How to stay cool and stylish in the heat

As the dog days of summer blanket the area with heat and humidity, choosing clothing that provides breathability, sun protection and comfort  puts the fun back in our summertime activities. The keys to comfort and safety in extreme temperatures include understanding how to dress in the hot weather and knowing what heat friendly materials to wear.

Breathable fabrics allow air to circulate through clothing, whereas artificial fabrics trap heat and sweat, causing overheating.  Finer threads, looser weaves and more porous materials all induce air circulation and feel light on the skin.  A winning textile formula combines a good fabric and a good weave. The best way to determine the lightness and breathability of a weave is to hold it up to the light and examine its transparency. The more light that passes through the fabric, the more breathable it is.

Color selection and fit also play a critical role in summertime dressing. Braving the heat in black and other dark colors invites perspiration, whereas wearing light hues reflect the sun and keep you much cooler. Clothing should always contour the body rather than bind it.  Avoid tight fitting garments, especially snug pants, tightly cinched waist bands and thick foundation garments.

The top hot weather fabric options  include linen, cotton, silk, and certain synthetics.  Linen deserves its reputation as the most light-weight and breathable fabric.  Some shy away from this hot weather staple because it wrinkles easily.  Cotton comes in a variety of summer weaves including poplin, seersucker, madras and gauze.  Poplin has tiny dimples and air pockets making it breathable and faster drying than a flat weave. The popularity of seersucker suits in the South is proof of its lightness.  Madras is a loose weave, best known for its distinctive plaid pattern. British soldiers wore gauze, another loose weave, in the tropics.

Silk combines elegance and lightness in one fabric, and it feels smooth and cool on the skin.  On the other hand, silk is pricier than cotton and requires more care. Because certain synthetic fibers do an excellent job of wicking away moisture and circulating air, they are ideal for active wear and sportswear apparel. Since not all synthetics and synthetic blends have the same beneficial properties, always test a garment for comfort and coolness before heading out in the elements.

Effective hot weather management also requires adequate sun protection. In addition to sunscreen, smart clothing options, such as long sleeve shirts, long skirts, pants and dresses, shield individuals from harmful rays. Simple accessories, like sunglasses and hats provide critical cooling protection to the face and eyes.

One can enjoy both style and comfort this summer in these hot weather fashion picks for men and women, available at Greenville retailers:

  1. Southern Tide Awenda stretch cotton tailored shirt in seaside colors for $99.50  Available at Rush Wilson Ltd.
  2. Santiki artful batik maxi dress at Mast General Store for $49.99
  3. LinQ brand soft, comfortable tops worn by Eva Longoria and Jessica Alba at SavVy.


Ideal top for a hot summer day










LinQ designs available at SavVy in Greenville, SC















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