It’s a scorcher outside this weekend, and even though summer is supposed to be wrapping up…it’s obvious it is here to stay for a while. Summer means sun. Sun means sun shirts! There are SO many different versions on the market, it’s hard to know which product to buy. Well let Decidedly Equestrian help you out. Here’s our showdown review of FIVE different brands: Kastel Denmark, EquiInStyle, Noble Outfitters, It’s A Haggerty’s and CoolBlast by Dover. Notes: I machine wash all of these brands on Cold and hang to dry.
Kastel Denmark Charlotte Signature 1/4 Zip Long Sleeve: $75
The Kastel Denmark Charlotte has one big thing going for it that the other shirts do not. This one big thing overrides the material’s clingy and unflattering nature, the big ugly logos, the lower UPF and the tendency to snag and stain. What could possibly override all of that? The fabric is SOOOOO SOFT. I’m talking rolling around on silk sheets in bed soft. Because of this one feature, I find myself reaching for these shirts more often than the others…even though I cannot possibly rate them as high.
These shirts are quarter zip, long sleeve shirts with mesh underarm panels (like the others on the list). This material only has 30 UPF compared to the higher value on a couple of others. The fabric is breathable and lightweight, but not quite as breathable as some of the others. It’s clingy nature makes it sometimes feel a bit too hot when you’re actually sweating. There is some built in odor reduction to the fabric, which is helpful.
Quality…well the fabric has a tendency to stain a bit and is easy to pull and get runs in. Some of the zippers also tend to start laying a bit weird after washing. I don’t expect these to last as long as the EIS shirts or the Noble shirts.
The fit is quite boxy and the sizing isn’t always consistent (I think it’s because I’ve managed to get some men’s shirts mixed up in my ladies sizing…). Because the fabric is clingy and the sizing isn’t generous, most people find that they need to order a size up to feel comfortable. They’re honestly not very flattering if you have any lumps and bumps, or if you like to size up because you don’t like close fitting fabric. Color choice-wise…these are the best. I’ve never had a problem finding one in a color I love.
The price on these isn’t terrible. I think they’d be smart to bring their pricing down just a bit, but it is what it is. I often find these shirts on major discount since their colors change pretty regularly. Color choice-wise…these are the best. I’ve never had a problem finding one in a color I love.
EquiInStyle Cool Shirt: $ 86 – $98
This is the most expensive shirt we’re looking at in this post. As the others this is a quarter zip, long sleeve shirt with mesh under arm panels. This technical fabric might be my favorite of the bunch for comfort, but it has one big flaw.
For the positives, the fabric is cooling and breathable and has a big UPF 50+ rating, which is much appreciated. It is light weight and has anti-microbal odor control technology too. The fabric is a bit similar to the Kastel shirts, but is a bit more crisp and less body clinging. Because of that the fabric isn’t as soft…but it’s much more flattering.
The cut of the shirt is fairly boxy, but a little more tailored than the Kastel shirts are and so they’re quite a bit more flattering. They come in a number of colors, so finding something you like won’t be hard.
They are sized correctly, so you can order your size (and it won’t be too tight).
Quality is good except for one thing…the fabric stains really easily. The black and white one I have was pretty bad almost immediately. It washes fine and still looks good (though I feel there’s been a hair of fading). It dries pretty quickly, but it’s not the fastest of the bunch or the slowest.
If not for the price, I’d have given it a 9…but the price point for what you’re getting is a bit too high. I wouldn’t consider it any higher quality than the Noble shirt, but it’s significantly higher in price.
Noble Outfitters Ashley Performance Shirt : $64.95
Just like everything else from Noble, you can expect quality and attention to detail. This fabric is by far the sturdiest of the bunch and expect these shirts to last longer than the other brands. While a bit heavier in weight, the fabric still wicks away sweat nicely, dries fast and offers a huge UPF 50+! As with the others, it’s a long sleeve quarter zip with mesh under arms. These are my very favorite wrist design. I know that sounds weird, but the others all have a fairly narrow wristband (which I tend to push up my arms because they’re not tight enough and get caught on things). This shirt has nice wide cuffs that are form fitting and stay in place. I don’t push these up…so I get more sun protection.
It separates a bit from the rest of the back with its design and fit. This shirt has flat seaming, which adds to the comfort as well as an additional stretch mesh back panel to add even more cooling to this shirt. The cut of the shirt is super flattering on the female form and has lovely princess seams (no boxy fit here). There’s also flashy reflective logos and the lace detail mesh on the green shirt is super special.
Fit is spot on. No need to size up!
Quality is spectacular. No catching the fabric and getting runs here! It also resists staining better than any of the other shirts. As I mentioned before, I think I’ll have these for years! They’re washing and wearing like iron. They dry pretty quickly, but are not the fastest or slowest.
The price is spot on perfect. For what you pay, this is certainly the best shirt. I only wish there were more color options (and maybe some more of the lace mesh underarms on other colors).
It’s A Haggerty’s Sun Shirt: $60 – $65
This particular shirt lacks some of the technical aspects of the other sun shirts. It is a quarter zip shirt with long sleeves and mesh underarm panels just like the other shirts, but the similarities end there. I have two shirts from It’s A Haggerty’s and the material is totally different between the two of them. One is a heavier polyester feeling shirt and the other is a thin cotton blend material (which I love). There is no technical fabric with moisture wicking, UPF added coverage, scent control, etc.
On the other hand…these shirts are custom! Any color combination under the rainbow…you’ve got it! Oh and there are some pretty fabulous prints to choose from here. So while these shirts may lack in tech fabrics, they make up for in style. If you can get your hands on one with the cotton fabric, that is much more comfortable in the hot weather. She may have some other fabric types to choose from, but that’s just my opinion based on the two fabrics I have.
As to fit, they fit the smallest of the bunch so size up (or maybe two sizes up)! They are a very trim pattern, vs a boxier type pattern on some of the other shirts.
Quality is lower than many of the other sun shirt brands, however I’ve had no issues with staining, fabric pulls or stitching coming out. The sewing just isn’t the same caliber as a large scale machine sewn shirt. The floral material isn’t holding up super well to washing as with most cotton blends and there’s been some fading and pilling of the fabric. The seams also aren’t super crisp and well done, so it can look a bit sloppy at times if you don’t really make sure the shirt dries flat. They are the slowest drying shirts of the bunch.
There can be a bit of a long lead time on these if you’re getting something custom. Note the customizations are to fabric, not to the fit. They do not change the pattern for fit (sorry!).
The price point is reasonable for something custom, but for their off the rack sun shirts, the price is a bit high for not using technical fabrics that make you more comfortable.
CoolBlast by Dover Solitaire Shirt: $64.95
This shirt is made of a bit stiffer fabric than the Kastel, Noble Outfitters, and EIS shirts, but has the same general design as all. Long sleeved, quarter zip with mesh under arm panels. The fabric isn’t as soft as some of the others, but performs very well and is very lightweight. Almost more lightweight than the softer fabrics that cling. It does help cool you down on hot days. I am not sure what the UPF rating is on these, but the other lines of CoolBlast have ratings, so I’m sure this had included sun protection as well.
Style wise it’s a bit dull, with only three rather conservative color choices. The stiffer collar and the less clinging fabric are actually quite flattering on, even if the cut is a bit more boxy.
These are sized accurately, and I didn’t need to size up!
Quality seems pretty average, not great but not terrible. It is holding up well to washing so far, but the color is so light, I’m not sure it would show fading either way. It cleans up easily and doesn’t hold stains as much as some of the others (I polished my boots in it, and it still came clean with just a little stain remover). It is the fastest drying shirt of the bunch.
The price point is reasonable and you can very often find them on sale.