Shopping Tips: Picking the Best Fabrics for Summer

As you begin shopping for your summer wardrobe, it’s time to learn a little bit more about your fabric choices. The secret to looking and feeling chic even in warm, humid weather is picking the right textiles for the job. Here are some pros and cons of popular summer-weight fabrics:

100% Cotton

This is an ideal fabric to wear if you have skin allergies. It’s naturally breathable and inexpensive. However, you will usually have to iron 100% cotton clothing even if you machine dry it. The fabric may also tend to stain around the collar and armpits if you wear it in white or other light colors. Cotton does shrink some with washing and drying, so buy a large enough size to accommodate this factor.


Linen fabric is typically loosely woven and is one of the best natural fibers for keeping you cool. Don’t worry about wrinkles with this textile. It’s part of the “look” of the fabric and there’s no avoiding it. Your linen pants in particular will develop creases along the thighs and behind the knees if you sit down. Choose loose fitting styles with linen and always wash this fabric by hand or on the cold cycle. Let it line dry for best results.

Summer Blends

Today, there’s a wide selection of fabrics that are designed for maximum wickability. Unlike cotton which simply absorbs moisture, these high-tech blends actually draw sweat away from your body and promote evaporation – helping keep you much cooler. The characteristics affecting wickability include:

  • Fiber types (these may include a blend of materials including cotton, polyester, nylon, acrylic, or spandex)
  • The structure of the textile (some knits are better at wicking moisture than others)
  • Surface treatment (substances that are used to finish the fibers)

These fabrics are ideal for summer athletic gear since they are stretchy and resistant to staining. You can usually find wrap dresses, summer tops, and other fitted/flowing items in good summer blends. Most can be machine washed and dried with no ironing necessary.

For a more in-depth look at your summer fabric choices for every occasion, check out Chrissy’s fashion blog here.