5 Cooling fabrics – what are the best materials to keep you cool in summer?
From cotton and silk to bamboo and even wool, these fabrics will make the summer heat more bearable – and they will make you look gorgeous at the same time.
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We might not have the best weather in the world, but when the sun comes out it really can get sweltering. But with such a plethora of fashions on the high-street, how can you make sure you’re buying the right clothes to keep you comfortable through the summer?
How to care for cooling fabrics?
As a rule, natural fabrics are more breathable and comfortable than synthetic materials, as well as being better for the environment. And as the heat can make your skin more sensitive, especially if you’re sweating, you’ll want to use technology from a detergent that is dermatologically tested and hypoallergenic, such as Fairy Non Bio.
Washing clothes at cool temperatures helps to keep colours bright, whites white and delicates in good condition. Why not try Fairy Non Bio Washing Gel Wash? This works even at cold temperatures, to keep clothes looking vibrant. With its new technology, it can tackle dirt and stains effectively, leaving your favourite clothes feeling delightfully soft on your skin.
5 best materials to wear in summer
Whether you’re soaking up the sun in your local park or taking shady refuge in a pavement café in Spain, here are our top five natural fabrics for you to wear in the summer
1. Summer cotton fabric
The number one for summer, there’s nothing like a soft cotton T-shirt, a flowing cotton skirt or light chambray denim to keep you feeling fresh and cool. It’s naturally breathable and easy to wash. To keep your cotton sheets smelling fresh and clean, try using a gentle detergent, and remember – sunlight and fresh air can help remove any lingering odours!
Broderie anglaise (the pretty lace-like patterns cut and embroidered into edges of the fabric) creates natural ventilation, and textures like seersucker keep it from clinging to the skin. If you can, look out for organic or sustainable cotton from the likes of H&M, M&S and Gap.
2. Cool linen
Chic, stylish and oh-so-cool, linen is probably the most comfortable of summer fabrics – but it can get creased easily, so a blend with cotton might be better.
Because the fabric has more structure, it stands away from the body naturally and works brilliantly in tailoring, soft, oversized shirts or as classic wide-legged palazzo pants worn with wedges on warm summer evenings. Cool linen actually keeps you cool!
3. Flowing silk
This luxurious fabric naturally adjusts to your body temperature, so it’s great in summer and winter. But for hot weather it makes sense to go for a lighter version, such as chiffon, jersey, crepe or a delicate blend with cotton, because a dense washed silk will show up any sweat patches, especially in brightly coloured items. For eveningwear when the heat drops, a flowing chiffon or silk-jersey maxi-dress is an absolute must.
4. Bamboo and lyocell
A super-sustainable crop, bamboo fabric has huge benefits in the summer: it’s not only breathable but also protects against UV rays.
However do try to buy the lyocell bamboo, which is produced using fewer chemicals. Other methods can use toxic chemicals that not only remain in the fabric but also go into the water system where they’re manufactured.
The same goes for non-bamboo lyocell, viscose and modal – and also check they’re FSC-certified, to make sure the wood isn’t coming from irreplaceable rainforest.
5. Stylish wool
Yes, you read that right! You might think wool is just for winter, but the qualities that make it keep you warm mean it also keeps you cool in summer.
Super-fine merino wool can be as light as cotton, is breathable, moisture-absorbing, antimicrobial (so it won’t smell), and offers UV protection. That’s why athletes use merino wool so often.
It’s especially good for summer tailoring – it’s often the synthetic linings that make suit jackets feel so hot, so go for a relaxed, unlined style. And thanks to technology, it can be machine-washed at a cool temperature.
What are the worst fabrics for hot weather?
Some fabrics are simply better suited for hot weather than others. Check out what fabrics you should avoid when temperatures start rising. The following will not keep you cool!
PolyesterPolyester is a synthetic fabric that doesn't breathe well. That means it will trap heat and moisture against your skin, making you feel hot and sticky.
Like polyester, nylon is a synthetic fabric that doesn't allow your skin to breathe. Plus, nylon is often used in tight-fitting clothing, which can make you even hotter. Another no go.
LycraLycra is a stretchy fabric that is often used in athletic clothing. However, it is also very hot and uncomfortable in warm weather. So, when you’re starting to feel the heat, let go of your lycra clothing items and start wearing something cooler!
WoolWool is a great fabric for cold weather, but it's definitely not ideal for hot weather. Wool is thick and heavy, which makes it trapping heat and causing you to sweat. So, avoid it!