5 Tips to finding Clothes that Beat the Heat

The weather these days, if personified, feels very much like a broken compass with a wildly swinging needle. It can rain every morning for one week and be horrifyingly hot the next.

Given this unpredictable weather, it seems like a good time to relook clothing options. Which materials keep you cool and comfortable, allowing your skin to breathe? How can we stay stylish while beating the heat? (Or keeping warm, depending!)

These are questions I had in mind. If they’re yours, too, here are my findings! I hope they’re useful. :)

1) Wear Clothes Made with Breathable Fabrics

For some, those dri-fit shirts we’ve retained from CCA and orientation days are lifesavers.

For me? Not so much. I overheat in them instead if the air-conditioner isn’t hard at work. I avoid them if I can help it.

They’re moisture-wicking and breathable, so shouldn’t they be perfect? Curious, I turned to Google, and as it turns out, they’re best for when you’re out and about under the hot sun or exercising. Dri-fit works best for activities with a medium-top-high level of exertion. If you’re doing something low-intensity or sedentary, like lounging or light housework, dri-fit may not be necessary. You’ll likely sweat less during these activities, so regular cotton shirts suffice and may be more comfortable.

What are other breathable fabrics you can explore?

Try cotton, linen, and bamboo! These fabrics are known for their moisture-wicking properties, allowing perspiration to evaporate quickly. Avoid synthetic materials like polyester and nylon, as they tend to trap heat and moisture — leaving you feeling sticky and uncomfortable.

A quick material primer:

  • Linen

A natural, lightweight, and breathable fabric made from flax plants, linen is a more sustainable and eco-friendly option, as flax requires very little water and chemicals to grow. Linen is very durable and gets softer with washing! The airy fabric is great for both hot and cold weather. However, it wrinkles easily and requires ironing.

  • Cotton

A breathable and moisture-wicking fabric that comes from cotton plants, it lets air circulate, thus keeping you cool and dry. Cotton is easy to care for: it can be machine washed and dried. However, cotton clothes absorb odour and wrinkle easily.

  • Bamboo

Bamboo fabric is made from the bamboo plant. It is lightweight, breathable, moisture-wicking, and antimicrobial. Bamboo fabric is softer, more durable, and easier to care for than cotton. It is pricier, however, and harder to find in stores.

2) Go for Loose and Lightweight Styles

In our hot and humid climate, loose-fitting clothing styles help promote airflow. Flowy dresses, skirts, shorts, and wide-leg pants are excellent choices as they allow air to circulate freely, preventing sweat from clinging to your skin. Avoid tight-fitting clothes that can restrict movement and trap heat, making you feel suffocated.

If you are part of the working class, an oversized blazer may be a good addition to your wardrobe! It’s roomy yet helps you look put together. Maybe an unstructured one made of cotton or linen would work? For women, culotte pants have been growing in popularity.

What if you’re like me and cannot live without long sleeves? There are options! Uniqlo, for example, offers the AIRism series, which blocks UV rays. This series happens to have a long-sleeved shirt turtleneck option! (This is not sponsored, by the way)

3) Light Colours and Prints  

We all know how dark colours absorb more heat than light-coloured clothes. Tough as it may be (it certainly is for me), consider letting your black tops and bottoms take a backseat in favour of lighter shades like whites, pastels, and neutrals.

Here’s an added advantage of sorts that lighter-coloured clothing may provide: the psychological impression that you’re cool even if the temperature is blazing hot. Fake it till you make it, yeah?

Lighter colours also help conceal sweat stains better. Consider adding vibrant prints and patterns into your wardrobe for that very purpose: stylish designs will also help you feel more confident and presentable throughout the day.

4) Don’t Neglect the Footwear 

Our feet sweat too! I tend to forget about footwear, but research has reminded me that footwear made from breathable materials like canvas, mesh, or natural fibres help promote ventilation and reduce moisture buildup.

If you can’t wear open-toed shoes, sandals or sneakers, there are socks and insoles with moisture-wicking properties that you can explore. You could also search for shoes that are less constricting, especially the kinds that allow you to adjust the fit to what suits you best. This way, you’ll feel more comfortable and have to worry less about foot odours.

5) Pick Clothing that has UPF 

Not one for umbrellas? Start packing one in your bag! The best types are the ones with sun protection, usually indicated by UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor). The higher the UPF, the cooler it’ll be under the umbrella! This doesn’t mean you should skip out on the sunscreen, though. You’ll still need that to shield your exposed skin from UV radiation.

Honestly, a nice umbrella also lifts your mood! 

Complement these with clothing with UPF! You can also search for wide-brimmed hats, lightweight scarves, and loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts or dresses that cover your shoulders and arms.

Dressing appropriately for hot and humid weather can make a significant difference in our comfort levels throughout the day.

Remember to prioritize breathable fabrics like cotton and linen, opt for loose-fitting styles, and choose light colours and prints to stay cool and stylish whenever possible! Don’t forget to protect your skin from the sun’s rays and ensure your footwear allows for breathability. By following these guidelines, we’ll be able to beat the heat! Or at least feel less baked and more refreshed. That’s a lot better than nothing.

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