Investing in warm weather clothing without sacrificing your comfort is all about selecting the right fabrics. While some, like most synthetics or synthetic blends, can cause you to bake, others like all-cotton and pure linen breathe naturally. They can keep you looking and feeling cool, calm, and collected.
Seersucker is made from 100% cotton, and has slightly crinkled vertical piping. The subtleties of its texture are barely noticeable from a distance, but are intentionally designed in such a way that it makes the fabric extra breathable. You’ll pay more for real seersucker, but don’t fall for inauthentic imitations that are not 100% cotton. They may look quite similar, but lack the characteristics that make genuine seersucker one of the best summer fabrics.
Linen and Linen/Cotton Blends
Similarly, it’s better to avoid other cotton or linen fabrics that are blended with synthetics. Think of synthetic fibers as derived from plastics. You wouldn’t wrap up in plastic on a hot day. But that doesn’t mean that all blends are inappropriate for summer. Linen is a very cool, comfortable fabric but is notoriously susceptible to unsightly wrinkling. Blend it with cotton, however, and that cuts down on the wrinkle factor while preserving the lightweight coolness of the cloth.
Cotton specially designed to be wrinkle-free is a fabulous wardrobe asset, especially for dress shirts, slacks, and travel. Pop a quality no-iron item in the clothes dryer for a few minutes and it will emerge looking freshly ironed. But the treatment used to create that magic makes the fabric somewhat less breathable. Keep that in mind in summer, when you may be more comfortable wearing conventional cotton shirts and pants.
Suit and Jacket Linings
Many clothing manufacturers use classic warm weather fabrics like seersucker, but they make a big mistake that undermines comfort. If you’re shopping for a summer suit or sport coat, check the interior lining. Normally you want a full lining made of a fabric like satin. But properly tailored summer jackets should have only a partial lining that covers the upper part of the suit coat, blazer, or sport coat, or no lining at all. Otherwise it defeats the whole purpose of selecting a summer fabric.
Indian Madras is a very lightweight cotton fabric from India, and it comes in lots of attractive patterns and colors. The only downside to this enduring preppy classic is that the dye is not that stable. Faded Madras has attractive character, so that’s not an issue. But make sure to wash Madras fabrics in cold water, with no other clothing that might otherwise wind up stained from bleeding Madras dyes.
Fabrics in Comfortable Colors
Because dark colors absorb more light, and therefore more of those sizzling UV rays from the sun, you’ll probably want to stick to lighter fabric tones. Summer is the time to relax and show a less serious fashion style that emphasizes the fun factor. But if you are dressing for a more conservative occasion or for business, you can still feel breezy and comfortable in darker colors. Just use this fabric guide to help you choose those that are lighter weight and more breathable.
Looking for high-quality, comfortable shoes to go with your favorite fabric? Make sure to look over our new Spring line of exotic and Italian calf leather shoes to finish off your wardrobe.