Dressing for (unbearably) hot weather

18 Jul

Walking around in your undies may be the thing you want to do, but there are other alternatives.

It is a very hot week in Toronto and we’re walking around red-faced and wet with sweat. Weather this warm is uncomfortable for most people and dressing for it can be a challenge. Here are some tips for dressing in hellishly hot weather:

  • Air flow is very important in keeping cool – opt for loose-fitting clothing instead of tight clothing so there is some air circulation around the body;
  • Choose natural fibers like pure linen or one hundred percent cotton that are breathable;
  • Avoid polyester and other synthetics as they do not breathe. Polyester is made of fossil fuels (literally oil and gas) and is a finer yarn than a linen or cotton thread, giving a tighter weave that feels warmer because it does not allow air flow and traps perspiration – this can lead to stinky garments that stay stinky!
  • Even if you choose a cotton-polyester blend, the pure cotton is “watered down” by the synthetic which makes it stronger, but compromises the integrity of the cotton (i.e. breathability). Also, your poly-cotton shirt will wear faster because polyester tends to pill on the fabric surface,  giving an unsightly texture to a once smooth shirt, sock, or trouser;
  • If you are a denim-wearer, choose a lighter, thinner denim;
  • If you’re a man who sweats a lot, try wearing a sleeveless cotton undershirt under your collared shirt to absorb perspiration;
  • Wear light colours that reflect sunlight – dark colours absorb light and the heat that goes with it – shoes included;
  • If you’re in a suit or business casual, wear a tooled Oxford shoe that has holes to allow air flow to your feet;
  • Instead of going sockless (the perspiration from your feet will ruin the inside of your shoes), wear a short cotton sock that isn’t seen above your shoe – you should be able to find these in packages of three or six, giving you more bang for your buck;
  • Instead of using your sleeve or the back of your hand to wipe the sweat from your brow, add a little style and use a handkerchief to dab!

Finally, remember to wear your sunblock, sunglasses, drink lots of water, and stay in the shade!

3 Responses to “Dressing for (unbearably) hot weather”

  1. Alan B July 18, 2013 at 11:44 am #

    The base layer/sweat layer should be a fabric that draws sweat away from your skin allowing it to evaporate and cool you without making you feel wet and clammy. Cotton retains your sweat and doesn’t allow it to evaporate. Technical base layers would be best such as merino wool, polyester microfibre etc.

    • Leah Morrigan July 18, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

      Thanks for that, Alan. I agree that you want something to wick away moisture (cotton is good for absorption but can feel clammy). I don’t know where you are in the world, but it is almost 45 degrees Celsius in Toronto and I wouldn’t dream of going near Merino wool, no matter how fine it is!

      Polyesters are a bit dicey, I find, as they are clingy and hold onto body odor, though, admittedly, they seem good off the top (I wear a microfibre top at the gym and it’s getting smelly!). Then again, I have a bias toward natural fibres. To each their own – hope you find something to wear that keeps you cool!

  2. Dr David Ellis July 18, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

    Sweating underarms and forehead etc can be nicely treated with Botox. It can last 6-9 months! It does not interfere with the body’s temperature control.

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