The 4 Best Summer Fabrics to Keep You Cool

The 4 Best Summer Fabrics to Keep You Cool
When the temperature rises, that doesn't necessarily mean your wardrobe choices should be limited. Finding the right outfit to battle the summer heat can be an uphill struggle. For that, we have devised the definitive guide of the fabrics and the staple pieces that will keep you cool and collected throughout summer. Read more Men's Style Guide features and check out our Store. shopthelook Dressing for summer might seem like the easiest thing in the world, but when it comes down to it, it can actually be quite tricky. It seems finding an outfit which is practical and comfortable is one of the things we utterly dread as the summer months approach. No, we're not just going to recommend you wear a vest and a pair of shorts in the office (but we're not going to stop you from that choice, either). We are simply going to recommend the best summer pieces from the best fabrics to staple items which are guaranteed to keep you dressing well during the last few months of summer (without the embarrassing stress of having sweat patches).

Best Fabrics for Summer

Here at Idle, we have specially picked out the summer fabric types which are going to keep you comfortable and not limited in the when the weather hits double-figure numbers. More importantly, we're picking out items which are easy to wear with pretty much anything so that you don't have the stress of having to pick out a good summer look every morning. If you have a summer wedding on the agenda, a festival to attend or basically need to revamp your summer wardrobe, then this is the guide that'll help you find the best material for hot weather.

To Fight the Hot Weather - Breathable Fabric

Breathable natural fabrics are the spoken secret to keeping cool in the heat. Whether you are on the underground or in the blazing sun, breathable fabric is your best shot at keeping cool throughout the day. Reducing body moisture and decreasing the risk of sweat patches, wearing fabric which lets your skin breathe creates a whole lot of a difference.


Linen is the sturdiest and durable fabric of the bunch. Mostly associated with white trousers and summer tailoring, linen is not always everyone's thing. However, it's a statement fabric and can easily be found in not just linen suits and trousers, but jumpers too. Resistant to stretching, you can always rely on linen not to lose its shape - so don't you worry, you can probably get a few summer months out of it without having to fork out for something new. It's the best of both, 2 in 1 fabric. With linen being breathable and perfect to wear in the beer garden when the sun is blaring, it's also calling for when the evenings get that little a bit colder. Taking you through from day to night, linen is easy to dress and layer and also a fabric that guarantees to make way into season every year.

How to Wear Linen in The Summer

The additional beauty of linen is that however you wear it, your outfit will always consist of that premium edge. Popular amongst suits and smart trousers, it's protocol for any summer party or gathering. Opting for timeless palettes such as white, blacks and muted tones mean your linen clothes will last a lifetime. When wearing linen correctly, we recommend going for the classic blazer or full suit. Perfect for your trip to work, a last minute party or to stop at the pub for a pint, a linen suit can be versatile for all summer occasions. The Pros
  • Provides a smart and leisure look to any outfit.
  • Perfect for dressing up during the day in the heat.
  • Sophisticated and refined.
  • Natural crinkle that linen provides allows airflow for your skin alternatively keeping you cool.
  • Dries alone quicker than most fabrics.
The Cons
  • Wearing linen can sometimes be considered too casual.
  • It is a heavy fabric that could get too hot if the temperature gets too warm.
Styling different types of cotton fabric

Tropical Light Weight Wool

Like linen, tropical weight wool is your additional smarter backup for the summer months. Although wool has a heavy association with the coldness of winter and keeping warm, lightweight wool can be labelled an all year thing. Reduced in weight and thinner fibres, tropical lightweight wool is the lightest of the breathable of fabrics. With with the looser weave and structure, tropical weight wool isn't just lighter but also extremely breathable. With a smoother drape on the body, tropical weight wool can provide a more defined and slick look to your summer wardrobe. Quicker drying than cotton, it can be one of the most practical fabrics to invest into. However, perfect as it sounds, tropical weight wool isn't all it's made up to be. Tropical weight wool can come across expensive, turning into a big investment to buy into (however, totally worth it). So when you do consider forking out for a blazer, suit or staple item consisting of tropical wool, go for monochrome or muted neutral tones which are easy to wear and will never lose its recognition.

How to Wear Tropical Light Weight Wool

Lightweight wool is the ideal option for any garden BBQ. Easy to dress, when getting the most out of the fabric, go for a full suit. While tropical lightweight wool is defined and renowned for tailoring, it's also easy to wear when you are wanting to include this year's trending palette or neutral tones while being hugely complementary with other textures. The Pros
  • Perfect for full tailored suits.
  • Can take you through from day to night - especially with temperature change.
  • Long lasting.
  • Perfect for smart-casual work and party attire - completely chic and sophisticated.
The Cons
  • Can be expensive depending on the brand.
  • It's not exactly friendly when it comes to sudden change of weather and environment. When caught in the rain, tropical lightweight wool tends to permanently wrinkle.

To Stay Cool - Lightweight Fabrics

It's typical for our British summers to turn from paradise to muggy, heavy heat. Sometimes it can literally be unbearable, especially when on the go. For this, we recommend opting for a cool summer shirt material. Perfect for day and night looks, lightweight fabrics are necessary to wear when rushing around in the heat while providing the maximum movement without the threat of sweat.


The epitome of luxury, silk is one of the lightest fabrics you can opt for. Suitable for dressed up occasions, silk can also be a tricky one to dress. While it can seem a delicate fabric, silk looks great when worn right and can look absolutely effortless. The lightweight fibre is cool to wear and doesn't feel to heavy when layered, especially with other fabrics. Sadly, silk has its downsides. When we said it was delicate we mean it really is delicate, so wear it with care. While it's perfect for the sun, the actual sunlight isn't too friendly. Blaring light breaks down the fibres of silk, wearing it down and damaging the fabric. For that, we opt for silk for spring/summer transitional months rather than mid July. Silk can be one of the best shirt fabrics for summer regardless.

How to Wear Silk

We don't recommend the silk for your shirts - this isn't Friday night disco fancy dress. However, with the staple bomber jacket riding high through trends, we recommend opting your silk purchases to the classic bomber. Easy to layer with pretty much anything, bombers are versatile and simple to wear with your smartest trousers and your most relaxed jeans. Silk bombers are one of the go-to jackets to bring you through spring and early summer.
Best shirt fabric for summer
toppicks The Pros
  • Silk is a classic and premium fabric, elevating your day-to-day wardrobe.
  • It's completely light, especially in texture. It's soft, too.
  • It can take you through the day to night making it a great transitional fabric.
  • Has a natural sheen, perfect for a formal outgoing look.
  • Takes to colour well.
The Cons
  • It's really delicate, especially to water and sunlight.
  • Can sometimes be a bit pricey, especially from higher luxury brands.
  • Isn't as breathable as other fabrics.

Seersucker Cotton

To finish the countdown is the most common and summer-friendly of them all, and that is seersucker cotton. There are different types of cotton fabrics if you weren't aware. We're pretty sure you own standard cotton somewhere in your wardrobe and, well, are probably wearing it now. When it comes to curating for summer, we recommend seersucker cotton. Due it's slacker tension weave in the fibres, seersucker cotton hangs away from the body, allowing more airspace. It's comfortable, long-lasting and probably the most breathable and lightweight fabric you can wear when the heat reaches it's highest. Reducing bodily moisture, cotton allows your skin to breath freely, especially when on the move. It's easy to find on the high street and is involved in pretty much most of your clothes. From denim jeans to T-shirts, there will be some sort of cotton fibre hidden in there. From the advantages of being completely breathable, seersucker cotton doesn't loose shape. So no matter how many washes you have to pop your T-shirt through, it won't begin draping in the wrong places anytime soon. It's the go-to fabric to get investing in at the start of every summer season, especially for your basics. Every perfect fabric must have its downfalls. Cotton needs looking after, and for that, once it creases and wrinkles, it creases and wrinkles. We don't mean this is a 'wear until it falls out' job, but, we can promise if you do try that, don't expect the creases to fall out on their own. If that isn't bad enough, cotton reacts to sweat. Wash your cotton carefully and it will last you day in, day out.

How to Wear Seersucker Cotton in the Summer

As we said, cotton can be found pretty much anywhere, so building an outfit isn't much of a headache (especially in the morning rush). When opting for cotton, you can easily go for the basic T-shirt and seersucker trousers, allowing you to play around with additional detailing on the shoes. Or, if you are in need of a smarter look, you can always opt for a seersucker shirt or blazer. Seersucker cotton can easily be layered for transitional dressing while it can also worn alone timelessly. So, for when you are in need of a quick fix for the morning rush, opt for seersucker cotton, effortlessly building a casual look which can work for office and weekend. Go for a plain trouser or jean, finished with a pair of smart shoes. Completely modernised for this season, seersucker can take you through the summer months from day to night. The Pros
  • Easy to find on the high street and is ideal for those basic essentials in your wardrobe.
  • Doesn't always break the bank account.
  • Doesn't lose shape even after countless washes.
  • Hangs away from the skin, increasing airflow.
The Cons
  • Being a thinner fabric, seersucker cotton can crease easily.
  • If over-dried you can find your favourite T-shirt half the size it was before.
White trousers are a great jean alternative in summer

Best Shirts For Summer

For SS18, we have seen a wave of trends which can be tailored to any style. A big hit for the season and the year is the essential summer shirt, also known as the Cuban-collar shirt. One of the staple designs for the high street and high-end for summer, this design can be created using any of the summer-friendly fabrics and is versatile to the look you want to achieve. The Cuban-collar shirt is the go-to staple item popping up everywhere for 2018. It's laid back, cool and collected, providing an effortless look to your wardrobe. Additionally, coming in a loose and classic fit, the Cuban-neck shirt provides maximum movement from the neck and waist. So, if you end up going for the adventurous print or solid colour, the Cuban-neck shirt is guaranteed to keep you cool.

How to Wear the Cuban Neck Shirt

As one of the easiest shirts you can wear, there is no doubt why the Cuban-neck collared shirts have made a second coming from 1970's. Easy to wear for a festival or even for the all-romantic date night, pair the shirt with a slim or tapered jean, chino or short. Available in cotton, the Cuban-Neck Shirt gives you the benefit of the two during the season.

Best Trousers for Summer

Trousers can be difficult when dressing for the heat. When going for classic the slim jean, it can be uncomfortable to wear day in day out, not to mention smart trousers which can be just as thick. For SS18, we have found the loophole to solve this problem. The wide leg trouser seems to be the staple item being taken through from summer to fall. It is also easy to dress up and dress down. With the most popular opted choice of the wide-leg chino, the boxy shape of wide leg trousers can provide your wardrobe with an elevated contemporary look. Easy to pair with your favourite trainers, wide leg trousers are the perfect item to wear for the heat. The extra room means that it has that extra bit of airway keeping you while on the run throughout the day.

How to Wear Wide Leg & Tapered Trousers

The wide leg trouser is easier than you might think to integrate with your wardrobe. When going for the wide leg chino, don't be afraid to mix it up with linen, lightweight wool and silk. When dressing for summer, the wide-leg chino is perfect to dress when achieving effortlessly-smart vibe. If you choose to go for a smart-casual look, opt for lightweight wool blazer and T-shirt. However, if you're wanting to dip your foot into the athleisure trends then go for a box work shirt. This creates a consistently comfortable and contemporary look to keep you cool in the heat.
Summer shirt materials include natural fabrics

The Best Summer Fabrics

  • Don't be afraid to go for a fabric you haven't included in your wardrobe before.
  • Always consider the best way to wash and dry your clothes while keeping their lasting look.
  • Linen, s
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