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Sunshirts - yay or nay?

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  • Sunshirts - yay or nay?

    Do you like them? In the past, I've heard mixed reviews. Which brands do you prefer?

    I ride for a living. Shirt must be wash and wear and look professional. Prefer one resistent to staining, because horses are dirty

  • #2
    I like mine. I would look at places like REI and Sierra Trading Post.


    • #3
      I’m in love with my long-sleeve Kastels. Seriously, I don’t want to wear anything else. Hot, sunny, much more comfortable than technical fabric short-sleeves. Today I wore one outside all day building a deck. I stay so much cooler.
      "We need a pinned ears icon." -MysticOakRanch


      • #4
        100% yes! LL Bean are my favorites because of the chest double pockets, but the fabric is fairly thick.

        Duluth Trading Company has feather light ones, but... what's with the tiny useless pockets?! Columbia is similar. (And similarly expensive.)

        If you have Academy Sports stores nearby, their Magellan brand is also good.

        I do not work outside in short sleeves. Both because of the sun, and generally getting dirty/scratched/having bugs land on me.

        Note: these are all button-down regular clothing long sleeve shirts. I'm not familiar with the ones marketed specifically for riding.
        ... and Patrick


        • #5
          Love my Kastels. I think I have one in every color they make -- except anything orange. I have a few other brands, too, and like them all. I hate being hot, sweaty and sunburnt.

          Pretty easy care, too. Cold water wash, hang to dry for most. Use Oxyclean or similar if you get horse slobber on your shirt.


          • #6
            I manage quite the lovely farmers tan every year without any specialty fabrics. I've never managed to tan or burn through anything. I just go for something that is lightweight and cleans up good.
            "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."


            • #7
              Originally posted by Palm Beach View Post
              I manage quite the lovely farmers tan every year without any specialty fabrics. I've never managed to tan or burn through anything. I just go for something that is lightweight and cleans up good.

              I go for light weigh 100% cotton tops, long sleeve if needed (made in India, not China, it's lighter and cooler).
              I don't like synthetic fabrics, they make me sweat more and I don't like the feel.
              Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!


              • #8
                I love them and wear one everyday.. I ride for a living as well and am allergic to sunscreen

                Personal favorite is Ariat... I find them the coolest and actually get chilly in them.

                Kastel I find to clingy a fabric which when wet with sweat makes me warm.

                Also have ovation which I didn’t care for but holds up really well.

                Havent tried ones made outside the horse industry. But with Ariat being my favorite and the cheapest at just around 50$ and sales available... haven’t felt the need to try yet.


                • #9
                  Your specific application matters some. Some of the sunshirts are really nice for riding, but terrible for any kind of barn chores, because they are very snaggy. So you can ride, but I wouldn't go near hay or weeds in one.

                  My favorite all purpose sunshirts are the dryflylite ones from ExOfficio. I buy them a bit large, but they come in colors, are sturdy, and are attractive. They're perfect for a day at the fair and I've worn them to the office too. They're expensive so I am kind of protective of when I use them (not for really nasty jobs) but as a woven material they do pretty well, and they're well vented. I find them comfortable on really hot days as well as cool days, and on the hottest hot days, you can soak them in the sink and put them back on and ahh. They have pockets too.

                  I have a range of other shirts, and I have and like the Kastel Denmark as well as the Rompfh shirts. These are both knits. I really really prefer not-white for every day, so that's a factor in my choices. They are often designed to be clingy so if you don't like that, order a size up... which can be hard because all of these shirts seem to run small. I am a very averaged sized women and at least one of my shirts is an extra large even though I'm a medium in say Land's End polos. Some of the clingy shirts have a mesh material for the underside of your arms and side vents which is definitely cooling, but again makes the fabric a little delicate. The zip collars sometimes aren't super comfortable if the zipper is stiff.

                  These shirts don't absorb water so I never put mine in the dryer; just hang them to dry.

                  I definitely prefer sunshirts to sunscreen. Haunt the sales in the fall and give them a try - I was skeptical and used to be an all-cotton girl but I think they are worth it. The right ones are cooler than cotton. Unfortunately the good ones tend to be expensive. The important thing to know is that there are different ones, so just because you tried one and didn't like it doesn't mean they are all terrible.
                  If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


                  • #10
                    100% worth it. Ariat is my favorite for value and style, Kastel is also very high quality and bonus - good sleeve length for long-armed folks. I tried on five or six other brands as well and quite a few were good quality but sizing/fit didn’t work for me. I have worn them around the barn/show all day but cannot speak to how they hold up to daily chores. The synthetic fabric does hold some stink, but I would be stinky either way. I do usually wash them in warm water (instructions say cold) to get them fresh smelling. Haven’t had a particular problem with staining, I use oxyclean on just about everything.


                    • #11
                      I like long sleeve polyester blouses with a collar. Kim Rogers Signature and Alfred Dunner for example. I want the thinnest material possible with a tight weave. I have burned right through my white cotton show shirt, so thin cotton doesn't work as well as thin polyester.

                      The tighter the weave, the better. I like bright colors that show up if I'm riding during hunting season. Bright reds especially.

                      Darker colors tend to absorb more UV than lighter colors, including whites and pastels, but bright colors such as red can also substantially absorb UV rays.3 The more vivid the color, the greater the protection; a bright yellow shirt is more protective than a pale one. But even a pale fabric can offer good protection if the weave, material, weight, etc. are effective at keeping out UV. And many white fabrics have “optical whitening agents,” chemical compounds that strongly absorb UVR, especially UVA.1,2


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Showbizz View Post
                        Do you like them? In the past, I've heard mixed reviews. Which brands do you prefer?

                        I ride for a living. Shirt must be wash and wear and look professional. Prefer one resistent to staining, because horses are dirty
                        LOVE them. My favourite is my Kastel one, but I also like the durability / washability of my Ariat ones.
                        Have a couple of cheaper Tempo ones and am curious to see how they hold up.


                        • #13
                          I've become a convert to sunscreen shirts. In my mid-50s, I have developed all sorts of icky brown spots on my arms, from those youthful years out in the sun sans sunscreen and enjoying the "healthy" tan. Plus I now faithfully put sunscreen on my face and wear a hat (having had several precancerous spots frozen off in recent years) , and sunglasses (yeah, eye damage from sun glare "because I hate wearing anything on my face". Dumb dumb dumb)

                          I have several Coolibar shirts. Fairly pricey, but look for coupons online.


                          • #14
                            I have the Rompf, Tailored Sportsman and Cool Blast brands.

                            I think the Rompf may be the coolest, but they all work well. The TS is softer and silkier than the others- which in a way makes it a little more delicate but also more comfortable. The Cool Blasts have used and abused for years and other than some fading, they've held up well with no tears or stains.


                            • #15
                              I live in Texas and don't have a covered arena at my barn. I always wear sun shirts. Kastel is my favorite by far. I've have some that are several years old and still look great. I also prefer the fabric and think it's the most cooling. I also like Asmar when I can find them on sale. Both have sleeves long enough for my long arms which I love.
                              A blonde & her hunter:


                              • #16
                                I am see-through pale and have been trying to manage in Florida for 2.5 years. This is my third summer here and putting sunscreen on every 30 minutes has gotten real old,and also I've already gotten burnt twice this spring/summer even though I'm putting on constant sunscreen. Sun is not my friend, but I wasn’t used to the heat yet enough to try being active in long sleeves.
                                Idk if I am more susceptible to heat stroke or allergic to the sun or what, but my whole life I’ve always had small almost-fainting spells after doing anything active in the sun. It can be the same temperature and humidity in the shade (indoor arena) and I’m totally fine, but if am the sun, I usually have to sit down for 5-10 minutes immediately after I get off my horse or I’ll faint. I’ll power through a quick hose off, put her in a stall, and lay on the concrete until it passes.
                                Anyway, I finally bought some cooling shirts to try this week, they were like $10 on Amazon. They’re Hanes a cool dri or something. Pretty thick fabric with UPF 50. Haven’t really noticed an extreme cooling effect, but I’m also not any hotter than in a tank top. I didn’t feel faint after my lesson in the middle of the day this past Friday, so that’s a win.
                                Last edited by mmeqcenter; Jun. 17, 2019, 01:58 PM.
                                Custom tack racks!


                                • #17
                                  No specific brand, but I've found that going up a size makes a lot of shirts much nicer. I like the tailored look, but long sleeves and not 'clingy'. Anything that has a stretch in it, too hot and sticky. So the classic cotton t-shirt one or two! sizes too big is so much cooler than a tank in the correct size that clings. The 'old lady' style button blouses and professional shirts are much better than the ones that rely on spandex for shaping, you can go bigger with a cut and pieced shirt and still look good and be cool!
                                  I hate the sun....pale as pale, redhead here!


                                  • #18
                                    After spending years curating a closet of dry fit short sleeve workout shirts for schooling, I now ride exclusively in sun shirts.

                                    The Horze brand is the cheapest I've found on sale but is pretty heavy. Ariat is slightly boxier in cut so I think it probably keeps me the coolest. Kastels feel like a kiss from heaven, are so flattering, and make me want to cry because I feel stupid paying $$$ for a schooling shirt. While not a sunshirt I have a few tops by noble outfitter that are very flattering so I'm eyeing their shirts as well. My dream is that someone will come out with a $20-30 top. It isn't crazy technology so aside from the equestrian branding, there is no reason that it should be more expensive than a Target workout top.

                                    I've spent a ton of time looking at non-equestrian sun shirts but ultimately passed. As a very petite person, I fear that even the XS will look boxy and shapeless. My goal is to wear the most fitted top possible while still being flattering. When I look more like a marshmallow than a dressage rider in the winter it is easy to get sloppy with my upper body so I need the summer bootcamp.


                                    • #19
                                      Dislike Ariat and Kastel but I wear EIS to work in, and San Soleil to judge in
                                      "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"


                                      • #20
                                        I have Ariat, Kastel and San Soleil. For my middle aged body I like the Ariats the best for being less clingy. I think the San Soleil shirts are not as cool feeling than the Ariat or Kastel.