These are the 5 best cooling fabrics to wear during a heatwave

Want to keep cool in hot weather? Wear these fabrics

items on a washing line
(Image credit: The Spruce)

Whether the sun becomes too hot or the rain starts pouring down, there is nothing worse than a fashion faux pas you can’t control. Whilst these are usually avoidable in the winter and a woolly jumper is the safest way to go, summertime can bring in a whole host of unpredictable weather. Yes, having a fan or a good portable air-conditioner is one way to stay cool, but the fabrics you wear also have an impact. 

A short sleeved t-shirt may be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of your summer wardrobe, but there are other cooling fabrics you can wear during the hot and humid days. As the heat has recently returned, we have explored 5 of the top cooling fabrics you should base your summer outfits around. 

Before we begin, have a look at the best types of cooling bed sheets you can buy to ensure a good night’s sleep!

1. Cotton

Cotton is one material that everyone will flock towards on the hotter days, mostly due to it being a safe and reliable option when it comes to keeping you cool. Whilst it’s not very good at wicking away moisture, it has one of the highest levels of thermal conductivity, ultimately transferring the heat away from your body. It is also a very common fabric and you can find almost anything made from it, including shirts, dresses and shorts. It also contributes to the perfect summery look!

2. Chambray

Chambray has a very similar appearance to denim but isn’t as thick, keeping you cool and comfortable in the heat. It’s a lightweight, woven fabric usually found in darker shades. Whilst lightweight denim is an option, it will not quite feel as cool and breezy as chambray. 

3. Linen

Linen is also a go-to for hot summer days. ​​Unlike cotton, it has high moisture-wicking abilities that can absorb 20% of its weight in water. Linen is also highly breathable which only increases every time it goes into the wash, helping to improve airflow. Linen also looks great slightly crinkled so it doesn’t matter if it loses it’s structure as the day goes on.

4. Seersucker 

Seersucker itself isn’t a type of fabric. It is in fact a thin, puckered cotton that’s woven in such a way that bunched threads cause the fabric to rise off the skin. Seersucker’s natural wrinkling makes it breathable and airy, and like linen, you don’t have to worry about creasing throughout the day! It’s also a very trendy fabric type, especially for summer. 

5. Tencel

If you haven’t heard of Tencel before, it’s actually a name for a mixed set of fibres called modal and lyocell. It’s a versatile fabric that can adapt to a wide range of clothing types, but is particularly common in activewear. It’s also 50% more absorbent than cotton, with its soft and breathable nature making it a fantastic fabric to wear when exercising as it will help to keep you dry and cool. Read our guide on understanding the breathability of fabrics for more information on this!

You may have learn something new after that, or maybe you haven’t. Either way, it’s clear that choosing the right kind of fabric is an important factor in keeping cool during the summer. 

We also have information on the best fabric to sleep in if you’re interested!

Lizzie Wilmot
Staff Writer, Home

Lizzie is T3's Home Staff Writer, also covering style, living and wellness. She works closely with Bethan Girdler-Maslen, T3's Home Editor, ensuring all the latest news, trends and recommendations are covered. Outside of T3, Lizzie can be found mooching around Bath, attempting (or at least trying to) a new DIY project or spending time with family and friends.