Sun Protection Clothing Product Review: Coolibar Spring 2014

Coolibar is a tried and trusted brand for me when shopping for sun protection clothing.  Coolibar always offers new pieces that broach fashionable and their product has never let me down for sun protection.  All garmets are machine washable and they hold fit and function.  There are no special washing instructions and they pack and wear well.  Additionally, while their designs work to incorporate elements of fashion, they also pay attention to the details important to incorporate great sun protection: they raise the neckline a bit or give you an adjustable arm length or insert mesh panels to increase breathability in the clothing.

Everything made by Coolibar is a UPF 50+ which means it blocks 98% or greater of both UVA and UVB rays for the life of the fabric.  Coolibar offers a multitude of sun protective fabrics, but the items reviewed here fall under one of these two:

  1. ZnO Suntect®: which is a cotton blended with bamboo viscose and a bit of spandex with Zinc Oxide in the fabric.  The Zinc Oxide provides the sun protection and never washes out.   So wear after wear the sunscreen is in the clothing, and not soaking into your skin.  Obviously the fewer chemicals in your system, the better.
  2. Aqua Suntect®: which is memory stretch polyester, is lightweight and offers great breathability.  This fabric provides bright prints and is chlorine and saltwaer resistant.  Typically you find this fabric used for water friendly garments.

I have chosen to review three new women’s looks from their Spring 2014 line.  I am going to evaluate them on style and hand.  I know from past experience that their UPF function will be exceptional and you will be extremely pleased with how easy it is to wear and wash each item.

The three looks are:

  1. The Boatneck Tunic in Black
  2. The Coastline Dress in Coral Geo Ikat
  3. The Antigua Tunic in Black Deco

The Boatneck TunicCoolibar - Boatneck Tunic

At first appearance when opening the tunic, the hand of the material feels a bit stiff and starchy.  The product is made out of the ZnO Suntect fabric and I know from previous experience that the fabric will soften with washing.  Additionally, the black does not show as a bold black, but a bit muted. My only other issue is the gold button about half way down the arm.  This button is placed to create the option to roll a sleeve, but I just can’t imagine I would ever wear the shirt without the sleeve rolled because the gold button is so obvious (see photos).  I might change mine to a black button to create a more versatile garment.

Upon trying on the top, the fit is nice.  A high neckline to help provide sun protection to the sensitive chest area, but I don’t feel choked. I like the style and can see many uses for the top wearing it both casually and dressing it up a bit based on pairings and accessories.  The belt that is sent with the top is a bit skimpy but we all have belts we can switch out.

Overall, I think this will make a lovely addition to my closet of “basics” and will be a nice top for afternoons and evenings in the sun.

The Coastline DressCoolibar - Coastline Dress

This dress shows well from the second you open your package.  The color is very true to what the magazine shows.  The pattern is fun, but so is summer time, so I think it was a good choice of material for this type of a dress.  I see this item as a great happy hour dress or day shopping dress.  Either way, it will provide style along with sun protection.  The material is light and bouncy and feels like it will be cool in the heat of the day. This dress is made of the Aqua Suntect material.  The length is great: somewhere between too short and too modest.  The length also does a nice job to balance out the long sleeves.  The neckline is nice and high to again provide sun protection to the delicate chest skin.  The only negative is the tightly gathered waistline.  It tends to shift while you move so there are some occasional clothing adjustments.  The matching belt is a good length but due to the lack of belt loops on the garment, it is hard to keep the belt directly over the gathered waistline.  I tried styling it with a different belt and a coat.  Obviously I need to enlist the help of my more stylish friends for this, but it seems like it could be very versatile.   All in all, a great investment if you are active outside for events where you need something a little extra special but also want some sun protection.

Antigua TunicCoolibar- Antigua Tunic

The tunic has a very fun styling to it.  The black and white pattern allows some style without overwhelming color.  The hand is very similar to the black tunic discussed earlier. This item is also made from their ZnO Suntect cotton.  The styling is that of a slit open neckline, but when on, the neckline is so high it almost seems like the top has been shrunken.  I do like the change of pattern along the hem and the cuffs.  The patter continues to the inside of the sleeve, so if you roll up the sleeve for some ventilation, the different pattern still shows.  (Just a random tip I have found through marathon training, but if you expose the underside of your wrist just a bit, your body can better regulate it’s temperature in hot weather.)

I really see this item as a great bathing suit cover up.  For that reason, I would likely size up on this item.  The current fit is a bit snug to layer under it.  If you are looking for more of a tunic top or tunic dress, then go with the smaller size for a sexier fit.  Who knew sun protection and sexy could be used in the same article!!!


Overall I find that Coolibar sizing runs a bit generous.  I usually push down to an XS (5’4” 120ish lbs).  I would still judge by their sizing chart but know that if you seem to bridge the line between sizes that the smaller size of the two is probably your better option.

I highly encourage you to take a look at their full catalog of clothing options.  I have worn Coolibar clothing for sun protection ever since being diagnosed with Melanoma in 2010.  For everyday basics, you can’t beat their ZnO Beach Pants or ZnO Sun Wrap.

Happy shopping and make sure to check out their Men’s and Children’s sun protection offerings too.  Maybe I will be able to convince my husband to do a little review on their golf shirts!

Author: sunality

I am a mother of two and survivor of a very scary malignant melanoma diagnosis. I was diagnosed in my early thirties. Since that day, I have been working to change my lifestyle and incorporate sun blocking effective products into my daily life to create a new reality of living in the sun... my "sunality." I want to pass along this information to others who are facing the same lifestyle changes and challenges. You can still live a normal life and protect yourself from the deadly effects of the sun.

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