The Fabrics That'll Keep You Cool Through Summer (Sweat Doesn't Stand A Chance)

Summer is here! That means finding cool clothing, both literally and figuratively. Believe it or not, there are ways to dress for the summer that doesn't involve an excessive amount of sweat or leave stains in the armpits of your favorite tops. When it comes to lighter, cooling clothing, we're likely to gravitate toward colors like white, beige, and pastels — but there are actual materials that can help us achieve a no-sweat day. While you've likely prepared for the summer heat by identifying an effective moisturizing strategy or using the summer solstice to chase your desires, you may not have thought to switch up your go-to fabrics. Don't worry — we're here for you.


To tie things back to science, lighter colors are more capable of reflecting off light, while darker colors tend to absorb the heat molecules and make us feel sweatier, per Yale Climate Connections. In addition, the fit and styling of clothes can also impact how heat is preserved by the body, which is why tighter clothes feel extremely uncomfortable in humid weather. If you want to achieve the best sweat-free fashion this summer though, pay attention to what fabrics you're wearing. Regardless of your personal style, there are some hot-weather fabrics that will keep you looking and feeling cool.

Silk everything for indoor events

When it comes to a galore of benefits, silk is everything. From non-damaging hair accessories to anti-breakage nail hacks, silk is a sustainable material whose sole purpose is to gently and effectively keep us feeling comfortable in the hot weather. If you're lounging around the house or going to a friend's birthday celebration, silk might be your best bet for staying cool without sacrificing fashion. Rather than opting for a polyester or synthetic shirt, silk materials will maintain your body's natural homeostasis while making you feel weightless.


On the other hand, outdoor events under the sun may not be appropriate for silk, since its gentle formula is prone to sweat stains and body-hugging tendencies. If you're set on a loose and silky look for the summer, try focusing on silk materials in dresses, skirts, or slips, where a tight fit isn't likely. We want to make sure you're looking and feeling your best in silk clothing, and that means avoiding items that closely touch your armpit area. You can also prevent these sweat stains by wearing an undershirt, armpit patches, or using an aluminum-free deodorant.

Cotton tops and pants

The most versatile material for the summer will never change — cotton. With its loose and comfortable fit, cotton allows the body to circulate without perspiring or weighing you down. It's also one of the most popular materials used for summer clothing, so you won't have to hop from store to store to hunt for the perfect summer wardrobe. According to Elle UK's fashion editor Daisy Murray, the versatility of cotton offers a number of outfits that are great for the summer, with an emphasis on lighter shades rather than dark.


"Dresses in cotton poplin create a more polished feel," she explained, a cotton material that doesn't crease as easily, offering a more sophisticated look. On the other hand, "a great organic cotton T-shirt can take you anywhere from brunch with a denim skirt to the office with some wide-leg trousers." The diversity of cotton allows you to change your look from day to night without compromising on comfort, leaving you with a stunning and effortless look that everyone will be asking about.

Linen for the win!

Did you know that linen is the most cooling fabric? According to professor of fiber science Jintu Fan, "Linen is a comfortable material for summer because of its high moisture absorptivity and relative stiffness," he explained to Vogue. "The former property absorbs sweat and the latter property makes it detached from human skin, creating spaces between human body and clothing for ventilative cooling." Since linen allows the body to breathe in a way most materials have yet to achieve, it's no surprise that summer is known as linen season.


It's been debated whether linen can truly be worn stylishly, but there are ways to make it work for you in a flattering yet comfortable way. For example, a v-neck linen dress can be styled with a waist belt and accessorizing jewelry; you won't have to worry about length either, since linen is entirely cooling regardless. Other styling options also include going full monochrome, layering with other cooling materials, and pairing it with sneakers, loafers, or other clothing-neutral shoes.

If not cotton or linen, then chambray

Similar to cotton, chambray is a product of similar materials with a plain-weave fabric. While it's often confused with denim because of its common shade of blue, chambray has a higher thread count that makes it lighter to wear on humid summer days. Unlike denim, it's easy to wear without sweating while still giving off a denim-adjacent look. If you're going for a breathable fabric, chambray might be the perfect match for you.


Some styling options include swapping out your fall and winter jeans for a chambray pant, giving you a close match to your favorite light-wash denim. Many modern clothing stores also carry unique styles of chambray, like a button-up tank top from American Eagle, drawstring wide-leg pants from Nordstrom, or a flowery v-neck dress from Dillard's. Regardless of which style(s) you choose, most chambray items are loose and shape-shifting to support all your long summer days.

Micromodal fabrics

You may never have heard about our last summer favorite, but it's more chic than you could ever imagine. Micromodal fabrics are created from a rayon base — another material that's great for the summer, per Sewport. Although the fabric is semi-synthetic, it offers a supple and weightless feel that's similar to cotton with a mixture of linen and silk. Much like silk, it's predominantly used for delicate or undergarment clothing, but there are soft modal shirts and dresses that offer both loose and tight fittings.


If you're spending most of your summer outdoors and in humid areas, micromodal clothing is a great option thanks to its moisture-vaporizing fabric. It's also much easier to wash, dry, and generally maintain than fabrics like cotton, linen, and silk, leaving you with a comfortable look that you're not afraid to toss in the laundry machine.

Even though you've prepared for and survived summer for years now, taking a second look at the fabrics you've been rocking might be helpful in the long run. We want you to enjoy the next few months without fear of sweat or stickiness, and these materials will help you feel easy and breezy.