When it comes to looking put together and stylish in summer, keeping cool is half the battle. Nothing ruins an otherwise excellent outfit faster than soggy underarms and sweat patches. Most people mitigate the negative effects of the heat by relying on pieces like shorts and T-shirts, but those who really know their sartorial onions take it a step further and take fabric types into account too.
Despite cotton’s prevalence in the world of modern fashion, it’s not always the best option when it comes to dressing for the heat. Yes, it’s durable, comfortable and versatile, but it’s also highly absorbent. When you’re perspiring, the last thing you want is for your T-shirt to be soaking sweat up like a sponge. This is why choosing moisture-wicking fabrics is such a game changer.
If you’re fed up of sweaty summers, find the heat uncomfortable and struggle to look stylish when the mercury rises, this is for you. Keep scrolling to learn about the best moisture-wicking fabrics and exactly which moisture-wicking garments you should be adding to your summer wardrobe.
Why Is Moisture Wicking Important?
First things first: what exactly does ‘moisture wicking’ mean? And how can it keep you cool?
Absorbent fabrics soak up moisture. This makes them heavy, wet and uncomfortable. Moisture-wicking materials on the other hand pull moisture away from the skin and push it to the outside of the fabric where it can evaporate quickly. Because of this, most moisture-wicking fabrics are quick drying too, which ultimately means you stay comfortable and dry even when working out hard or in ordinarily sweaty temperatures.
This makes moisture-wicking garments appealing in terms of both workout and summer wear. You’re less likely to get nasty sweat patches, and even if you do, they’ll most likely have dried up well before anybody notices.
One downside of moisture-wicking fabrics is that some of the synthetic ones have a habit of hanging onto odours over time. Still, there are still plenty of moisture-wicking materials that don’t suffer from this issue, they’re usually just a bit more expensive.
The Best Moisture-Wicking Materials
Linen is the oldest moisture-wicking fabric known to man. People in the hottest corners of the world have been relying on it for heat and moisture management for millennia, and it’s still one of the go-to options today.
It’s also completely natural, which means it’s less harmful to the environment than some of its man-made alternatives.
This synthetic material is often used in sportswear as it is extremely light, breathable, moisture wicking and quick drying. You’ll often see it used to make things like running tops, gym shorts and windbreakers.
It’s great, but it can have issues where odour management is concerned.
Merino wool is a wonder fabric that can keep you cool and warm all at the same time. It’s a natural temperature regulator that’s insulating but also breathable, great at wicking moisture and almost completely odour resistant.
Merino T-shirts make excellent alternatives to cotton ones.
Lyocell is a semi-synthetic fabric most commonly manufactured by the brand Tencel. Manufactured from wood pulp, it’s arguably one of the most environmentally-friendly fabrics (certainly more so than cotton), but it is often much more costly too.
That said, it’s fantastic at wicking moisture, which makes it a great alternative to cotton when it comes to garments like summer shirts.
Silk is soft against the skin, hypoallergenic, completely natural, brilliant at wicking moisture and dries in a heartbeat. This makes it one of the best materials for summer clothing.
The only real drawback is that it can be expensive and it’s still a statement choice.
Micromodal is a semi-synthetic fabric that’s durable, resistant to shrinkage, stretchy, breathable and moisture wicking. It’s a great choice for underwear, especially if you’re sick and tired of your cotton briefs stretching out of shape with every wear.
Moisture-Wicking Pieces Every Man Needs
Nothing says breezy quite like a well-styled pair of linen pants. This type of lightweight legwear is the perfect alternative to stuffy suit pants or cotton chinos when the mercury level is maxed out.
They’re still smart, but they offer a laid-back edge, not to mention they’re far more breathable and quick drying to keep the sweat at bay.
Speaking of blazers, this is the type you’ll want. The breathable nature of the linen means sweat patches are less likely to form, and any that do will evaporate quickly. The fabric also has that slightly rumpled look to it that exudes effortless style.
Go for a nice neutral colour so that you can team it up with lots of different outfits. Opt for a light shade if you want to bolster the fabric’s cooling effects.
A sweaty undercarriage is never a good thing. One way you can protect yourself from it is to invest in some Micromodal underwear and consign your cotton trunks to the sartorial scrap heap.
This stuff is far more breathable, elastic, smooth and quick drying, which makes it great for staying comfortable in the summer heat.
A silk shirt has the potential to be a very valuable addition to your warm-weather wardrobe, but it must be handled with care. Pick the wrong one and it can look truly terrible.
Avoid tight fits at all costs and go for a more floaty cut. Also, steer clear of dark block colours in favour of summery prints and patterns.
Polyester Athletic Top
Don’t let your cardio regimen suffer just because the temperature is skyrocketing. Cotton T-shirts soak up sweat like sponges and leave nipple prone to chafing, but a polyester alternative is softer, smoother and dries in a jiffy.
Pop one on for your next run and you’ll never look back.
Polyester Athletic Shorts
If you’re going to invest in a proper athletic training top to tackle the heat, you’ll need some shorts to match.
Polyester athletic shorts will keep you cool and comfortable during those workouts where you’re really grinding.
Lyocell Camp Collar Shirt
The camp collar shirt is a modern menswear summer essential. It’s a relaxed garment that makes an excellent vehicle for bringing colour and pattern to your summer outfits.
Make it even more seasonally appropriate by buying one cut from Lyocell fabric. This way you can stay cool and dry even in the blazing summer sun.
As we’ve established, when it’s really hot out a cotton tee isn’t always the best option. The absorbent fabric can soak up sweat, making it heavy, damp and uncomfortable.
A knitted merino tee, on the other hand, pushes moisture to the outside where it can evaporate. It also dries nice and fast, and regulates your body temperature to keep you comfortable, whatever the weather.