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9 Cute, Useful Pieces of Insect-Repellent Clothing to Buy Now — Before Summer Bug Season

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Summer’s here and I’m ready to head outdoors — to hike, attend music festivals, and ride a bike around. I definitely plan to sit on a few porches and simply appreciate the green leaves and sunshine. What I don’t look forward to are the blood-thirsty mosquitoes and the exasperating nearly-invisible gnats that aim right for my ears when I’m trying to enjoy the long days. Don’t even get me started with my fear of ticks. (I’ve gotten them on me but never in my skin, and I’m always reading up on how to remove a tick in case the worst happens.)

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Because #technology there are now things like a Scent-Free Mosquito Repellent Device and because I’m a child of the last century, I still occasionally use a spray with DEET. (I have type-O blood, which is apparently one of the ways to make mosquitoes love you.) But now I also know that you can buy clothing treated with an insecticide called permethrin that’s a big turnoff for bugs. The Centers for Disease Control explains that a solution of .5 percent permethrin can be safely used to treat clothing plus gear such as camping tents. The odorless insecticide’s effects will even last through washings. (Not forever, but usually for about 70 washes, which definitely takes you through the summer.) Here are 9 pieces of insect-repellent clothing, all treated with permethrin, that look cute and can provide a sort of forcefield around you that will make bugs very afraid.

  • LL Bean Women’s No Fly Zone Long-Sleeve Shirt

    Image Credit: LL Bean.

    Look cute at a group BBQ or family picnic with a classic plaid shirt that happens to be both UPF 50+ and treated with permethrin. The sleeves can be worn up or down and it comes in regular, petite, and plus sizes. I particularly like that it’s on the long side.

    LL Bean Women’s No Fly Zone Long-Sleeve Shirt$99.00
    Buy now

  • Hadley Wren Women’s Lightweight Summer Insect Shield Scarf

    Image Credit: Hadley Wren.

    Attending a wedding, graduation, or other shindig that will be out in the open air? Hedge your bets by bringing along this lightweight scarf which you can drape over your shoulders if you worry a bunch of bugs might join the party. It’s a polyester/cotton blend treated with permethrin and it comes in some 30 colors and styles.

    Hadley Wren Women’s Lightweight Summer Insect Shield Scarf$22.50on
    Buy now

  • Buff CoolNet UV+ Insect Shield Headwrap

    Image Credit: Buff CoolNet.

    If you’ll be doing something more active, like hiking or gardening, this permethrin-treated buff is popular with the REI crowd for keeping bugs away from your ears and eyes. It’s a one-size garment that comes in five colors and though many women wear it like a giant headband, you can also pull it down around your neck if the no-see-ums are bothering you there.

    Buff CoolNet UV+ Insect Shield Headwrap$29.00
    Buy now

  • Insect Shield Women’s Essential Leggings

    Image Credit: Insect Shield.

    Finding pants that fit is always a challenge, and needing ones that are insect-repellent further narrows your possibilities. These cotton/spandex leggings just launched in the spring of 2023 and offer the forgiving stretch of leggings, available in five sizes, along with permethrin protection to keep bugs at bay.

    Insect Shield Women’s Essential Leggings$36.00on
    Buy now

  • Insect Shield Hoodie

    Image Credit: LL Bean.

    Easy days in the country are made even more relaxing with this hoodie, which you can pull up around your head if you hear a buzz. The sleeves have those cute thumbholes, too, so you can keep your hands covered up to your fingertips.

    Insect Shield Hoodie$50.00
    Buy now

  • BodyForge & InsectGuard Baseball Cap

    Image Credit: BodyForge.

    It’s very Succession to have a dark cap with no logo like this cool topper. It’s adjustable, so one size fits most, and it will help keep the sun out of your eyes and the bugs out of your face.

    BodyForge & InsectGuard Baseball Cap$21.00on
    Buy now

  • Insect Shield Lightweight Hiking Walking Socks

    Image Credit: Insect Shield.

    Another must for those of us who use summertime to enjoy walks through a meadow or the woods: hiking socks that repel bugs. I like that these also have cushioning along your foot and ankle in case your sneakers or hiking boots are not giving you enough love.

    Insect Shield Lightweight Hiking Walking Socks$13.00on
    Buy now

  • Outdoor Research Bugout Brim Hat

    Image Credit: REI.

    If you want to pull off more of an explorer vibe, this is your hat — it’s got UPF 50+ protection in addition to the bug repellant. If you wear it for water adventures (for me, that doesn’t get any crazier than paddling a kayak) you can trust that it will float if it accidentally goes overboard.

    Outdoor Research Bugout Brim Hat$49.00
    Buy now

  • Women’s No Fly Zone Zip-Off Pants

    Image Credit: LL Bean.

    If you want real pants with a button and shape, this sporty pair does all the things: Transitions into shorts, protects you from the sun with SunSmart fabric and shields you from bugs with permethrin. They dry fast, too, in case you get caught in a sunshower or use them to wade into water. 

    Women’s No Fly Zone Zip-Off Pants$99.00
    Buy now

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