Although summer may be coming to a close, the hunt for a good swimsuit never really ends. And if your closet could use a some chic swimwear in time for Labor Day Weekend, you should take a page out of Mindy Kaling’s book. (Not her literal books–in this case, her Instagram account.)
When it comes to trend-setting and elegant styles, the actress, producer, and author extraordinaire is no stranger to gorgeous outfits. From her red carpet looks to everyday outfits, the Never Have I Ever creator seems to have mastered the art of the sophisticated-yet-fun wardrobe. Just scroll through her comment section on Instagram and you’ll find message after message of people asking, “brand?” or “store?” in reference to her clothes, hoping to get some pointers. And this week, it was her bathing suit that really piqued people’s curiosity.
On Sunday, the actress posted a picture of herself wearing a stunning floral long-sleeve swimsuit. To which fans immediately responded with a flood of fire ball emojis and questions about where to swipe the look. The answer is La Doublej, a hip lifestyle brand known for its eye-catching prints and curated Italian-inspired aesthetic. The suit features a high neckline and a cut-out back.
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But it wasn’t just the fab print and fit that caught fans’ attention. Kaling also pointed out the importance of sun-safe clothing in the caption saying, “Sometimes there’s nothing more chic than some good UV protection in your swimsuit. My dermatologist @shereeneidriss would agree.” Although it’s not clear if the suit has UVB protection (the retailer doesn’t include this information, so the fabric may not officially have UVB protection), Kaling’s caption did receive a nod and approval from her dermatologist in the comment section.
While UVB protection is common for facial skin-care products, it’s also something you can find in your clothing. Retailers often will label swimwear and other similar styles with a UPF rating to help give you an idea of how much sun protection you’ll get during your poolside hangout and trip to the beach. For example, if a piece of clothing has a rating of UPF 50, it means that the fabric can block 98 percent of the sun’s rays, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. It’s something that board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon Melanie Palm, MD, says is “a quick and reliable and no-mess way to protect skin during outside and/or water activities.”
“UPF measures the ability of clothing weaves/fibers/fabrics to block UVB exposure to the skin,” says Palm. “It is a great way to protect large areas of the skin. Look for UPF 50 or more as a standard. For extra credit, I still wear sunscreen under my UPF clothing for more complete skin protection.”
At the same time, even if your clothes don’t have UVB protection, they still may provide some defense against the sun’s harsh rays (such as Kaling’s swimsuit). You just have to careful about choosing the right colors, according to Joshua Zeichner, MD, an associate professor of dermatology and the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
“Tight knit, dark colored fabrics are best at protecting you,” says Zeicher. “Light color, loose knits like linen, on the other hand, provide minimal protection. As a test, hold the clothing up to the sun. If you can see the sun through the garment then it is not going to do a good job at protecting your skin.”
And if you’re looking for a rash guard or long-sleeved swimsuit, we’ve already rounded up some our favorites.