|By Nicolettemayer (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons|
Dressing for summer is not about wearing less, but wearing what protects and leaves you comfortable. Many people dress to beat the heat while forgetting they must also dress to fend off the skin damaging rays of the sun. The right combination of colors, garments and fabrics will keep you cool and protected during the summer.
Cool Summer Colors that Keep You Protected
Summer is when people like to wear light and bright colors. The light part is right. Light colors help to deflect the sun's rays. Pastels are great choices. However, no color does this better than white.
In color theory, white reflects all color. Meaning color bounces off it. If you hold a piece of white paper next to a red object in the light, the red reflects off the white. This is what the sun's rays do, they bounce off white so minimal sun damage is done to the skin and less heat is absorbed. As a result, you are cooler and skin damage is lessened.
Cool summer colors to try out: White, Lemon, Ivory, Sea Green, Mint Green, Azure/Sky Blue, Lavender, Pink and Peach
Cool Fabrics to Beat the Summer Heat
The first thing that probably comes to your head when summer fabric is mention is cotton. You are on the right track, but cotton is a fiber, not a fabric. Fibers make up the yarns that are woven or knitted together to make fabric. Fabrics made from this fiber are much cooler than fabrics made from synthetic fibers like nylon or polyester and some natural fibers like wool.
Loose plain weave or open weave fabrics like cotton gauze are the coolest but also the most fragile. Tighter weaves and knits will also keep you cool such as cotton jersey knit, batiste, organdy, twill, cambric and linen. Dense or pile weaves are not suitable for keeping you cool during the summer months.
Fabrics to avoid during summer: corduroy, velvets, terry cloth, vinyl, and leather (unless you are in dry climate with moderate temperatures).
Summer Garments that Keep You Cool and Protected
Now that you know the colors and fabrics to look for, choose garments that will offer additional cooling and protection. Tanks and short sleeve shirts are a summer staple that keep you cool and protect the majority of your torso from the sun. Lightweight jeans, chinos, clam diggers, and capris come in cool summer colors and cover your legs, providing a barrier between you and the sun.
For those who like to bare more skin during the summer, shorts are an obvious option. Sun dresses, halter dresses, and spaghetti strap or strapless dresses work well to keep a majority of the body covered while showing a little skin. A-line and flared skirts are perfect for summer because they fall away from the leg allowing air to reach them. Any length of A-line or flared skirt will work.
Sometimes work dress codes do not lend themselves to wearing some of the previously mentioned garments. Short sleeve dress shirts and shells work well for the office. Lightly tailored suits, jackets, and slacks are suitable office attire and will not make you sweat bullets.
Best cool summer (non-work) garments: unlined suiting, flared tops, flared skirts, A-line skirts, tank tops, sundresses, halter dresses or tops, short or ¾-sleeve shirts, and relaxed or loose-fitting garments.
Finding the right combination of colors, fabrics, and garments is up to you. This guide simply provides the ingredients to create a cool summer wardrobe. Put your fashion sense to work and create a summer wardrobe that will keep you cool and protected.
**This was originally posted on Yahoo!Voices. I own the rights to this content and have permanently placed it on my style blog, Fashion's Sense.**
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