A variety of textures makes an outfit, a cluster, and indeed a whole wardrobe more interesting to look at and more fun to wear. When clothing texture comes to mind, a lot of people think of winter-weight wools; the tweed, herringbone, flannel, and sweater knits. The summer, however, is a terrific time for texture too, the sorts of textures that translate to the real world.

Fibers and fabrics for hot, humid summer weather are all about sweat-wicking ventilation. Such fabrics are said to be “breathable”, but no, fabrics don’t really breath. Natural fibers like cotton and silk wick, or soak up body perspiration inside and allow it to evaporate on the outside, thus cooling you down on a hot summer day. Some man-made fibers are now being designed to maximize their ability to wick away moisture. They are options worth trying.

This summer, think outside of the fabric box. Think of organdy and organza, voile, lawn, and lace, chiffon and chambray, gauze and crinkle cloth. The airy, breezier nature of these fabrics makes them ripe for your summer staples. Ask a retail clerk to show you what they have to offer in these lighter-weight fabrics. Believe me, the right fabrics for summer can make all the difference in being comfortable throughout the day. Let’s break down some of these summer favorites a little further!

  1. Lawn. This fabric is a famous clothing material in Asian countries, where it’s known to provide a cooling effect in the scorching heat of the summer months. Layer sheer fabrics and be surprised by the shading effects it will create.
  2. Silk. Silky fabrics are generally lightweight and add shine for increased visual texture. As this sort of fabric is often used in high-end fashion items, it gives off the added air of sophistication.
  3. Gingham. Don’t be fooled, a checkered gingham isn’t just for your summer picnic cloth. It gives a vintage look when used for shirts, dresses, shirts, and shorts. You can choose the traditional black and white checkered look, or opt for the brighter hues to bring in more pizzazz.
  4. Eyelet and Lace. As introduced above, this cooler material is fantastic to wear because it has actual holes in it. It speeds up the evaporation of body moisture.
  5. Cotton Jersey Knit. This stretchy material adds comfort to your wardrobe. Just make sure they are looser in style and fit to aid ventilation. Worn too tight, they expose each body bulge you ever wished to keep hidden.
  6. Linen. Summer is the perfect time to wear linen, wrinkles and all. Wrinkles are part of the look of linen and there’s no avoiding it. Linen fabric is typically loosely woven and one of the best fibers for keeping you cool. Linen is ideal for men too. A classy white linen shirt is meant to be worn untucked, for greater ventilation. Many linens feature weaves with what we call slub yarns; fatter bumpy threads are woven in to increase the textural look and feel. The fabric tends to wrinkle less. Open weave blends of silk and linen in summer tweeds are exactly right for a summer suit or blazer.
  7. Seersucker. This puckered cotton cloth comes in pastel or navy stripes and is a common material used in summer weather suits and blazers. Looking a bit like large scale seersucker is madras plaid, originally intended to bleed when washed. Both seersucker and madras are worn by men as well as women worldwide.
  8. Rayon. Rayon is a fiber that can be made into a lightweight, soft fabric that hangs and drapes beautifully on the body. They look and feel like a fresh summer breeze.

On the fashion front, there are digital prints that actually look like handcrafted fabrics. These prints that retain the apparent depth of texture and weave are amazing to see. Created by high-end designers, they can be quite expensive. But with their mass market appeal, they can be found in great pieces for lower prices. Be on the lookout!

Finish a great looking outfit with more texture in the form of jewelry. Beads are one thing but don’t overlook metals of all sorts, wood, stones, and shells. There are never-ending options for you to choose from. Make texture of some type part of your everyday personal style.