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While it’s still warm outside, you might be wondering if there are any clothes that can actually keep you cool in the sweltering heat. That’s probably because you’re wearing common fabrics such as cotton and polyester, which don’t offer as much cooling capability as some less abundant fabrics. Stay cool by choosing one of these six breathable fabrics to wear during the summer (and don’t forget about choosing the right shoes too).
Linen is a loosely woven, natural fiber made from flax plants. Since linen is created from vegetable fibers, it is absorbent and dries quickly. These qualities make it an excellent textile to wear in the summer because it allows heat to escape from the body and prevents your clothes from clinging to your skin. However, linen can wrinkle easily – but the good news is that you can avoid wrinkles by opting for a linen-cotton blend instead.
Rayon is a comfortable and breathable material that feels cool to the touch. It’s a semi-synthetic fabric made from purified cellulose fibers, which are typically created from wood pulp. It tends to leave you feeling drier during the summer because it wicks sweat away from the skin. Rayon is often used as a silk alternative, and it’s naturally wrinkle-resistant.
Rayon is usually blended with other textiles like polyester and cotton, so washing instructions for rayon can vary. Your best bet is to handwash rayon clothes and check the care label instructions before putting your rayon fabrics in a washing machine.
Seersucker is a durable cloth invented in India known for its crease-free, smooth, and rough texture. Unlike linen, seersucker is ideal for traveling due to its wrinkle resistance. Additionally, seersucker’s material creates extra pockets of space as the fabric sits off the layer beneath, allowing for increased breathability. Shirts, shorts, blazers, and suits are often made out of seersucker.
Chambray looks similar to denim due to its light blue and white weave appearance. Although denim is usually sturdy and heavy, chambray is lightweight and feels softer.
Chambray is a cotton textile made with two different types of yarn, ordinally light blue in color. You may find spring and summer tops, jumpsuits, and dresses made from chambray. This material softens with every wash cycle and should be washed with cold water and tumble dried on the low setting to avoid shrinkage.
While silk isn’t the most breathable fabric on this list, its lightweight quality makes it a popular choice for hot climates. Silk is a protein-fiber created by silkworms that adjusts to body temperatures when worn. Silk isn’t as absorbent as linen, so wearing silk is best suited for low-intensity activities when outdoors.
Hemp fibers, taken from the plant of the same name, are natural, eco-friendly textiles that come with a unique benefit: natural UV protection. Hemp is water-absorbent and breathable, which allows the textile to cool your body temperature. It’s great if you expect to sweat because its bacteria and mold resistance help to keep it odor-free. Additionally, hemp clothing has a long life cycle and, unlike any other fabric, “wears in” rather than wearing out after each washing.
If you wear one of these lightweight, summer-ready fabrics, you may feel cooler and more at ease since you won’t worry about overheating or getting sweat stains on your clothes. Breathable fabrics like the ones listed above are excellent materials to wear outdoors – and once you get home, they’re comfy indoors too.