Sun-Safe Styling

Gulf Coast local Virginia Reeder bridges the gap between summer fashion and sun protection with her new swim and activewear line.

Photos by Ashley Kickliter / Styling by Liz Damrich / Makeup by James Edwards

Summertime balance comes more naturally to some situations than others. Juggling a beach bag, towel and a fruity cocktail as you hit the sandy shores? No problem. What about managing fun in the sun with skin protection — and making it all look fashionable? That may be more of a challenge. “It was always a little bit of a struggle for me,” says Mobile dermatologist Virginia Reeder. Finding clothing that covered for adequate protection while still looking cute for frequent summer family trips to Dauphin Island or lake vacations to her husband’s hometown in north Alabama proved to be almost impossible for the fashion-forward Gulf Coast gal. “I want to wear something sun protective, but I don’t necessarily want to be walking around in a bag,” she says. “When you go out, you want to feel good about yourself,” she says. This idea led her to create the sun-safe fashion brand Lolima.

Her profession armed Reeder with extensive knowledge of skin health. “I do skin checks on a day-to-day basis, and I find a lot of skin cancers,” she says. “I also work with people on a lot of anti-aging strategies. The sun is really a big part of what ages us and is the number-one factor in the development of skin cancer.” However, she didn’t know how to start creating sun-protective products herself. So, she made a few Google searches: “How do you design swimwear? How can you manufacture swimsuits?” These queries led her to a New York-based company, Fabric to Finish, that allowed her to begin her company without having to buy a plane ticket or ever leave the Mobile Bay area. “I found you could hire them to help you with the drawings and the tech packs, the samples, seeing things on the model and getting the fabric, all of that,” she says. After the initial consulting call, she dove in, enlisting the help of her intellectual property lawyer neighbors, Alexa and Hunter Adams, to establish an LLC and trademark. Then came the tricky part: finding a business name that wasn’t already in use. “It took me a few weeks, but I came up with the idea of using my children’s names — their middle names are Louise, Lindon and Margaret — so just using the first two letters of their names,” she says. Thus, Lolima was born. 

Two years of work led to the launch of Lolima in March, finally fulfilling Reeder’s dream of keeping customers protected while looking chic in swim and athleticwear. Now she feels cute and covered while sitting by the pool or outdoors during family Nova Espresso breakfasts on the weekend. The line’s lightweight fabric, sporting mix-and-match patterns in a coastal blue color scheme, is tailor-made to protect the skin. “There is a similar rating to SPF for fabrics called UPF,” says Reeder. “The highest rating you can market is UPF 50+. And we have that rating.” For comparison, Reeder says when a white T-shirt — a clothing item commonly worn at the beach — is tested, it reaches a UPF rating of around a seven, meaning it’s letting a lot of light through the material. “UPF, opposed to SPF, blocks all light,” says Reeder. “Really none of the sunscreens on the market protect against all visible light. Now, I’m a huge advocate for sunscreen and I’m not saying you shouldn’t wear it, but as more people are interested in health and wellness and skin health, it’s becoming apparent that physically protecting the skin is superior.” 

Left Reilly Sharp is wearing the Evelyn Long-Sleeved Zip-Front Top and Helen Brief in Dark Navy Blue. Hair by Cameron Bush. Above Mary Glenn McElveen is wearing the Mary Top, Dottie Sleeveless Zip-Front Top and Helen Brief in Light Blue. Hair by Kamdyn Fairley.

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Lolima showcases a range of coverage, sizes and styles just right for the pool, beach, pickleball court and running errands. Special attention is paid to protecting the forgotten areas of the body, with a few tops featuring removable neck collars and shoulder ruffles for increased coverage. At the end of the day, Reeder hopes her line can help bridge the gap between fashion and skin health. “It’s all about options,” she says. “We just need more options.”

Reeder’s favorite sunscreens for a Mobile Bay summer

Staying sun protected doesn’t mean spending the summertime indoors. In addition to wearing UPF clothing, Virginia shares a few of her go-to sunscreens that are perfect for sunny days on the Bay (and don’t forget to apply on those cloudy days, too!).

1. Sunshine, face fine
Made to combat sun rays and shiny skin, this powder is the answer to reapplying sunscreen over your makeup. A built-in brush makes application a breeze — just toss it in your beach bag and both your look and skin are sure to stay protected all day!

2. Love your lips

Lips don’t get a lot of love in the sunscreen department. This lip gloss features an SPF of 35 and a range of colors, making a protected pout a swipe away.

Colorescience Lip Shine SPF 35, $42

3. One and done
This long-lasting sunscreen brand provides great options for both kids and adults, minimizing applications and maximizing summer fun.

EltaMD UV Pure Broad-Spectrum SPF 47, $36

EltaMD UV Sheer Broad-Spectrum SPF 50+, $35

4. Summer prime(r) time
Prime your pores and shield your skin all with one product featuring broad spectrum sun protection with a matte finish.

TIZO3 Facial Primer Tinted, $45

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