The best natural summer fabrics to keep you cool in the sun

From cotton and silk to bamboo and even wool, these fabrics will make your summer more bearable – and look gorgeous at the same time.

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?

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 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, while making sensitive skin happy too.

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 summer.

Crisp cotton

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.

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.

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.

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, a flowing chiffon or silk-jersey maxi-dress is an absolute must.

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.

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 it can be machine-washed at a cool temperature. You can use Fairy Non Bio Washing Gel to keep it as soft and smooth as new.

What are your favourite summer fabrics, and how do you keep them in great condition? Let us know in the comments box below.