What to Wear in Summer—that is the Question!


Regardless of age, culture, background, wealth; or lack of it; what to wear is a question that haunts everyone for one reason or the other, not necessarily fashion-related; sometimes, it is a question of survival!

Being aware of what you should wear in summer is very important to stay cool, comfortable and healthy. There are many factors that you have to bear in mind while selecting your garments in summer; the kind of fabric that you wear, the color of the outfit, as well as its style. Here are some tips to help you enjoy the hot summer days in good health.

Beginning with style, serious health conditions can arise when the body is unable to cool itself during periods of intense heat. In particularly humid climates, sweat evaporates slowly, and the body cannot cool itself as quickly as it should; it can take from four to seven days for the body to adjust to extreme heat. Sweating is the body's natural mechanism for self-cooling; wearing loose-fitting clothes allows the skin to breathe and facilitates sweating; whereas tight clothes restricts air circulation, keeping the body hot.

As for the fabric of the garments, there is a limited range of fabrics that can comfort you. These fabrics should be light and should have the ability to absorb moisture from the body; this is important because pools of sweat can make one feel uncomfortable, and it is unhealthy as well.

It is better to wear natural materials, such as cotton, rayon, silk and linen; they do not stick to your body, allowing your skin to breathe properly, and you to feel comfortable. There are other fabrics that can be effective in hot climate. For example, although sports fabrics are synthetic, they are good at wicking away sweat; polyester, on the contrary, is completely inappropriate in hot climate.

The ideal fabric to wear in summer is cotton; for one, it allows passage of air, a property that keeps the body cool. It also absorbs sweat and does not allow it to accumulate; after absorbing sweat, cotton allows the moisture to evaporate into the air, keeping the skin dry, allowing it to breathe and preserving body temperature stability. Furthermore, cotton has the least propensity to induce any allergic reaction, as opposed to certain fabrics that may sensitize the skin and can even result in skin rashes; this is why it is used for swabs and bandages in the medical profession.

Cotton is also known to be a neutral material that remains antistatic. Cotton woven fabric is very comfortable to wear and user-friendly; there is no need for special care and it is easily washed and dried. Thanks to its durability, it can be laundered repeatedly, while maintaining its appearance.

The color of the clothes also has a considerable influence on the human body; the more heat absorbed, the hotter the clothing is and the hotter you feel. It is best to wear fabrics that are light colored, because they tend to reflect heat instead of absorbing it, keeping your body relatively cooler; dark-colored fabrics, on the other hand, absorb light.

There are other good strategies to cope with hot climates; for example, you should cover your skin and not expose it to the climate, thinking that it would be better aerated. On the contrary, this can leave you with a terrible sunburn; instead, you should cover the skin with fabric that allows air ventilation.

Likewise, you should wear open sandals; your feet will not get sweaty at all. Also, the usage of a wide-brimmed hat is recommended as it will shade your head and face, protect your hair from harmful UVA and UVB rays, and keep you cooler.

To sum up, loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing are the top choice for hot weather; when the heat index creeps up, choose cotton or linen, and opt for pastels. If you choose dark heavy clothing, expect to get hot and sticky; the darker the color you choose, the more brutally hot and uncomfortable you will get. You have been warned!

*The article was published in the PSC Newslertter, Summer 2012 issue.


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SCIplanet is a bilingual edutainment science magazine published by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Planetarium Science Center and developed by the Cultural Outreach Publications Unit ...
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