Not all fabrics are created equal. Some are heavier, thicker and more insulating; some are lightweight, soft and highly breathable. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that a waterproof outer filled with duck down is going to be great at keeping you warm in the coldest months of winter.
But what sort of materials are better suited for the warmer weather? To answer this question we’ve created a handy guide to some summer fabrics that work as a great alternative to cotton. Below we run through materials such as linen, rayon, tropical wool and discover how these different materials have been designed to keep you cool when the temperature rises.
Made from the fibres of the flax plant, linen is the archetypal summer fabric. Lightweight, highly absorbent and typically featuring a loose, open weave, linen is perfect for keeping you cool on long hot summer days.
A great choice for both jackets and shirts, there is something about linen that is effortlessly relaxed. The way it hangs, paired with the way it takes on dye, results in a look that is the definition of laid back summer cool.
In store we have some great linen garments, especially the offerings from Venetian label Barena. Their Camicia Pavan Tellino is a casual shirt that has been based around a simple pop over style. The short placket and narrow collar are matched with a single open chest pocket and curved hem. We’re also a big fan of the workwear influenced jackets from French label Vetra. Their Rigging Jacket has been cut from pure brushed cotton for an unusual hand feel, but the cut is classic workwear: slightly boxy on the body with a button fastened placket and three external pockets.
Whilst the idea of wool for summer sounds like a terrible, sweaty idea, tropical wool is different. The looser weave promotes air circulation and the fine fibres actually draw moisture away from the skin.
What is most interesting though is the smart, smooth finish, something that makes it an ideal fabric for lightweight summer suits and sophisticated jackets. In store we have the Nohr from Norse Projects that comes in a deep navy colourway. The material for this jacket has been milled in England by Yorkshire based Alfred Brown, a business that has been creating fine worsted cloth for well over a 100 years.
Norse have added their own minimal touch with the concealed plackets, sharp cut and narrow collar. And, if you want to go the whole way, the Danish label have also crafted the Luther Trousers from the same material that feature a clean, modern tapered fit.
Rayon is a fabric derived for purified wood pulp, and whilst this doesn’t sound that glamorous, this semi-synthetic material is perfectly suited to the heat of summer. What we love about rayon garments is the soft, smooth hand feel and their great moisture absorbing properties.
Another huge benefit of rayon is its ability to take on dye, something that results in vivid colours and vibrant patterns. Pair all of these qualities together and you can see why rayon is often used for bright summer shirts such as the ones we have in store from Levi’s Vintage Clothing.
Their Hawaiian Shirt in the baked apple print is, for us, one of the shirts of the season. The bold, slightly abstract pattern, is a replica of one found in the Levi’s archives from the 1950s, faithfully recreated for the modern era. The loose fit of the shirt has been paired with a wide camp collar, button fastened placket and two flapped pockets on the chest.
Coolmax is a moisture-wicking fabric that actively draws sweat away from the skin to keep you cool. If you couple this technology with tried and tested seersucker, a material with a puckered finish designed to sit away from skin, then you have perhaps the ultimate summer material.
This season Danish label Norse Projects have been experimenting extensively with this wonder fabric, using it is a number of their lower wear pieces. The Harri Tapered Trousers in a subtle tonal pinstripe are a perfect summer garment. The tapered yet relaxed fit has been matched with four pockets, one of which has an inner section for a phone, and a zip fastened fly.