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What’s the Difference Between a Rash Guard and a Loose Fit Swim Shirt?

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When Solartex began selling sun protective clothing and UV swimwear in 1998, we went straight to the Australian innovators who first designed and manufactured this UV apparel. These companies created sun protective clothing by copying the design of the surfer rash guard shirts. Rash guards were designed as tight fitting surf shirts, worn by surfers to protect their chests from surfboard or boogie board rashes…hence the name! The rash shirts were designed to be skin tight so that they wouldn’t float up or get in the way of surfing activities like bulky, wet t-shirts. The bright colors made the wearer easy to spot and the fabric was breathable, quick drying and stretchy. Plus, the rash guards provided just a little bit of extra warmth in the water. These shirts often had flat lock stitching and large logos. There were also one-piece surf suits. So the first sun protection clothing and swim shirts adopted this style and parents loved the bright colors because their kids were easy to spot, the kids loved the cool surfer style and everyone loved the sun protection.

As more Americans discovered sun protective swimwear, many folks were confused by the skin tight rashguard sizing and style. Consumers wanted looser styles that fit like t-shirts but still had the quick drying, stretchy, breathable, sun protective fabric. Now some swim shirts can be found in a loose fit style. When shopping for a UV protection swim shirt, it is important to distinguish whether the item is a traditional tight fitting rash guard or a newer style relaxed fit swim shirt. If you are purchasing a tight fit rash guard shirt, and want to wear it loosely, you can go up a size or two. If you are buying a relaxed style, you should choose your current size. If you find the sizing confusing, be sure to consult the sizing charts or contact the seller with any question

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