As the snow begins to thaw and we start to see the sun shining, I am taking time to plan my spring and summer wardrobe. An essential part for me is picking versatile and functional sun protection accessories. I want to share with you a UPF clothing line I was recently introduced to – Sundriven. I have only had the chance to use three of their products, but everything looks promising.
Founded by Mitzi Runyan and 100% female owned, the company started out selling driving gloves to a West Coast audience. Mitzi’s experience in the skin care industry led her into the cosmetic impact of sun exposure on skin. It wasn’t until she had two grandparents diagnosed with Melanoma that she really started to see the deeper impact of sun damage.
Since launching the glove line, the company has started to expand their line into some scarves, hooded scarves and multitasking pieces, which you can add to your normal wardrobe to supplement protection to the more vulnerable parts of your body (face, neck, hands, etc.). I was thrilled when they called to see if I would try a few pieces and review their product.
I opened the package to an array of beautiful, bright and feminine colors: bold teals, rich purples. These were hip, young colors that I could actually see myself wearing. The tags were affixed with small and elegant safety pins, which protect the integrity of the product and are easy to remove. The branding is printed on the inside of the garment which aleviates that horrible itching that tags create and allows fluidity with the product while not worrying about a tag sticking out.
And the hand, or feel, of the fabric is amazing. Everyone I asked to touch it went on and on about how soft and luxurious the fabric feels. It has a feel of bamboo cotton with a spring and bounce you would expect from tencel. Of course the combination makes you want to live in it and creates a very flowing and feminine, yet punchy and spunky wearing experience. It also washes well. It holds it shape and color, and doesn’t pill or shrink.
The three Sundriven products I tried were:
I have spent the past few months using the products in a variety of locations and weather conditions. I have tested them on vacation in Hawaii and Colorado and have worked to incorporate them into my everyday driving life in Michigan. Overall I feel each has its pros and cons but ultimately the product has a great opportunity for growth. The material can’t be beat, so now it is time to focus on the functional life designs and possibly expand into beach cover-ups or baby wraps and stroller/car carrier tents. I am going to keep a close eye on this brand because I expect great things.
Sundriven Original Gloves – $38:
I was a bit skeptical of the glove thing when originally contacted. “Would I really wear driving gloves?” “How much exposure am I really getting while in the car?” I was especially biased with my Midwest gloomy environment. I can only imagine driving gloves are a needed item when you are in the sun during long commutes or enjoying a spin in your convertible. I just didn’t find it relevant for those of us living in the Midwest… or so I thought. Their marketing materials stated that, “Women are driving more than ever before, spending an average of 18.5 hours a week in their cars, which is 888 hours a year. Throughout a lifetime, that can add up to 52,000 hours of unintentional sun bathing.”
I took a look at my own driving time:
- I have to take my son to and from school everyday and there is that dreaded school pick up car line wait time. Total: 7 hours a week
- Commuting to and from Grand Rapids for work: 3-5 hours a week
- General shuttling of kiddos and grocery runs: 5 hours a week
Quickly I started to see that I do in fact spend anywhere between 15 and 20 hours a week in the car. Wow!
So I slipped them on and I haven’t taken them off. They are a permanent part of my purse (and just to prove it, a quick snap of my bag). But, don’t think these puppies will keep you warm in the winter. They are very lightweight and very slick on the hands. In fact, a little grip on the palm side of the glove would be nice for driving. They have also come in handy during outdoor cocktails and playtime at the park when the temperature was above 40 degrees. Anything below 40 and you might as well throw on your leather driving gloves.
The original gloves (short and long) are not touch screen friendly, but you shouldn’t be touching your screen when driving anyways. However, for no additional charge, I would recommend purchasing their newly launched touch screen friendly gloves because, like I said earlier, I found them very handy both in and outside of the car.
So slap me silly and call me Diane Keaton, but I am a glove wearing glamazon from this point forward!
Sundriven 7-Way Wrap – $46:
At first the 7-way wrap is a bit underwhelming. It is so small and it just seems like the tiniest piece of fabric, which won’t be able to cover much of anything. And, while it is true the website shows 7 ways to wear the wrap, I want to be very clear that wearing the wrap as an open back tube top is not age appropriate or society appropriate for me (and probably everyone). I would also say that the nun habit looking head wrap reminds me of what my grandmother looked like when it rained. So I would call this the 4-way wrap.
I tried to wear it as a pool cover up. I even boldly posted an instagram of myself rocking it. But as soon as I stepped out of the shelter of the house I felt very sun exposed. So for a woman who is really looking for full sun protection, this piece isn’t really useful in a pool/beach setting.
This is, however, a great UPF piece to throw into the glovebox of your car or into your purse and have on hand for those moments you are caught without sun protection. It is a “master of all trades, expert at none” type of piece that can be very handy for people trying to live an active life while avoiding sun damage. And in those instances you might just see me throw on the nun habit style… no photos please!
Sundriven Olivia Hooded Scarf – $85:
This piece seemed like it had a ton of potential. Unfortunately the scarf part is very long and the hood part is very large and engulfs my entire head. I couldn’t dare wear it while driving because it completely killed my peripheral vision. It was also a bit too bulky to wear with a sundress. The back of the scarf is cut in an arch instead of straight across so it looks weird without something over it. I did find it very cute under a sport coat or my winter coat as a scarf and let the hood hang out the back. But it just didn’t work with summer clothing. I think it is a really cute piece for spring and fall when you can use it as a layering piece. The best use I found for this piece was covering my kids at dinner when they got tired and cold. It made a nice sized blanket for them.
All in all I would skip this piece because it’s bulk and design doesn’t make it user friendly or travel friendly. Simple modifications to the size of the hood and the cut of the scarf would change my review drastically.
What I Would Buy:
Take a look at the Sundriven Ella Endless Scarf ($72) or the Sundriven Millie Wrap ($168). I think the Ella Endless will become a girl’s best friend for everyday use: cocktails, driving, dinner party, wedding, stroll with the baby, time at the beach, etc…. I think it could be used in so many ways that it is worth the investment. The Millie Wrap has some nice style to it but the price is a bit to stomach. I will say that the material alone would make me purchase this product over a similar item from competitors. I think the colors and the flow and feel of the fabric take it to another level.
I love the story behind the brand. I love that it is a female owned business. I love that it is free shipping and free returns. I love the colors. I love the youth and vibrancy of the brand. I love the purpose and the function of the products. I can’t wait to see where this brand goes.