When it comes to finding the ideal shirt for summer, the goal seems simple: to stay cool. However, with various fabric variations and style crossovers, making the right choice can be a bit more complex. That's why we've put together a comprehensive yet focused guide to help you select the perfect shirt fabric for the warmer months.
The key to a cool summer shirting fabric lies in its breathability. While lightweight fabrics may seem like the obvious choice, it's important to prioritize breathability over weight. Superfine fabrics, although lightweight, are often densely woven, making them less breathable and less suitable for warm weather.
Breathability is influenced by three factors: the fiber, the yarn, and the weave. Cotton, the most common shirting fiber, offers decent breathability. However, linen surpasses it. Linen's strength allows for loose weaving, ensuring excellent breathability. Its cool-to-the-touch feel further enhances its appeal, thanks to its efficient heat conduction (similar to metal).
Though linen tends to wrinkle, which some find charming but others may consider too casual for formal shirts, a linen/cotton blend strikes a balance. It combines the sharpness of cotton with the breathability of linen, making it a recommended choice throughout the year. It maintains adequate breathability without sacrificing too much formality.
Considering the weave, opt for more open and less dense weaves. For instance, a plain weave or broadcloth is more breathable than a twill in basic cotton fabrics. Special warm-weather weaves like zephyr, with its square weave construction, offer exceptional breathability.
Specialist cotton yarns also make a difference. High-twist yarns, such as voile, enhance breathability and strength, similar to linen. Muslin, on the other hand, employs a lightweight yarn, resulting in a softer fabric but with increased wrinkle susceptibility.
Cotton weaves and yarns, including voile and muslin, may become sheer or transparent. To mitigate this, opt for darker colors. This limitation in style is one reason why linen and linen/cotton remain popular choices.
Seersucker, known for its waffly weave, offers a light and breathable option, although the bubbly appearance might not appeal to everyone. Chambray, while not inherently light and breathable, can be an alternative for those who favor denim shirts.
Finishing treatments can enhance shirts' performance in hot weather, including UV ray reflection and thermoregulation. Linen shirts are also available with anti-wrinkle treatments. Although these treatments have improved in quality over the years, prioritizing fiber or weave for breathability is recommended unless you specifically dislike wrinkling or transparency.
While treatments can help address odor, the suggested linens and cottons are naturally breathable, minimizing odor concerns in summer. Longevity might be a consideration as these lighter and more open fabrics tend to be more delicate. However, linen stands out in durability, surpassing most cottons in terms of longevity and resistance to pilling.
Linen also takes colors exceptionally well, particularly natural and earthy tones, which align perfectly with summer shirts' aesthetics. Overall, a cotton/linen blend presents an excellent option for a versatile summer shirt. However, choose the right moments: linen exudes beauty when freshly ironed and works best for casual occasions or vacations. Fabrics like Giro Inglese, with their remarkable lightweight feel, are ideal for those sensitive to heat or humidity. Zephyr can offer both breathability and uniqueness, particularly in darker shades for evening wear.
Explore our range of summer shirts crafted from carefully selected fabrics, tailored to provide you with the ultimate blend of comfort and style.