Hot days in the wrong clothes can feel suffocating. The solution doesn’t always have to be less garments — you can keep just as cool by wearing breathable material. But, what are the most breathable fabrics? Here we spotlight seven lightweight fabrics for summer. Don’t sweat it. With the most breathable fabrics, you’ll stay comfortable during the season’s sunniest days.
Cotton is a natural fiber that’s durable, affordable, and feels nice on the skin. Soft and airy, it’s hypoallergenic and easy to clean (although may need some ironing). The texture will pair well with your summer garments. Cotton circulates air, so it’s wearable for humid or hot-temp days. For extra breathability, look for lightweight weaves, such as chambray or seersucker. Chambray is like denim, but without the weight. Seersucker is a sophisticated suiting material that will give you a classy summertime look.
Gauze is thin fabric with a delicate appearance. It’s often made with cotton, but can also be created with silk or linen. The open weave has a distinct, barely-there feeling on skin. Sometimes it has a crinkled texture, so you don’t have to spend a lot of time ironing. Gauze tops pair well with jeans, shorts, or leggings. Even in sweltering temperatures, gauze will help keep you cool.
Jersey feels supple on skin and has some stretch. It’s a knit fabric that can be derived from cotton, synthetic materials, or a blend. Although it has a tighter weave, it’s a breathable fabric that’s also absorbent. Jersey received a fashionable reputation when Coco Chanel integrated it into her designs. It provides a flattering drape for tops and skirts. Plus, it’s easy to care for.
Rayon is another breathable fabric. It’s not as airy and absorbent as cotton or linen, but don’t count it out. It’s definitely worth considering for dry-heat climates. A man-made fiber, rayon is created from wood pulp. The fabric is often used to simulate silk, cotton, or linen textures. It’s lightweight, versatile, and wrinkle resistant. It doesn’t pill and retains its shape. These qualities make it an ideal travel fabric. Plus, it flows and drapes beautifully on the body.
Linen is an elegant fabric made from flax. Known for its cooling properties, it is just the thing for hot, humid climates. The natural fabric has a light, porous weave that allows heat to escape away from the body. Like a summer drink, linen feels refreshing as it channels breezes inward to cool your skin. One thing to keep in mind is that linen is prone to wrinkles. Some ironing may be needed, but a wrinkle or two is part of the fabric’s character. It’s a chic option with a flattering drape.
Chiffon is a sheer and airy material. It looks delicate, but is actually quite durable. The most available versions are synthetic blends of polyester or nylon. However, you can also find chiffon made from cotton or silk. It has a semi-mesh weave that resists wrinkling and drapes like a dream. With its light texture and gossamer feel, it’s a popular fabric for blouses, scarves and caftans. It’s also often used as an overlay to give clothing an elegant, floating appearance.
Bamboo is an underrated fabric. It’s even more breathable than cotton. There’s a higher thread count, which means the fabric is softer and more durable. One of the most breathable natural fabrics, bamboo is made from the pulp of bamboo grass. It’s antibacterial, anti-fungal, and hypoallergenic. Like cotton, it’s shrinkable and can wrinkle. However, it’s a great hot-weather fabric. Bamboo absorbs moisture, and the silky texture offers ventilation.
Keep this guide for summer or to get ideas for a desert or beach trip. Find the most breathable materials at Soft Surroundings. Shop now.