What To Wear When You Have A Sunburn That Makes Most Clothing Unbearable

It may not officially be summer yet, but the beach has been calling my name ever since temperatures have steadily been on the rise — which, much to my dismay, has lead to having to figure out what to wear when you have a sunburn. Ugh. It didn’t take much to convince my boyfriend to head down the shore this weekend when weather.com promised partly cloudy skies and a satisfying 75 degrees. We figured we’d lay out for a bit then hit the Seaside arcade. What we didn’t figure into the equation was the high chance of sunburn that was apparently in our forecast.

Let me just preface my story by saying I came prepared. I packed an SPF 70 sunscreen spray that I applied once the shorts and tee shirt over my bikini came off. I sprayed myself thoroughly once again after an hour and a half of back and forth between lying out and a few sad attempts to get at least knee deep into the water. I am an Irish, Czech and Danish young woman whose pale skin refuses to tan but welcomes a roasting with open arms, therefore I know the drill and take precautions. Unfortunately this time around, my attempt to follow protocol was not enough to protect my skin, as illustrated below.

Look how happy we look. How naive we were. I hadn’t passed by a mirror since stopping in the ladies room before head off to the boardwalk, and I couldn't really see my iPhone's screen in the sunlight. It was only when we got back to the car Mark said, “Um, you got sunburned,” running his hand across his own collarbone and neck. I quickly pulled down the mirror and saw the damage. This was going to suck.

Two days later and my sunburn is still very much making itself known. Alas, life goes on, and unfortunately you aren't generally encouraged to lie around naked, covered in aloe vera gel in public. I had to find some clothes that didn't make it feel like someone was stabbing me with a billion tiny needles.

Have no fear, friends, for I have found ways to cope with this killer sunburn catastrophe, and am here to pass my wisdom along to you. After much painful trial and error, here are my top five go-to pieces to wear when I've been sunburned to a crisp and still have to be an active citizen.

1. Maxi Skirt

Forever 21 Classic Fold-Over Maxi Skirt, $15, Forever 21

Maxi skirts will allow you to move freely and still look like you put a solid amount of effort into your ensemble. No one has to know your legs resemble cherry popsicles.

2. Soffe Shorts

Soffe Dri Mesh Insert Knit Short, $11, Soffe

If you've only been cheek-burnt, the key is to wear shorts that are soft to sit on. The soft elastic waistband helps out with any above-the-bikini burns as well.

3. Yoga Pants/Capris

PINK Bootcut Yoga Pant, $36, Victoria's Secret

PINK Ultimate Yoga Crop Leggings, $55, Victoria's Secret

Loose yoga pants and capris only! The last thing you need is denim to your uncomfortable areas.

4. Cotton Button Down

Theory Cotton Lawn Enoda TS Blouse, $180, Shopbop

If you've been hit on the shoulders, collarbone, stomach, etc. a cotton button down is the way to go. It's easy to get on and off, plus it's soft against your skin.

5. Shift Dress

Medallion Print Sheath Dress, $11, Forever 21

Life in Progress Wrap Belt Chambray Dress, $25, Forever 21

Sleeve length will obviously depend on where your sunburn is; just make sure areas of discomfort are covered so that they are protected from further sun exposure. Good luck out there, fellow pale people.

Images: Maggie Brauer/Flickr; Courtesy Brands