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What Type of Clothing to Wear in the Heat & Humidity

by Hallie Engel

On hot and humid days, your clothes aren't just a fashion statement -- they're a coping strategy. The right outfit helps you stay comfortable when the sun beats down without mercy. Survive the heatwave by choosing garments that let your body breathe.

Fabric Selection

Natural fibers let the skin breathe and encourage air circulation. Choose clothing made from materials like silk, cotton and linen when temperatures soar. Lightweight textured fabrics are also ideal for the heat. Breathable materials, like seersucker, create space between the garment and your skin, allowing air to circulate. Avoid artificial fabrics like polyester and nylon. These man-made materials trap heat and moisture, leaving you a sweaty, miserable mess.

Ideal Cuts and Fits

Loosely-cut clothes are best on hot, humid days. A pair of skinny jeans or a close-fitting top traps heat next to your skin, making it feel like you're wearing an oven. A long, loose piece of clothing is also preferable to a tiny pair of shorts. In addition to maximizing air flow, the loose-fitting garment shields your skin from the sun.

Add Accessories

A wide-brimmed hat is a smart choice for bright days, as it provides shade while protecting your skin from the sun. Look for something that provides ample coverage of your face, neck, chest and back. Sunglasses keep your eyes safe; just make sure your pair provides full UV protection. Replace your shoes and socks with sandals. If you must wear shoes, look for a pair made from a natural, perforated material which breathes well.

Colors That Cool

Light colors -- white, baby blue and yellow -- reflect heat and help you feel cooler. Though dark colors tend to absorb heat, they also hide perspiration wetness, making them a wise choice for formal events, job interviews and other occasions when you need to look polished and professional.

Dressing Infants

When it's hot and sticky, dressing your baby properly will keep them cool, comfortable and safe. If you're staying indoors, dress your little one in something similar to what you're wearing, like a t-shirt and shorts. If you're going outside, dress your baby in garments made from airy, natural fibers in light colors that completely cover the arms and legs to prevent sunburn. Opt for a hat with a brim to keep the baby's face cool and shielded from the harmful rays.

About the Author

Hallie Engel is a food and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in several international publications. She served as a restaurant critic for "Time Out Abu Dhabi" and "Time Out Amsterdam" and has also written about food culture in the United Arab Emirates for "M Magazine." She holds a bachelor's degree in communications and film studies from University of Amsterdam.

Photo Credits

  • Digital Vision/Digital Vision/Getty Images