Although summer and hot weather come with the advantage of being able to wear light fabrics and give up heavy and often uncomfortable coats, they don’t run short of challenges wardrobe-wise. If you’re not sure about what to wear in humid weather, here are a few tips and ideas to help you outfit your strolls with fashion items that will make you feel as good as you look.
What does humid weather mean?
While we don’t see humidity occurring, we definitely feel it, and more often than not, it’s uncomfortable, although the presence of water in the atmosphere is a natural phenomenon. Under almost any natural, normal atmospheric condition, water evaporates and condenses continuously.
When it evaporates, the water rises and thus disperses as water vapor. The humidity level thus varies from one area to another depending on how much water evaporates. The more water disperses as water vapor, the higher the humidity level. Now, hot places are more humid than cold ones since high temperatures make the water evaporate faster.
Water turning into vapor and rising is just one of the stages the water cycle involves. This cycle is nature’s way of making sure that water gets to everything that needs it. However, this doesn’t make high temperatures and humidity levels more pleasant. Living in a hot area with high humidity isn’t the most comfortable thing, but luckily, there are several ways to get around it.
Lightweight, breathable materials
One of the most uncomfortable things about humid weather is the fact that it makes you sweat more than usual and that almost everything you put on feels or gets sticky at some point. The reason why that happens is that sweat is one of the key ways the body uses to cool itself.
On days with high humidity levels, it is harder for the sweat produced to evaporate into the air, and thus it rests on the skin. This is why we get that sticky and hot feeling. Consequently, the body produces more and more sweat in an attempt to cool itself. Combine that with inappropriate fabrics and clothing, and you can only imagine the result if you haven’t experienced it yourself yet.
To make high-humidity days more bearable, there are a few tricks we can resort to, such as wearing lightweight and breathable fabrics. This is one of the key aspects to consider when choosing your outfits for humid weather as wearing tight and restrictive outfits featuring heavy materials will only worsen that feeling of heat and stickiness.
When looking for clothes for humid weather, make sure that what you add to your shopping cart features moisture-managing fabrics that will move sweat off your skin. The garments you wear in humid weather should allow the air to flow through them. This means that moist air and heat won’t be trapped under them and thus won’t enhance your discomfort.
Besides increasing the feeling of stickiness and heat, nonbreathable and non-moisture-wicking fabrics can also lead to unpleasant odors caused by the moisture that gets trapped underneath them.
Although many synthetics are described as ensuring moisture-managing features, natural fibers do a better job of soaking up moisture from your skin and helping it evaporate from the outer surface. Therefore, linen, wool, and other natural fibers are worth considering as they absorb moisture and are breathable as well.
Such fabrics ensure greater breathability than synthetic materials, such as polyester. Many synthetics create an insulating layer over the skin, which is a good thing in cold weather but something to be avoided on humid days.
Synthetics and various fabrics of thicker weaves are likely to reflect the heat back to your body and thus prevent the moist and warm air from flowing through them and escaping.
Not to mention that some synthetics are water-repellent, which will only allow sweat to build up, inhibit evaporation, and thus enhance your discomfort and even cause irritation. Silk is not recommended either, given its tendency to retain heat.
Merino wool and linen are a common choice when it comes to clothing for humid weather. While it might seem natural to wear linen, wool might raise doubts at first, but it is a breathable fabric and a more inspired option than polyester. As long as the wool items you go for are thin and light, they should keep you more comfortable. Moreover, Merino wool items won’t wrinkle like cotton and linen.
It is highly important to choose fabrics that are not only breathable but also lightweight. Heavy materials will only add to your discomfort. The clothing you wear should also dry quickly.
Usually, the lighter the fabric, the faster it will dry, which means that you will spend less time in swampy garments. Even if quick-dry fabrics don’t eliminate humidity, they make it more bearable.
As far as cotton is concerned, there is an entire debate regarding its appropriateness in humid weather. As long as you go for 100% cotton garments that are also lightweight, it should help you deal with humidity better than synthetics.
Colors and designs
On humid days, it is not enough to wear lightweight, breathable fabrics to reduce your discomfort. The colors of the clothing you wear count a lot as well. Since dark colors absorb more light and thus retain more heat, it is best to avoid them as much as possible on hot days with high levels of humidity.
Light colors instead are known to reflect light and, therefore, retain less heat, which makes them more appropriate for hot and humid days. Look for shorts, shirts, pants, and hats that come in white, tan, khaki, beige, and other light colors when building your outfits for humid weather.
Navy blue, black, purple, and other dark colors should be out of your options if you want to reduce your discomfort in humid weather. Besides these colors, there are a few designs you might want to stay away from when the humidity levels go high in your area or the place you want to explore.
Tight garments that will make it difficult for the moisture to escape and instead will help it build up should be avoided. A looser fit is recommended instead. However, too loose fashion items should also be out of your options as if they’re too baggy, they might also be heavy and thus contribute to your discomfort.
Many technical garments for outdoor adventures in humid and hot climates are designed with mesh panels or vents precisely to increase the airflow and prevent sweat from building up. Not to mention that this will further improve drying time and speed up evaporation.
Even if all garments block the sun’s rays partially, if you want to enjoy better protection, you might want to look for UPF clothing. Items that have a UPF rating should help you increase your protection against the harmful sun rays. Most such fashion items ensure UPF ratings of 15, 30, and 50+.
Accessories and other considerations
In order to keep your discomfort at a minimum, it is recommended to complete your outfits with a hat. The same rules apply to these accessories. They should be light and breathable, feature a loose fit, and dry quickly.
A cap might provide you with a bit of shade, but hats do a better job if they have a large brim that goes all the way around. On a cloudy, humid day, you might feel more comfortable with nothing on your head, though.
Consider the way the clothes you wear are made as well. You might choose a blazer featuring a breathable and light fabric, but if it has a polyester lining, for example, the outer surface won’t help you much as the lining will restrict its breathability. Unlined garments are preferable.
The shoes you wear will also have a word to say when it comes to how you feel on a humid day. Breathable models are also recommended, and even though many of us feel tempted to go without socks, think twice before doing so.
If sandals and flip-flops are out of the question, and slip-ons, moccasins, boat shoes, driving shoes, or other similar shoes that have no opening in the front or back are the only ones you can wear, then you can wear them with cotton or wool socks to prevent moisture from ruining the leather and reduce your discomfort.
Shorts, T-shirts, and sandals that will give your legs, feet, and arms room to breathe are some of the most common options. A midi sundress, preferably sleeveless, or a pair of shorts and a shirt featuring lightweight and breathable fabrics and a looser fit should help you better handle high humidity on a hot day.
If the hat doesn’t help you protect your neck and it is left exposed, you can cool it with a sun-protective neck gaiter or a lightweight cloth that you have previously dunked in water. Remove it once it starts to warm, though.