How to Adapt a Wardrobe to a Humid Climate

Janie Airey/Photodisc/Getty Images

It takes a combination of breathable fabrics and cooling cuts to ward off heat and still look savvy. The process of adapting your wardrobe to a muggier climate varies, of course, depending on your gender and your personal style, but you can turn to some staples to build a strong and comfy foundation. High-quality T-shisrts and well-fitted shorts certainly work, but go beyond the obvious to score more variety -- without sacrificing comfort.

Unisex Essentials

For men and women alike, breathable, lightweight fabrics are key to keeping your cool in a humid habitat. Cotton blends let air in, as does silk. Silk and cotton blends, especially those mixed with an elastic material, are also light, flexible and airy. Like lightweight fabrics, lighter colors help ward off heat. Look for white, beige, taupe, pale gray and pastel pieces. Sporting a lightweight cotton undershirt actually helps keep you comfortable in humid weather, as it absorbs perspiration. This also helps cut back on clingy or see-through tops when you sweat.

Basics for Women

Stock up on dresses to update your wardrobe for more intense temps. Tank dress, sundresses and halter styles are great day-to-day garb while wrap, sheath, shift and A-line dresses offer something a bit more dressy, as do pencil skirts. A short playsuit or jumper with a summery print works for running errands and attending outdoor barbecues. For semi-casual affairs, a sleeveless blouse lets in air while still looking classy. You can't get away with flip-flops in a professional environment, but strappy leather sandals let your feet breathe. Go for nude heels or flats to flatter bare legs and give them a long and svelte look.

Staples for Men

If you're a man who doesn't mind a naturally wrinkled, devil-may-care look, replace your wool suit with a linen getup. Khaki cotton or linen chinos serve as versatile and breathable bottoms that go just as well with a 100-percent cotton tee as they do with a seersucker blazer or fitted mesh-cotton polo, all of which work well in humid climes. Try cuffing your pants and going sockless with a pair of breathable mesh shoes. To add a little texture to your button-up shirt without turning to thick fabrics, opt for a brushed-cotton oxford.

The Fun Stuff

While jewelry won't cool you off, chunkier accessories and one or two simple statement pieces typically flatter hot-weather styles. Also for ladies, a woven sunhat lets air in while keeping UV rays out. Whether you're a guy or gal, don't forget the sunglasses, as hot and sunny go hand-in-hand. Tortoise shell shades go well with light brown accessories, which capture a breezier vibe than black. Bring your swimsuit if the area is near the water. For ladies, swim dresses and tankinis keep you both land- and water-ready, while flat-front surf trunks do the same for men.