no question,” Goodkind says.
Slip them on under a tunic or a dress, and they’re a leg-saver.
Ways to Save Legs
“More women develop skin cancer on their legs than men do, probably
as a result of more sun exposure over
time that comes from wearing shorts and skirts,” Chon says.
“Leggings are pretty helpful, but they cut off right below the
knees, so you have that area still exposed, but
you can wear the ones that go right to the ankle.”
Long Dresses
The mini has yielded to the maxi, which, along with leggings, is a
nother leg-saver. And they morph easily
from day to night, beach to street.
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“I noticed very young women with very long dresses, and I’m happy about that
,” Day says.
Scarves and Shawls: Beware Your Decolletage
They can be wrapped and draped around the shoulders of those long dresses,
many of which, Day laments,
have short-sleeves.
“You see girls wearing fabulous cotton scarves in the summertime
,” Goodkind says. “There’s this whole trend
with scarves and shawls that goes with the whole trend of wearing
UGG boots, even in the summer.”
And the trend brings cover to the delicate decolletage, or neckline,
“where the skin gets crinkly, and it’s hard
to fix,” Day says.
Chon says, “Women often forget to apply sunscreen to their necks and the
“V” of their chests, so that’s a
fashion right now that is kind of a good one for us.”
1-Piece Bathing Suits: Take Cover From Sun and Sins
No bathing suit is a match for the sun’s penetrating ultraviolet
rays. But a one-piece at least covers the
stomach and midriff and, depending on the style, the lower back and other
areas where it’s hard to apply
“It’s one-piece glamour,” Goodkind says. “You get better coverage
from the sun, and one-pieces cover a
multitude of sins that bikinis don’t.”
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It looks as if designer Norma Kamali, who brings a line of one-p
iece swimsuits to Wal-Mart in June, some
carrying $20 price tags, might just give a whole new twist to t
he phrase less is more.
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