It seems like everyone is looking for a way to enjoy the summer heat and stay comfortable at the same time. Fortunately, there are fabrics out there that can keep you from overheating during hot summer days.
So, what are the best cooling fabrics? Fabrics that can have a cooling effect on your skin include silk or performance fabric for athletic wear. You can also use some classic summer fabric options like cotton or linen that allow your skin to breathe in the summer heat.
In this article, let’s take a look at the seven best types of cooling fabrics for summer clothing, their pros and cons, and how you can use them to make beautiful summer outfits.
Fabrics That Says Cool In Heat
During warm summer days, there’s nothing better than a silky, cooling fabric that can make you feel weightless and breezy. Silk, rayon, and performance fabrics are some of the candidates that can have a cooling effect on your skin when worn during the summer.
Silk has been a popular fabric choice for thousands of years thanks to its luxurious texture and elegant appearance.
Nowadays, it’s the fabric of choice for those who want a summer fabric with natural temperature-regulating properties since it’s highly breathable and feels cool to the touch. The fabric is lightweight and naturally shiny, which gives it a luxurious feel.
Silk is a protein-based fiber produced from the silk worm’s larvae. Because of this, this type of fabric is naturally hypoallergenic and feels amazingly soft against the skin, which is highly suitable for those with sensitive skin and perfect for hot and humid summer days.
During the summertime, you’ll also enjoy this super absorbent and breathable fabric because it feels light and airy. Silk fabric can also resist odor, which is a huge plus for hot, sweaty summer days.
Although it has a delicate feel, you’ll be surprised to find that silk is a super durable and resilient fabric. It is known as one of the most durable natural fibers, and it can actually last for years with the proper care.
Unfortunately, there are a few cons that also deter people from buying silk for their summer wardrobes.
First of all, silk is notoriously high-maintenance. Silk often requires dry cleaning or hand washing because this type of fabric is quite prone to shrinkage in the washing machine. This type of fabric is also prone to sun damage – the colors can fade easily when exposed to sunlight.
Silk is already quite an expensive fabric, so adding the cost of regular dry-cleaning makes owning silk very costly.
Silk is also a very moisture-absorbent fabric, which is good when you want the fabric to absorb your sweat and wick away odor. However, it’s not great when you accidentally stain the fabric. Silk can absorb the stain quickly, making the stain permanent and difficult to remove.
However, with proper care, silk can be a staple in your summer wardrobe thanks to its lightweight, airy, luxurious feel and its many desirable benefits.
If you are turned off by silk’s high maintenance, then you’ll be glad to know that there’s a more affordable and low-maintenance alternative to silk, which is rayon.
Rayon is made from cellulose sources like wood pulp, bamboo, or beech. To get its softness and shine, the fibers go through an intense process of chemical treatments, which is why rayon is considered a semi-synthetic fabric despite its natural origin.
There are a few types of rayon, classified by their different origins and processing method. Viscose rayon is made from wood pulp, modal fabric is made from beech tree pulp, and lyocell is a low-chemical alternative to modal fabric.
There’s a reason why rayon is dubbed ‘art silk’ – it has many of the same characteristics as silk, but it is more affordable and easier to care for.
Rayon fabric is a popular choice for summer clothing because it is lightweight and breathable, making them comfortable to wear in warm weather. Rayon fabric is also soft and smooth, so it feels great against the skin.
Not only does it feel great, but rayon is also quite fashionable. Rayon fabric has a nice drape, which makes it a good choice for dresses, skirts, and blouses that need to hang nicely on the body.
Rayon fabrics are more absorbent than cotton and other natural fibers. The fabric’s breathability and moisture-absorbent ability make wearing rayon super comfortable during the summertime.
In addition, rayon fabrics don’t wrinkle easily, which makes them ideal for travel bags such as suitcases and overnight bags where you want your clothes to look neat without ironing them every time you reach your destination.
Although rayon is a bit easy to care for compared to silk, you still need to pay a little bit of attention to rayon when washing.
This is because the fibers of the fabric can become quite fragile when it is wet, so hand washing or using the delicate setting in your washing machine is always recommended. You should also wash rayon in cold water and let it air-dry to preserve the fabric’s appearance.
Because rayon is a semi-synthetic fabric that has gone through chemical processing, it’s also not great for people with sensitive skin.
Although skin irritations are rare, you can still get an allergic reaction when wearing rayon. Because of this, rayon is not suitable for children’s clothing.
3. Performance Fabric
Performance fabric is an umbrella term for a whole host of fabrics that are suitable for athletic wear.
They are most commonly made from a mix of polyester and nylon or spandex. This combination makes the fabric highly durable and stretchy, suitable for a whole range of athletic activities.
People assume that polyester and similar types of synthetic fibers are uncomfortable to wear during hot summer days, but that’s not necessarily the case for sportswear.
The reason why nearly every type of sportswear is made from a polyester blend is because of the fabric’s superior ability to wick away moisture and quick-drying ability, which keeps you dry during strenuous physical activities.
In addition, performance fabrics are also lightweight and stretchy to accommodate your body’s movements, so they often feel very airy and comfortable to wear.
Nowadays, you can also find performance fabrics that provide SPF protection, which is a huge win for super active folks who love running and hiking outdoors during the summer.
In addition, performance fabrics are highly durable and wrinkle resistant. They are quite low-maintenance and really simple to care for, so they’re quite a popular choice for lightweight athleisure and activewear.
Of course, 100 percent cotton is a classic staple in any summer wardrobe. This is because cotton is a highly breathable natural fiber that keeps you dry and airy during the warmest and most humid summer days.
Cotton is arguably the most versatile fabric. There are hundreds of varieties of cotton, which have different levels of softness and appearance, which means cotton fabrics are suitable for all sorts of clothing, from everyday basics to high-end designer pieces.
Cotton is a durable and long-lasting material that’s also soft to the touch. This is why it’s such a popular choice for summer clothing: it’s cool and comfortable on your skin but tough enough to withstand years of wear, wash, and dry cycles.
And cotton doesn’t just feel great against your skin—it’s also good for you. Cotton fabric has natural anti-bacterial properties, which makes it naturally resistant to odors.
It can easily absorb moisture off your skin, making it an ideal choice for hot summer days when you’re sweating more than usual.
Cotton also helps maintain a comfortable body temperature. This type of fabric allows heat to escape through its fibers, keeping you cool without trapping excess sweat and heat inside your clothes.
This is why cotton is often used for children’s clothes—it’s easy on sensitive skin and helps fight allergies and other irritations like eczema. And because it can be machine washed, cotton clothing is easy to care for and will stay new without much effort.
There are quite a few types of cotton out there, but the softest and most luxurious types of cotton are Pima cotton and Egyptian cotton, which feels very soft and smooth against your skin. These types of cotton are suitable for making high-end garments as well as bedding.
Of course, there are some disadvantages to cotton that you’ll have to pay attention to. Because cotton fibers are natural, they don’t hold dye really well, which means they fade over time.
When washing cotton fabrics, you may notice some of the dye running in the water, and the fabric may look more faded than it was before. It is best to wash cotton fabrics in cold water and to use color-safe detergents to reduce fading as much as possible.
Cotton wrinkles easily, but you might find that putting them through the dryer after washing also helps to reduce wrinkles. However, keep in mind that cotton can easily shrink in the heat, especially after the first wash.
Before wearing or using something made with cotton for the first time, read the care instructions on your garment and follow them carefully to avoid shrinking it.
If you are sewing with cotton, it’s best to wash the fabric before cutting out your pattern to account for any shrinkage before sewing. In most cases, it’s best to avoid washing your cotton in hot water and use a low-heat dryer setting to avoid any shrinkage.
Linen clothing is a summer staple—it’s lightweight, breathable, and wicks away moisture. Linen textiles have been used for centuries and are prized for their durability and comfort. Linen is made from the flax plant and has many natural benefits that make it ideal for warmer months.
Linen is hypoallergenic, which is great news for people with sensitive skin or allergies. It doesn’t harbor dust mites, mold, or mildew, which can aggravate allergies.
The fiber of flax plants is so strong that linen clothing can last longer than cotton fabrics that are woven similarly. Because linen is so durable, it’s often used for fine linens in the kitchen and home, as well as tablecloths, napkins, and towels that are meant to last.
Because of its durability and strength, linen clothing tends to get softer with each wash instead of breaking down as cotton does.
As a natural fabric, linen is also biodegradable. However, keep in mind that dyed linen can lose this property, which is why you often find linen in its natural colors rather than a dyed color. This is also a reason why there are not a lot of color options for linen out there.
Of course, one big disadvantage of linen is that it’s very prone to wrinkles. Linen clothing can start to wrinkle the moment you put it on, so it’s not suitable for special occasions. However, for a light, breezy summer outfit, linen is a classic option.
Hemp fabric is a new crown prince of sustainable fashion since hemp requires very little water and fertilizer to grow, and the production of this type of fabric has a very low environmental impact compared to other types of natural and synthetic fabrics.
Hemp gets a bad rep because it is often associated with the marijuana plant, but that’s not necessarily true.
As a bast fiber, hemp is made from the stems of various plants such as the cotton plant, flax plant, or jute. This is a natural fabric that enjoys many of the same characteristics as cotton and linen, namely breathability and durability, which is why it is a great option for summer clothing.
Hemp fabric is natural and biodegradable. This means that not only are they eco-friendly, but also that they are easy on your skin and can be worn without any worries about allergies or skin sensitivity.
Hemp is very lightweight, breathable, and anti-bacterial. This makes it perfect for summer clothing as it allows your skin to breathe and prevent skin irritations from bacteria.
Hemp is also naturally UV resistant which means that it protects you from sunburns while still allowing you to enjoy outdoor activities like swimming or surfing all day long without worrying about exposure to harmful rays of the sun.
Hemp textiles are also very durable, so they last longer than even synthetic materials such as nylon or polyester. In addition, hemp is often blended with cotton to add softness as well as strength to the fabric.
However, hemp can come at a hefty price tag, which is usually higher than that of other fabrics such as cotton, linen, or wool. This is because it’s difficult to grow hemp commercially because of low availability and high production costs.
Another disadvantage of using hemp fibers in clothing is that they tend to wrinkle easily, similar to cotton or linen. However, this does give the fabric a classic rustic look suitable for the summertime.
Also, due to the nature of hemp fibers being difficult to dye, most hemp garments come in earthy tones like browns and greens, which might not always appeal to everyone’s taste.
Mesh is a very lightweight and stretchy fabric typically made from a synthetic fiber like polyester or nylon.
Because of its loosely woven structure that creates thousands of tiny holes on the fabric’s surface, the mesh is super breathable despite being synthetic, making it suitable for summer clothing.
Mesh is an excellent choice for athletic wear or summer clothing because it breathes well and feels cooler than many other materials. This might make all the difference between feeling comfortable and overheating when the sun’s rays are beating down on you.
Thanks to mesh’s construction, this fabric is very stretchy and flexible, which makes it ideal for athletic gear such as swimsuits or bike shorts. If you’re looking for items that will give you lots of freedom of movement during your workouts, this is the material for you.
Mesh clothing typically won’t wrinkle, and it’s very easy to care for thanks to the synthetic component, so maintaining the fabric is always a no-brainer.
Of course, you can’t make a complete garment out of just mesh because this fabric is quite see-through. You’ll have to use it in combination with another opaque fabric and use mesh as a design element to add style as well as breathability to the garment.
Since mesh is a synthetic fabric, it can also retain odor if it is not washed right away. This means if you have a mesh bra, underwear, or athletic wear, it’s always best to wash them right after use to prevent odor from accumulating.