Why Do We Wear Light Clothes in Summer?

By Cindi Pearce

Light-colored clothing reflects light and dark-colored clothing absorbs it. The more heat that is absorbed the hotter the clothing is and the hotter you are. Furthermore, light-colored clothing looks softer and cooler.

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Wear white or light colored clothing when it is hot

Color and Weave

african american college student with no hair wearing a yellow linen shirt and cream linen pants with brown sandals stands with his hands in his pockets and his feet apart as he smiles into the camera
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Heat escapes from linen.

Along with its color, the weave of your clothing will determine how hot or cold you are. Clothing should be constructed so that the heat escapes from the body rather than trapped. Cotton and linen are the ideal conductors of heat, which is why summer clothing is usually made from these materials. A weave that is open allows the free circulation of air, making this clothing much cooler than something constructed of firm, close weaves. When air can't escape, you will perspire and your clothing will get soaked with sweat.

Avoid Dark Colors

an oriental man wearing a black shirt smiles as he squints in the bright sunlight
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Expect to get hot if you wear black on a hot, sunny day.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, light-colored, lightweight and loose-fitting clothing are the top choice for hot weather. Cotton is breathable material. Linen absorbs sweat and then quickly dries. When the heat index creeps up, choose cotton or linen fabric in light colors. If you opt for dark clothing, it will absorbs the heat of the sun and actually turn into heat. If you wear black, expect to get brutally hot because it's the darkest color of all.

Light Colors and Cooling

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Stay cool in a light summer dress.

Light-colored, lightweight and loose-fitting clothes are the best for promoting the absorption of sweat. You stay cooler because more air passes over your body. Wearing a Iight-colored hat will further limit sun exposure and keep you cooler.

Experiment

Ice cubes
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Experiment with ice.

If you do this experiment you can see why light colored clothing is preferable in the summer: Place a dark piece of cloth and a light piece of cloth on a piece of ice that is in bright sunlight. The dark piece of cloth will melt into the ice quicker than the white one. This shows that dark colors absorb more light and produce more heat. Light colored clothing affords more protection from the sun. White clothes, in particular, produce a desired psychological effect because white is associated with coolness.