Rash Guard

AKA: sun shirt, rashy, rashie

How to say it: rash gahrd

Traditional Features: 

Rash Guard

  • made from lycra type fabrics
  • tight-fitting
  • can be sleeveless, short-sleeved or long-sleeved
  • crew neckline
  • flatlock seams
  • 6 panel construction

21st Century Rash Guards

In the 21st century the rash guard has officially become a fashion item. Traditionally fashion roused brands have branched out into the rash guard arena, often including them, in various styles and prints, in their seasonal swimwear offerings.

J.Crew Lands End

J.Crew, Lands End

ROXY Trina Turk

ROXY, Trina Turk


…of the style: Rash guards or ‘rashies’, were invented for surfers in Australia. Created to protect the surfer’s torsos from chaffing that occurred when skin came in contact with the coarse, waxy surfaces of the surfboard, and to provide sun protection, I couldn’t find a date as to when the rashie was first released but I can remember having one in the 90s so they have been around for at least that long.

Made from lycra, and tight-fitting to allow ease of movement and comfort when wet, the rash guard was a perfect option for surfers who wanted protection from the elements in the Australian climate that was often too hot for a traditional wetsuit.

While the rash guard was initially designed for surfers, the style has crossed into many different sports that benefit from chaffing protection combined with ease of movement and sun protection, eg. beach volleyball, rugby, snorkelling, free diving etc. In the 21st century, the rash guard has left the realm of surfing and sports and become part of mainstream fashion with many high street and designer brands now including trend inspired rash guards as part of their seasonal swimwear offerings.

…of the name: The name comes from the fact that the garment is designed to protect the wearer from rashes caused by abrasions and sunburn when spending a long time in the water and sun.

Random Facts

  • despite the fact that people have been wearing rash guards for years (I had one in the late 90s) fashion brand J.Crew claimed to have invented the rash guard in 2014.

For more info on      try  or the Fairchild’s Dictionary of Fashion

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