How to stay cool without being naked

Dressing for the summer doesn't mean not dressing at all - here are our top tips for wearing clothes AND keeping cool...

Staying cool in summer isn't just a case of finding your skimpiest outfit and wearing it to the office. The art of not over-heating also has lots to do with the cut, fabric and design of your clothes.

Here are our top tips...

1. Get the fabric right

Forget only wearing white in the summer, your main aim should be to banish non-warm-weather-friendly fabrics from your wardrobe, no matter what their hue.

Here are some materials you should keep for the summer months...


As a natural fiber, cotton should be your go-to fabric in summer if you want to avoid nasty smells. Thanks to its lightweight make-up, cotton is able to increase the air circulation around the body which aids moisture absorption, keeping you cool AND body odour free.


Chances are you won't even know what seersucker is - but it promises to be your best friend in warmer climates.

Made out of 100% cotton, which itself is a cool, lightweight fabric, seersucker has the added benefit of being woven in such a way that the material is held away from - rather than clinging to - your body.


Another material that promises to keep you feeling fresh is summer's coolest fabric, linen.

Thanks to its stiff make-up, this material will increase the air flow around your body, while its ability to absorb moisture and then evaporate it equally quickly, keeps you dry in your own fashionable cooling system.

2. Think about the thickness

It's not just about the material you choose, thickness and how the fabrics have been woven also play a part...

Sheer polyester

While polyester won't beat cotton in a head-to-head cooling competition, thin, open-weave polyesters do have an advantage over thicker cotton fabrics.

Just remember, odors cling to polyester more than cotton, so even if you feel cool in your sheer shirt, you may still be a little pongy...

3. Activity is key

Dressing for a picnic in the sun and a 3 mile run around the block will obviously require completely different approaches.

High impact activity

While cotton will keep you cool for a day in the park, the water-retention abilities of this fabric can mean it takes forever to dry, making it irritable to skin during exercise in heat.

Lots of shops now offer special, cooling active wear to keep the body temperature at a safe and comfortable place while exercising. Stick with sweat-wicking fabrics that keep the moisture away from your body, and opt for styles with vents for air circulation.

4. It's all about the air vents

Not the same, mesh air vents you have in sports clothing, but any area where your body could benefit from a little more breeze - make that happen.

And this doesn't mean wearing less clothes: team a cropped top with high-waisted, linen trousers with just a sliver of skin open to the elements, or pick a loose, midi skirt with slits rather than a tight-clinging mini, for better air circulation.

The same goes for clothes with...


Cold shoulder

5. And always avoid...

ANYTHING tight-fitted or heavily lined. This summer we've switched our body-con pencil skirts for maxis with room to breathe - and jeans have been banished in favour of loose-fitted, uber-comfy culottes.

By Jess Edwards

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