How to brave hot summers in style
Phew! Now it’s heating up, you’re probably wondering about the seasonal hot topic: what are the best fabrics for hot weather climates?
We’re here to reveal the very best options when it comes to summer fabrics – so you don’t have to get hot under the collar about it.
“Working is bad enough in the winter, but in the summer it can become completely intolerable. Stuck in airless offices, every fibre of our being seems to cry out for freedom.
Tom Hodgkinson, British writer
What if we told you working through summer didn’t have to be intolerable with our run down of the best, breathable summer shirts?
Cotton gets our vote as being one of the best fabrics for very hot weather. It’s soft and lightweight, while also soaking up sweat, which means the heat can escape from your body. If you tend to sweat a lot during the summer months, light coloured cotton could show up sweat marks so opt for a darker toned shirt.
Linen shirts are another great option during the hottest months. It is light and loosely woven so allows heat to escape the body; it also absorbs a lot of moisture and dries quickly, keeping you cool and dry. Linen does tend to wrinkle more quickly than other fabrics but it can look great as a more casual option if you’re having a fairly quiet day at work.
Thirdly, you could invest in a silk summer shirt. Silk is a popular fabric throughout the summertime due to its weightlessness. However, it’s worth being mindful of sweat stains on a super-warm day as it can mark easily.
When it comes to silhouettes for your shirt fabric of choice, the men’s short-sleeved shirt deserves a permanent place on your smart casual list. Shorter sleeves keep you adequately aerated so no unsightly sweat patches will ruin your carefully considered outfit.
Hot weather trousers
“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees … I had the familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald, American novelist
If your wardrobe needs to begin over again as summer hits, we’ve got you covered with the best fabrics for heat-appropriate trousers so you can treat yourself to some fresh ones.
Let’s start with the worst. You’ll probably want to avoid wool as it’s incredibly warm. It creates a natural insulation so if you’re already going to be boiling by 10am, you probably don’t want any extra help. Save water-resistant, strong wool for the rain and colder seasons. (If you do choose a wool summer trouser though, select a lightweight yarn that’s not going to weigh you down or bring on the heat exhaustion.)
We’d advise looking to poplin, linen and mixed cloths. Cotton can lack the elegance of linen and wool but you could go for a cotton mix (say with cashmere), to achieve your desired finish.
Chinos in a cotton/linen fabric can be stylish for summer plans (but remember they’re probably too informal for a super-important board meeting). When you need to go formal, you’ll want more crease resistance.
“Because a little bit of summer is what the whole year is about.”
John Mayer, American singer-songwriter
That’s the spirit, John. And of course when summer strikes, you’re going to want to whip that summer jacket off quicker than you can say ‘sweat patch’ but sometimes the occasion calls for a full suited look.
When this is the case, our top summer jacket cloths include cotton, linen (when you can get away with a modern, lived-in look) and lightweight wool.
You should choose an open weave such as hopsack. While an open weave doesn’t work for summer trousers (it can lose shape much more easily and suffer from seam slippage), it works well for your seasonal jacket. A high-twist yarn can also mitigate some of the looseness of the weave.
So, there you have it: our ultimate guide to the best summer fabrics for your shirt, trousers and jacket work ensembles. Now, pass the iced tea!
Author: Gary Sweeney