So the temperature can reach about 40ºC (107ºF) in the Summer on the Sunshine Coast, and for those of us without an air conditioner, the temptation to throw on a pair of shorts and a sleeveless shirt is quite powerful. Unfortunately, that’s not an outfit that you can leave the house in (unless you’re going to the beach); so the question is: How do you look good, and still avoid heat stroke?
tl;dnr: Light colours, natural material (cotton, linen, silk), and lightweight fabrics.
This is pretty obvious. The lighter and thinner the fabric, the easier it will be for air to circulate; and the more air that flows, the cooler you will be.
When looking for summer clothing, try them on first so that you will be able to actually tell the weight of the fabric before buying.
Synthetics Are The Enemy
Unless it’s specifically designed for activewear, synthetics like polyester and rayon are generally no good in summer clothing. The plastic-like fibers will trap sweat beneath the clothing, making you hot, and humid. Instead, stick with natural fibers like cotton, silk, and linen; they act as a wick for sweat, sucking it from your body and allowing it to evaporate, which is what cools you.
Dark colours absorb sunlight better, and therefore create more heat. Light colours reflect sunlight, and keep you cooler.
Fabric Pros and Cons
- Lightweight and breathable
- Dries quickly
- Unique and memorable
- Expensive to manufacture
- Can be difficult to find
- Creases and wrinkles easily
- Less durable than cotton and wool
- Cheap, easy to find
- Light (in the right weave)
- Durable, and easy to maintain
- Absorbs and retains sweat easier than wool or linen
- Can lose it’s shape and droop in humid heat
- Neatest and dressiest fabric
- More breathable and faster drying than cotton
- Smoother drape and cleaner lines than linen
- Heavier than linen or cotton
- Can be difficult to find in lighter weights
- Smooth and comfortable
- Can be much lighter than other fabrics
- Holds colours well
- Fragile, difficult to maintain
- Retains moisture