Summer can be pretty brutal. Especially if you have to ride the NYC metro, ride in a car without AC or how about when someone plans an outdoor wedding in the middle of July (why?). Finding clothes that feel and look good while trying to stay cool can be difficult.
To help you break out of the mold while beating the heat, we’ve collected tips for achieving both style and comfort this summer.
1. Go for natural, lightweight fabrics.
Keyword: Natural. Not all materials are created equal. Just because it feels weightless does not mean that it will keep you cool. Think about wearing a trashbag in 90 degree weather — the suffocating feeling you just imagined is what it feels like to wear a polyester top in the dead of summer. Synthetic fibers tend to be water-repellent and will trap heat and sweat.
Natural fibers are comfortable, breathable, better at soaking up moisture from the skin, and they dry faster. Materials like cotton, linen and even lightweight wool are great options for your summer wardrobe. Plus, they tend to be more durable.
2. Light colors only.
Dark colors absorb light so wearing a black top in the sun is like waving a red flag in front of a bull — you’re just asking for it. Save those dark colors for fall and opt for light colored outfits instead as they will reflect light to help keep you cool.
3. The breathability scale.
In addition to choosing the right fabric, there are a few other ways to ensure a breathable outfit.
Putting off laundry during the summer is a bad idea unless you have an endless supply of clean clothes. That shirt you wore yesterday now has dirt, sweat, skin cells, and cosmetics weaved into the fibers making it less airy.
However, over washing isn’t always easy on fabrics so be sure to use a gentle cycle and if you can, line dry — you’ll save energy and enjoy the benefits of that toasty sunshine.
Avoid wearing flimsy fabrics. Structured and/or textured fabrics keep clothes from clinging to your body and help maintain the breathability factor.
Avoid jackets, skirts, and dresses with a liner. Your outer garment might be made with natural fibers and feel lightweight, but they can often be lined with a synthetic liner that will trump any hope of staying cool.
It’s worth investing in a solid summer wardrobe, and with these guidelines, you’re guaranteed to get through the next two months alive.