How to dress stylishly while keeping cool in hot weather - the best clothing and apparel choices for hot weather

How to dress stylishly while keeping cool in hot weather - the best clothing and apparel choices for hot weather

Style doesn’t have to be thrown out the window just because it’s hot and you want to wear the least amount of clothing permittable by law. There are various ways to keep cool, and protected, without sacrificing your sense of fashion.

Our body maintains a cool temperature by carrying heat away via perspiration. Good circulation around the body permits air flow, allowing heat and moisture to escape. At the same time, we must remember that clothing offers our body protection from the Sun's harmful rays. Below are various ways to balance your choice in apparel in order to remain cool during the hottest of summer days.

Choose the right fabric


A Maxi Dress can keep the body cooler than shorts and a tight tank top
Most importantly, choose the right fabric for warm weather. Opt for lightweight breathable fabrics such as cotton or linen if you don’t want your clothes to stick to your body. Even lightweight wool is great for hot weather. Natural fibers such as cotton and linen dry faster letting the evaporation pull heat away from the body. However, don’t discount synthetic fibers entirely. Some new synthetic fibers are excellent for performance wear and can be cleverly incorporated into apparel pieces to enhance breathability.


Avoid heavy fabrics that cling to the skin and trap heat and sweat. How can you tell if a fabric is too heavy? Hold it up to the light. If you can see through, it’s lightweight and good for hot weather. Finally, avoid materials that are not breathable such as polyester, nylon, silk, and rayon. In addition to stifling your body with heat and increasing uncomfortable perspiration, some of these materials demonstrate oddities when wet. For instance, silk takes on an unusual rippling appearance when exposed to sweat (and also stains when wet).

Choose the right color

Basic science class taught us that light colors reflect light while darker colors absorb light, and hence make you feel hotter. To keep cool, look for pastels or lighter colors such as white, beige, and gray. Avoid dark colors or colors such as blue, purple, or emerald which trap light and make you feel hotter.

Choose the right type of clothing

It should go without saying that to remain cool in hotter weather, you should choose shorts or skirts over long pants. Similarly, choose short sleeve or sleeveless tops over long sleeves. You should also avoid clothing with heavy embellishments (e.g., beads, metals) that weigh the clothes down. If you decide to wear longer cuts for protection against the sun's harmful rays, make sure the fabric is lightweight and breathable.

Choose the right cut

Finally, make sure you pay attention to the cut of the clothing you choose to wear in hot weather. Tight clothing constrains the body and traps body heat while loose clothing provides much-needed ventilation and allows your body to breathe. The less fabric you have touching your body, the more comfortable you will feel. This is why a flowing maxi dress feels cooler than shorts and a tight tank top. Openings in apparel play a part in heat retention too. Loose openings allow trapped heat to escape, especially important around the waist, arms, and legs. Draped tops, relaxed shorts, and A-line cuts with loose fits on the arms, chest, and waist work wonderfully to help keep the body cool.

How to stay stylish while remaining cool

You’ve chosen the correct fabric, color, type, and cut of clothing for your summer outing – how do you ensure you’re still looking your best? Accessorize! And the best accessories to supplement your hot-weather look are the ones that help provide relief from the heat.


Lightweight fabric, loose clothing, open shoulders, small bag, and sunglasses
Sunglasses draw attention from your clothing to your face. Bright colored frames enhance the effect. As an added bonus, quality sunglasses also provide UV protection from the sun. Brimmed hats also help keep you cool by shading the body from the sun’s rays. However, as with clothing, summer hats should be breathable or the heat escaping your body through the top of your head will be trapped and make you feel hotter. Look for hats made of cotton or woven materials. Your choice of shoes for summer fashion is often overlooked. Breathable shoes made from materials such as canvas or cotton will let the feet breathe as will open-toe shoes. Avoid non-breathable shoe materials such as leather, rubber, or synthetics.


Bonus tips for hot-weather dress

  • Wear an unlined bralette instead of a padded bra.
  • Make sure your clothing is unlined.
  • Layer your look with open-weave knits to allow breeze to flow through.
  • Skip the heavy backpack or tote bag that must be carried against the body. Opt for a smaller bag or a handbag.
  • Keep a lightweight, woven scarf with you that you can drape over your head or shoulders when protection from the sun is needed.
  • Tie up your hair with a scarf. Better yet, soak it in water before putting on.
  • Cut down on the jewelry. They trap sweat, reflect more light onto your body, absorb heat, and weigh down your clothes causing them to stick to your body.
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