As we welcome summer, it’s a perfect time to start rearranging our wardrobes for the scorching weather conditions.
The above image reminds me of the summer days in Florence during Pitti Uomo, as temperatures would peak to 40+ degrees in the late mornings. With the sun setting late, my jacket and shirt would be moist and sticky due to sweating. Some days it would be so bad that it’s visible and I would end up changing the day’s outfit. However, I noticed a lot of the European attendees would be wearing the same outfit the whole day without sweating nor feeling uncomfortably hot. Although I looked summery in my peacock colours, it felt like I was standing next to a pizza oven. I got to learn that it takes more than just a summery colour pallet to look and feel cool in summer. I learnt the different fabrics suitable for different seasons. Let’s look at a few fabrics that can keep you suitably cool during the summer season.
It is probably the most popular fabric for the summer season and as lightweight as it may look, it is quite strong and very absorbent. The fabric is made from fibres of a flax plant. Growing up it was dubbed “mashobana” getting its nickname from its wrinkled look and feel. There are multiple types of linen fabrics with different weight sizes meaning some can be used for suits and some for dress shirts. Although it may be good for the summer seasons, it does give a suit an untidy look as it wrinkles a lot and quite easily.
Cotton is another natural fibre which is arguably the oldest textile dating back to the prehistoric times. It is light weight; breathable and very good at absorbing moist. It also has a variety of fibres but it is mostly popular for dress shirts. However, it has tendencies of leaving moist stains on the garments.
Different in weaving construction but both are as good as siblings. These woven fabrics are not only classified as summer fabrics but also outer fabrics. They may have a heavy look from the traditional jeans, but due to the weave construction, they’re also breathable and conducive to the summer weathers. These fabrics are so versatile that one can have it in a formal suit and shirt, and still go casual with a pair of jeans. On the downside, when they absorb excessive amounts of moist, it takes time to dry up.
It is also known as railroad stripe, gaining its nickname from the thin puckered stripes. Although it does come in checked and even plain, seersucker is another popular fabric for the summer season. This woven fabric is 100% cotton and is one of the best in terms of breathability. The name originates from the Persians, “shir shakar” literally meaning milk and sugar, the smoothness of the milk and the roughness of the sugar. Like the linen fabric, wrinkles of a seersucker does not appeal to a lot of gents for a formal and corporate suit.
Although it is known for withstanding the cold weathers, there is also a summer cashmere that is lightweight, soft and can be worn without any worries of the summer heat. Cashmere fibres are obtained from Kashmir goats, and have been making textiles for hundreds of years. Cashmere wool fibres are famous for being used to craft the most luxurious suits. Other characteristics of this fabric includes durable, moist wicking, drapes well and resists odour. However, it is one of the most expensive wool fabrics.
There are other fabrics that are considered “summer fabrics” but the above featured are for the context of being suited and still look and feel cool during summer. Although these fabrics are summery, there is more that goes in the construction of garments to keep you cool for the summer weathers, but that’s a story for another day.
Until next time…