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Update Spring 2020: By request, I’m adding a few more shirts I’ve tried since this article came out!
Sun’s out! Sun (for me) means sun shirts! There are SO many different versions on the market, it’s hard to know which product to buy. Well let me help you out! Here’s our showdown review of TEN different brands: Tailored Sportsman, Kerrits, Kastel Denmark, EquiInStyle, Noble Outfitters, It’s A Haggerty’s and CoolBlast Solitare by Dover, CoolBlast by Dover, CoolBlast Dots by Dover, and RJ Classics Ella Sun Shirt. Notes: I machine wash all on Cold and hang to dry.
CoolBlast Lots of Dots by Dover Shirt: $69.95
Dover sure does have a lot of versions of their sunshirts! This one stands out because the fabric is EXTRA soft. I mean…cuddly pjs soft. So luxurious… I love it. And the polka dots are adorable. And it comes in gorgeous seasonal colors. I look forward to every launch of this shirt! It has a metallic zipper that lays flat and doesn’t bulge. It is very lightweight and cool. Like the others, it is long sleeved, quarter zip with mesh under arm panels.
Style wise they are adorable (but I love polka dots). I think they are nice and flattering on, These are sized accurately, and I didn’t need to size up!
Quality is great. I’ve had no issues with these holding up to hard wear. No staining, no fading in the wash…I mean…these are really great. They may just be my favorite sun shirt out there!
The price is reasonable and you can very often find them on sale.
Tailored Sportsman IceFil shirt: $65
The Tailored Sportsman IceFil Shirt has a couple of big things going for it. The vast array of color choices makes this one #1 for style in my book. While a totally different hand feel than the Kastel shirts, this fabric is also fabulously soft. Instead of feeling slick, it feels buttery. The fabric is simply ultra soft and ultra comfy. I wasn’t sure I’d like the heavier weight to the fabric, but I honestly don’t notice it a bit and the fabric does a fabulous job of keeping you cool. It uses IceFil fabric (so does Kerrits) to keep you cool on hot days. I find it does a fantastic job of that and I don’t feel overheated when I wear mine at all. It’s become my favorite sun shirt actually.
Like the others on the list, it’s long sleeved, 1/4 zip and has mesh underarm panels to help for breath-ability and cooling. These shirts have a 50+ UV rating, which is fabulous!
The sizing on these is similar to the Kastel’s and Noble Outfitter shirts, the shirts are slim, so if you want it a bit looser, size up. If you don’t mind trim and slim, keep your normal size. The fit is slim and not boxy. The fabric is a bit clingy, so this shirt isn’t going to do you any favors if you have some belly chub, but the fabric is so soft…who cares honestly. I go for comfort in the saddle over looks any day. I’m no supermodel.
This fabric dries FAST. The fastest of all of them except the Kerrits. When I pull them out of the washer, it is always dry on the line fastest (the Kerrits is also IceFil and dries as quickly). I have not had a problem with it staining or snagging yet, and it always looks new after a wash. There’s no zipper problems like there are with Kastel shirts. I think the durability on these is quite good, but I’ve only had it about 4 months, so I’m going to knock it down from a perfect 10 to a 9.5 because I don’t know how durable it’s going to be.
The price on this shirt is excellent for what you’re getting. Comfort-check. Quality-check. Cooling-check. Sun protection-check. Style – check. That’s what I call value.
RJ Classics Ella Sun Shirt – $69
This is probably the cutest shirt we are reviewing. As the others this is a quarter zip, long sleeve shirt with mesh under arm panels. This fabric is super lightweight and drapes nicely (aka not super clingy) so I find them very flattering.
The fabric is cooling and breathable and has a UPF 30 rating, which is much appreciated (note…the mesh panels over the shoulders are NOT UPF rated and sun will get through those…so be aware). This shirt comes in a number of colors (with new designs regularly) and you can almost always find the older designs on sale. The VERY cute contrast mesh designs is really eye catching and adds quite a bit of style to the otherwise fairly dull standard sunshirt! The colors are lovely as well and always interesting.
They are sized correctly, so no need to size up. Yay!
Quality is good except for one thing…the fabric stains REALLY easily (the mint green one is stained badly after only a few wears). There has been no fading of the fabric from washing or the sun, which I appreciate.
I absolutely love these shirts and will keep buying them, but I will probably steer clear of the really light ones because of staining.
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 30+ rating, which is much appreciated. It is light weight and has antimicrobial 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 normal size.
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 is a bit too high. I wouldn’t consider it any higher quality than the best shirts on this list, but it’s significantly higher in price.
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 slim. So you might want 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 an excellent. I only wish there were more color options (and maybe some more of the lace mesh underarms on other colors).
Kerrits IceFil Shirt: $59
Like the other sun shirts, this shirt was designed to lower your body temp when you’re sweating and it does it in a pretty utilitarian way. This shirt lacks some of the style of the others, but it does a great job keeping you cool while you ride (or work around the barn). This shirt has a quarter zip, is long sleeve, but lacks the underarm mesh panels the rest of the shirts I’m comparing have. The entire shirt is mesh-like…so that makes sense. The fabric is quite strange compared with the other shirts on this list. The fabric is very lightweight, but almost feels like that mesh they line men’s athletic shorts with…if you know what I mean. It’s not the prettiest fabric, and doesn’t have the best feel…but it gets the job done. It does only have UPF 30+ so it gets a little knock there for a lower rating.
Style wise the Kerrits shirt is a bit boring with limited colors available. The shirt does have a side pocket, which I have never found particularly useful, but maybe someone will like that. They also come with a stock tie loop in case you want to show in one (please don’t…do yourself a favor and go buy a Sarm Hippique show shirt instead).
The fit is quite loose and relaxed and you do not need to size up, in fact you might want to size down if you like a sleeker look.
This fabric dries very fast. The fastest of all of them except the Tailored Sportsman. I have not had a problem with it staining or snagging and don’t expect to. I think the durability on these is fairly good, but the material feels cheap.
The price on this shirt is good for what you’re getting, but it just doesn’t feel quite as luxurious or stylish as some of the others. It’s a good sun shirt though and I’m quite comfortable in it so I have to give it a pretty solid score.
CoolBlast by Dover Shirt: $69.95
Dover sure does have a lot of versions of their sunshirts! This one I think is the “standard” one. It has a metallic zipper (but not a pretty diamond thing like the Solitaire version. This version also has a very different fabric than the Solitaire that I feel is more similar to the Noble or Kastel fabric (kinda in between…not as thick as Noble and not as flimsy as the Kastel. It’s actually a nice balance. It’s not super soft, but it is lightweight and cool. Like the others, it is long sleeved, quarter zip with mesh under arm panels.
Style wise they are pretty cute, with different pretty color choices every season. I think they are fairly flattering on, no worse than many, but better than some. These are sized accurately, and I didn’t need to size up!
Quality is okay. I like the zipper (no bulging and always lays flat), the fabric doesn’t seem to hold stains, however the stitching in both wrists has come loose (both shirts), so the sewing quality isn’t excellent. They have not faded in the wash at all.
The price is reasonable and you can very often find them on sale.
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 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 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. 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 great. I’ve never had a problem finding one in a color I love.
The price on these isn’t terrible, but is a bit higher than I think they warrant for their lower UPF and lower quality/ability to hold up). I often by these shirts on major discount since their colors change pretty regularly.
CoolBlast by Dover Solitaire Shirt: $64.95
This shirt is made of a bit stiffer fabric than the others, 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 (it feels a bit stiff even), but performs very well and is very lightweight. 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 quite 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).
The price is reasonable and you can very often find them on sale.
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 a lot of fading and piling 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 customization is to fabric, not to the fit. They do not change the pattern for fit (sorry!).
The price 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.