Stripes and Denim for Sun Protection

Elena-Meehan-8937On the beach, I like to be worriless. Worriless about absolutely everything, and mindful only of the waves kissing the shoreline and my toes in the sand. For somebody who likes to cover up and protect herself from the sun, that might be a little hard to imagine—but it’s definitely possible to dress up for sun protection and enjoy the beach at the same time.

A case in point is this outfit that I wore to the beach: a striped shirt and denim jeans. Stripes and denim are timeless for a reason, but they need a little vamping up once in a while. The striped shirt that I wore came from a brand that I absolutely love, Mott 50. The brand is dedicated to weaving together stylish wardrobe must-haves that also double as sun protective clothing—all clothes have UPF 50. Mott 50 identifies itself as not just a fashion brand, but a “lifestyle brand”, catering to people who are conscious of the damaging UV rays but do not want to compromise style. It’s literally skincare that you can wear.

This striped shirt is very light and nice on the skin, and with such a classic design and sun protection function, it made beach dressing quite effortless on my part. I paired it with these pastel pink denim jeans. Denim is a material that provides excellent sun protection, and is as much a spring staple as stripes. Pastels are always trendy in spring, too, and the soft pink hue is a nod the Pantone Colors of the Year.

As always, accessories are a (vogue) necessity, and I put on a white fedora hat and black sunnies for coverage for my face. I also wore a couple of statement rings, and brought my Louis Vuitton Saint Barth bag. The total outfit sans the accessories gives much freedom in movement, which is perfect for bonding and playing with my boys.

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The Perfect Parasol

Recently, I’ve fallen in love with parasols and it dates back to last year when I spotted Hollywood darling Anne Hathaway carrying her own parasol in New York.  She looked so glamorous and sophisticated, a true lady and it’s no surprise her porcelain skin remains unlined and translucent she clearly takes care of her complexion avoiding the sun. I’m also extremely aware of the harmful factors of sun exposure. For quite a few years now I’ve been very reluctant to put my face in the sun because of the danger of UV ray penetration.  Everyone knows how these rays accelerate premature aging, not to mention increase risk of cancerous melanoma so I’ve been looking for different ways to protect my skin. A parasol from Californian based Persolé is now my must have item – I can’t leave home without one!

I’m happy to say that I follow a very strict skincare regime.  I always cleanse, tone and moisturise twice a day.  I use anti-aging moisturiser, a serum underneath packed full with Vitamin C and antioxidants and I apply a light covering of SPF 50 to any exposed areas including my face.  So far, I’ve noticed very little aging and any lines I have are extremely feint.  I’m pleased that people are often surprised at my age (40) and many of them remark how I could easily pass for younger.  I know this is because I am very careful with what I put on my skin and how well I protect my face from the sun.

I don’t avoid sunshine altogether because the feeling of sunshine dancing on my skin is so pleasurable and when you live in a warm climate, it’s difficult not to spend time at the beach or by the swimming pool. However, I always wear my sunscreen and top up regularly and I sit in the shade for most of the time.  Additionally, I wear sun sensible clothing which looks fabulous, you’d think it was created by haute couture designers there’s so much choice these days.  A hat is imperative when by a swimming pool, to protect my face and my hair.  Giant sunglasses complete the look and when I walk around I use one of my Persolé parasols.  That’s my poolside beauty covered but since seeing Anne Hathaway donning her parasol I’ve added parasols to my day to day ensemble. I now own quite a few magnificent sun umbrellas or parasols from Persolé not only do they look stunning, they are UV repellent and fashion statements of their own.

A Persolé parasol promises almost 100% protection from UVA and UVB and the fabrics they are created from promise UPF (fabric factor) 50+.  If you get caught in a downpour they’re suitable to use as an umbrella too because they are completely waterproof although I wouldn’t advise using them for this purpose too often!  You should definitely check them out; they are just superbly made, some of them fashioned from bamboo and covered in divine glistening Swarovski crystals not to mention the stunning jewelled handles.  It’s no wonder I’ve fallen in love with them and I keep finding myself looking for new styles to complement my different outfits.  It doesn’t matter what I wear, there’s a Persolé parasol to match any outfit, even if I’m just going to the soccer game in my favorite jeans and T-shirt or if I’m dressing up for a smart brunch party with friends.  A parasol looks chic and striking and now I’m never without my Persolé. I’m finding I’m buying my parasols and matching outfits to them!  I’m particularly in love with Blue Flower with Lucite parasol and when I’m feeling a little more adventurous I bring out the Red Leopard with Red Crystal parasol – one of my absolute favorites.

So if you want to protect your skin from aging, age spots, melanoma and retain your youthful good looks there’s nothing better than plenty of high quality SPF 50 and a fabulously gorgeous parasol to match your outfit.  Not only does one of these protect your face, it also keeps your hair away from the sun so there’s no chance of your color lifting or it drying out so a Persolé parasol ticks all my boxes.  I don’t feel fully dressed without mine!

Sun Parasol and Gucci Bag

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Kaftan Tunic Dress

Kaftan tunic dresses offer easy and fashionable sun protection.   While I am very conscious about sun damage and seek shade between 10 am and 4 pm, I refuse to be afraid of the sun!  The last 30-40 minutes before sunset have the lowest UV index, yet still provide the warmth and soft sun light.

During this time frame I like to take long barefoot walks on the beach, to indulge the salty air and to expose my face to the smooth ocean breeze.  I am convinced that these walks increase my overall energy and give me peace, calmness and clarity.

I found this maxi beach kaftan with long sleeves from Calypso to provide good coverage without making me look and feel gigantic. I just throw it on and go.  It  also looks chic, so after the sun sets I can move to a local cafe for a cool ice cream or a cool cocktail.






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Walk in the soft warmth of the sun

There is a time of the day when the sun isn’t as active and I can go out to enjoy its golden glow. Forty-five minutes before the sun sinks and the evening begins, UV ratings are at their lowest, and the light is friendlier to the skin. During this time, I grab the opportunity for a walk outside and bask in the soft warmth of the sun.

This walk along the beach with my family is one such time. Here, I wore a casual tank top with a long, flowy maxi wrap for extra cover. Darker fabrics actually let in less UV, and so this one is just fitting. I accessorized minimally to keep it easy. One is this gold cuff, which adds a touch of edge, and another is a fedora hat with a black bow detail, which lends a bit of drama to the outfit. Hats are another stylish accessory that helps protect from the sun, and these days, they can be worn in places other than the beach. I could talk about that some time.

Spending time at the beach, however, also means having to run the risk of getting sunburns.  While the rest of my family isn’t as strict as I am about sun protection, they still like to take extra precautions and stick to general rules that make them avoid UV rays as much as possible. Some of those that we swear by are these:

Create an agenda to avoid the midday sun—which is when it’s most harmful—by doing activities indoors. In such cases where outdoor activities are inevitable, try to prevent sunburn by seeking shade under a tree, a pop-up tent, or simply by using an umbrella.

Covering up the arms and legs—perhaps with a long-sleeved t-shirt, or pants, or maxi skirts—also help. This way, your clothes absorb UV rays and less of them penetrate your skin. Accessories like hats are great for shading the area of the face, as I mentioned earlier. There are, in fact, a variety of styles available that can cover everything from the scalp to the neck.

Putting on sunscreen, of course, is a general sun-protection tip that I do believe everyone must go by, including children. Anything with at least SPF 15, plus UVA and UVB protection are most recommended.


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Tasseled Maxi Dress for Sun Sensible Lifestyle

I underwent a little bit of a heartbreak when I realized that committing to a sun sensible lifestyle meant that my wardrobe will be limited to full-length pieces. That means that none of those cute camisoles, sophisticated culottes, or short playsuits will make it into my day closet; I would have to start dressing for maximum coverage. What I discovered for my kind of lifestyle, though, is that the fashion industry has endless, stylish options for any dressing needs I had—I just really had to be open to the challenge and learn the rules of the style game.

One trick I learned? If you’re stocking up on full-length pieces, vamp it up with prints, patterns, trimmings, and inventive silhouettes. That way, you keep things playful and interesting.

One case in point I’ve had is this Dodo Bar Or tasseled maxi dress. It’s a breezy maxi dress made from black and white cotton-gauze, with a geometric op-art print that is no short of enchanting. It’s incredibly detailed, and I love every bit of it, from the silhouette-defining tassel trimmings to the gathered skirt. Needless to say, this dress has officially become my favorite for the summer, and I can’t rave enough about it!

The dress is already a showstopper, but I wanted to maximize it by pairing it with dark Celine sunglasses and a skull-embellished, black cowboy Bullhide hat. I wore it to lunch on the beach, and then a local town center for a casual shopping session with some of my friends.

I always get so ecstatic when I find something this intensely stylish for my sun sensible wardrobe. It doesn’t hurt that it’s versatile, too; I can definitely see myself wearing a lot more frequently and styling it in new ways in the future.

Sun Sensible Style Dodo Bar Or


Photographed by Max VanderNoot



Safari Chic Jumpsuits

It would be an understatement to say I love jumpsuits. If I have to pare my wardrobe down to 10 key pieces—factoring in my sense of fashion and concern for sun protection—jumpsuits will definitely be in there. They’ve got style and function rolled into one: providing maximum coverage while lending sophistication to your overall get-up while requiring very little styling effort.

With the sunny days just around the corner, you will definitely spot me wearing one of these full-length pieces. Because why not? They give you that much-coveted, effortlessly chic look. This one that I wore is a Safari-inspired jumpsuit from Ralph Lauren.  It’s made of satin finish silk, which is said to have infallible UV protection and can help withstand the scorching island weather. Not to mention, the satin silk is soft on the skin.

You can expect this jumpsuit to provide ease of movement with its loose and light fitting, too. And for a day out and about, I’d require nothing less for an outfit.

Just as a dress is not style on its own, jumpsuits need a little work, too. I sprinkled a little color toe the soft nude hue of my jumpsuit with my wrist bangle. My Sensi Studio fedora hat has beaded details that added a little playfulness, too. Then I put on sunglasses to finish the outfit off with.

Safari Jumpsuit with illesteva Sunglasses


Safari Chic Jumpsui paired with Hat for SPF