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The Worst Fabrics for Hot Weather (and What to Wear Instead)

We are in the midst of a scorching summer, with temperatures breaking records all over the globe. Now more than ever, sweating is entirely normal and necessary for regulating our body temperature, but it’s not a good look to arrive at work with your shirt already soaked from your morning commute. But more importantly, it is extremely unpleasant to spend the day in wet, sweaty apparel.

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No material can prevent perspiration, but some are superior to others at absorbing excess moisture. Let’s consider how to dress for activities such as commuting, working indoors, running errands, and socializing in the summer, as opposed to exercising (indoors or outdoors), hiking, or spending the day at the shore.

Here are some examples of fabrics that should be avoided in the summer humidity, as well as those that should be worn instead.

Table of Contents

Fabrics that should not be worn during the weather

These materials have excellent qualities, but they are not comfortable to wear in warm weather:

Polyester: Although polyester has improved over the years, it still repels moisture, so it will not absorb your perspiration.

Instead, the moisture will persist on your skin, causing you to perspire more. Avoid at all costs the thicker, entirely impermeable type that was prevalent from the 1950s to the 1970s.

Most forms of rayon, a natural cellulose derived from wood or bamboo pulp (or similar material) and manufactured with chemicals, repel moisture and make you perspiration.

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Check the label, as certain composites (such as rayon linen) are suitable for warm weather.
Acrylic is a synthetic, less expensive alternative to wool that traps heat between the fabric and the epidermis.

Nylon: Designed to repel water, it’s excellent for working out, but it retains odor, can cause chafing, and is not at all breathable, so it’s not a good choice for summer clothing.
Fleece is another synthetic fabric designed to keep you toasty in cold weather.

Satin is a silky, impermeable fabric.
Leather is dense, impermeable, and will make you feel uncomfortably hot. Includes “vegan leather” (also known as vinyl).

conventional wool: Not the newer, lighter variants of wool, but the heavy, itchy variety that becomes even heavier when wet.

The finest summertime fabrics to wear

Everyone has their own preferences, but the majority of experts concur that the following fabrics are the best for summer:

Cotton is a summertime favorite for a reason: it is breathable, moisture-wicking, lightweight, and comfy.
The natural, open weave of linen keeps you comfortable and wicks away moisture. Not only is it more durable than cotton, but it also has more structure, so it will not adhere to your body on hot days.

Jersey is permeable and drapes over the body rather than clinging to it. The finest jersey is made from 100 percent cotton, but a wool-cotton-synthetic blend also works.

Chambray is a lightweight alternative to denim made of finely woven cotton with a high thread count.
Merino wool is silky, light, breathable, and moisture-wicking.

Silk is recommended for its smoothness and lightness, but it should be worn with caution because it puckers and stains readily if you sweat.

Again, the best fabrics for summer depend largely on what you will be doing while donning them.

In other words, if you anticipate a particularly active day, you should dress differently than if you were going to spend the day in an office or on a patio.




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