I get asked this question frequently from my customers. So often in fact, that I almost exclusively make clothes that are great for summers.
The best clothes for summers are of slightly loose fitting and made with natural fibers such as cotton or linen. These fabrics are both breathable and moisture absorbing, which helps keep you cool.
The only exception to this would be active wear. Active wear typically requires a good fit (not skin tight but also not very loose) made with moisture drying (moisture wicking) fabric. That is why Nylon, for example, can be good for the gym or for playing outdoor sports, as it has moisture wicking properties.
Important: Please note that throughout the article I will talk about general fabric characteristics. The same fabric type comes in many different qualities and blends which can completely change the characteristics of a fabric.
What makes cotton or linen so great for hot weather?
Cotton can absorb 25% of its weight in moisture, which is slightly more than 20% for linen. This makes them perfect for hot and humid weather to absorb perspiration and keep you comfortable.
Also, both cotton and linen are breathable fabrics. This means clothing made from them, allows air to move through it which is important to regulate and cool your body temperature.
Which is better - Cotton or Linen?
In general cotton is lighter and softer than linen. Though linen tends to get softer over time with washing.
Both cotton and linen are durable fabrics but Linen is more durable and can last for many many years.
Cotton is also typically less expensive than Linen. This is because the processing of Linen is a more difficult and expensive process.
Linen wrinkles quite easily. So it may not work very well in a professional set up. Therefore Linen works well for casual wear. Cotton is suitable in both cases.
Both cotton and linen are good at absorbing moisture. However cotton can cling to your body with too much moisture, while linen does not.
In my opinion both are great options for summer clothing. Cotton is a bit better overall, especially for office wear. Linen however, should be favored if you anticipate a lot of sweat and want to reduce the chance of the fabric sticking to your body.
What about other natural fabrics like silk?
Silk is a luxurious fabric. Extremely soft to touch and very lightweight. It also absorbs moisture. However, silk gets damaged in sunlight. So not that great for hot summer days.
What styles or fit works best for summers?
Air circulation helps body heat escape. So any loose clothing style will keep you cooler than a style with a tighter fit. A dress will keep you cooler in summers than a pair of trousers. But sunlight also plays a role. Direct sunlight can heat you up. A long dress or skirt made with linen for example can keep you cooler than wearing shorts.
Colors can also make a difference. With brighter colors reflecting more light and heat and helping you stay cool. But I wouldn’t worry too much about this if you like something that is a darker shade, as other factors are more important.
If you need to wear a blazer to work, then it should be unlined. Blazers are usually lined with a fabric that traps heat. Go with unlined blazers in summers.
Other quick tips for beating the summer heat
Hats do protect from sunlight but they also prevent heat from escaping. A solution would be a straw hat which does allow some heat to escape.
A handkerchief in your pocket can be a big help in summers.
A scarf is also a good option and you can soak it in cold water before you put it on.
Lightweight or minimal accessories also helps in staying cool.
My design philosophy at Label Raasleela
I truly believe that clothes need to be both comfortable and stylish. Especially daily wear, but even in formal gatherings or events (with only a few exceptions). With the right fabric, style and fit, you don’t need to compromise on either, unlike what some might want you to believe. I am also against the “fast fashion” culture. It destroys the environment but is also much more expensive for you as a consumer. Corporations use cheap, low quality, man made fabrics that fade or lose their shape quickly. So you have to keep buying new clothes to look good.
Of course, with some natural fabrics and natural dyes, you do have to take care of them and be careful with washing. Its not always the case that you can throw all of them in the washing machine together and forget about it. However, it only takes a little bit of effort to learn. Unfortunately, I have to recommend “dry clean only” on some of my designs because I cannot personally explain to every customer how to take care of their clothes the right way. But you don’t necessarily need to do that. Feel free to ask me after or before purchase on how you can take care of your clothes made with natural fabrics and dyes.
I use 100% natural cotton in all my clothing. Some designs, as an exception, use a cotton and silk blend which gives a different fall and look but still keeps you very comfortable.
We also make every piece on order. You can choose the standard sizes but we offer the option to customize the sizing for free on every order. Clothes that fit, look good and keep you comfortable. We also make all our clothes with big margins. So you can make adjustments to the size with the help of a local tailoring service, if needed. You don’t need to throw clothes away if your size changes a little bit.
I hope this guide was helpful and will help you stay stylish and comfortable in summers. Please do share your thoughts or feedback in the comments. You can also reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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