What are summer clothes made of ? Cooling, light and everything nice (fabrics).
With global warming reaching unprecedented levels all over the world, temperatures are going to soar even higher in already hot places and the question on best summer fabrics takes on a special importance to many people. So now, more than ever, people want to know the kind of fabrics that will help them beat the heat other than tender coconut water, water melon slices, plenty of showers and an umbrella.
Here is a list of light, and breathable fabrics which will make one feel cool (or as much as possible) and comfortable in the sweltering heat of summer weather.
The rules for summer wear are common sense – wear loose clothes preferably in light colors. Dark colors do not show sweat stains but they attract heat and retains them and make you feel more hot.
But if it is hot and windy it is better to wear loose flowy black clothes.
And then these theories are all proclaimed nonsense in this study which says the color do not matter at all. According to this article the cooling happens by convection – “either through a bellows action, as the robes flow in the wind, or by a chimney sort of effect, as air rises between robe and skin”.
If you are directly under the sun, wear clothes that cover as much skin as possible but if not, wear clothes that cover the minimum – say shorts, tank tops, short summer dresses- all loose and airy in the fabrics given below. (You can recall the long flowy robes of men and women in Arab countries like Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar and Bahrain)
Cotton and other natural fabrics are above par as summer fabrics – there is no dispute about that but when you are in a situation where you will sweat a lot ( due to humidity or extreme hot weather) look for alternatives that will wick the sweat moisture away from the body. Sweat laden clothes can make you feel very uncomfortable.
Best summer fabrics for clothes
This is a wonderful lightweight smooth finished cotton with a slight crispy hand available in different brightly prints and colors. If you can get it near you it is the best fabric to make summer dresses for you or your kids. It absorbs moisture right off the body and can make you feel comfortable.
The poplin made with cotton fibers is a favorite for making men’s shirts. The fabric has a nice tight weave and hence very strong and durable and doesn’t wrinkle as much as other cotton fabrics. In suitable weights it can even be made into pants and jackets.
Cotton jersey fabric
Cotton jersey fabric is made by knitting cotton fibers and this gives it a slight stretch. This is the fabric that the t-shirts are made of. It is very comfortable to wear against the body – as you can see from the popularity of 100% cotton jersey t shirts. It can also be made into comfortable tops and dresses.
Stretch cotton jersey fabrics are a blend of cotton and spandex ( 95%-5%) with just enough spandex fibers to give it a little more stretch.
Cotton-viscose or Linen- Viscose
A blend of the viscose with natural fibers like cotton and linen gives this fabric many extra advantages . Rayon is a man made fabric and has many essential qualities needed for summer fabrics incorporated in it – breath ability, lightweight, flowy. It is also very soft and smooth against the body and has a wonderful drape. But some features of the fabric make it less desirable – it is not very absorbent – so sweat can be repelled by the fabric surface and remain on your skin making you feel less than comfortable. Viscose fiber also get very weak as it absorbs moisture.These disadvantages are countered by blending natural fibers with the rayon fibers.
This is a breezy airy fabric with a puckered surface. It is a good summer fabric to make shirts and blouses.
The image of gauze as a bandage fabric sticks – but gauze comes in many qualities – it is available as a super airy summer fabric just right for making lightweight dresses, shirts, blouses. It may be thin to the point of being see through so you may want to wear slips inside. Another disadvantage is that the fabric creases a lot.
This is a lightweight doppelganger of denim fabric- with all the advantages of denim in the looks department as well as functionality. It can look very elegant when made into summer clothes.
Corduroy is a strong thicker fabric suitable for making summer pants and jackets.
This fabric is a natural summer fabric – a fabric that is meant to keep you cool whatever the temperature is. It is the high air permeability of the fabric that gives you the comfort it does.
Special Synthetic fabrics
Though synthetic fabrics like nylon has less than optimal moisture absorption capacities, they have a feature very much desired when you sweat profusely – they wick the moisture away from the body. This makes them the ideal fabrics for occasions when you will be sweating a lot, like out in the sun in the afternoon or exercising.
You can read more about these fabrics here in this post on the best fabric for workout clothes.