Apparel to Help You Beat the Summer Heat

As we approach May, many of us continue to complain about the chilly, windy weather plaguing Illinois. However, there will come a time in the very near future when it is going to be HOT outside. If we’re lucky, we’ll be blessed with a few weeks of mild temperatures, but normally we go straight from cool to feeling like we’re sitting on the surface of the sun.

When the inevitable heat returns to Illinois, there will be a number of things you can do to keep cool and beat the heat. Maybe you actively spend as much time as possible at the lake or any other body of water that you can find. Maybe you channel your inner Howie from Benchwarmers and simply avoid the sun as much as humanly possible.

If you’re looking for a tactic that’s a little more sustainable, we’ve got some suggestions on apparel that can help keep you cool as a cucumber all summer long.

Color Matters

This may seem obvious, but when we talk about what kind of shirts to wear when it’s hot outside, color is a good place to start. The darker the color of the shirt, the hotter you’re going to be. We highly suggest avoiding black shirts for the heat of the summer. If you’d like to deep-dive into the science behind why black absorbs light and white doesn’t check out this article from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Moral of the story, darker color shirts will make you hotter. Lighter color shirts can help keep you cool.

As we mentioned, black is a definite one to stay away from, but don’t overlook other darker colors either. Colors like navy, maroon, plum and dark grey are also dark enough to make you hot and should probably be avoided in the summer months.

In contrast, the lighter the shirt the better. White is ideal, but colors like yellow, light grey, pink and tan can be great choices to keep you cool.

There is quite literally a whole spectrum of color choices. There are different shades and variations of all colors. Think about your brand and the colors in your logo. What color shirt might go well? Even if you normally favor darker colors for your brand, don’t be afraid to venture a little outside the norm for something lighter that might keep you from having a literal meltdown throughout the hot months.

Blends, Mixes and Percentages

The world of t-shirts and apparel is rich with different ways to talk about fabrics and their makeup. You’ll see and hear things like blends, mixes and what percentage of the materials is what type of fabric. Historically, t-shirts almost always used to be made with cotton - usually 100% cotton. Today, however, most shirts are some sort of blend of materials. Whether it be polyester, rayon or something else entirely, blended fabrics tend to be more lightweight than straight cotton apparel.

We don’t mean to hate on cotton. It is a fantastic fabric that is still very much at the forefront of many of the clothes we wear day to day. On it’s own, however, cotton can be thick, heavy and not particularly breathable. The magic happens when you blend it with something else.

When ordering apparel, don’t be afraid to ask what the shirt is made out of. There are SO many different options available at so many different price points. There is absolutely no reason to settle for a shirt that is going to make you sweat like you just ran a marathon.

So You’ve Signed Up for Some Golf Outings...

Summertime also ushers in the season of the golf outing. If you’ve found yourself signed up for a few outings throughout the summer, we can help make sure you aren’t sweating through your polos by hole 3.

When purchasing polos or collared shirts be sure to look for terms like moisture wicking or moisture management. A lot (but not all!) polos are made out of fabrics specifically blended to help keep sweat and heat off your body. We really like this polo from JERZEES. It has a number of different features specifically created to help keep you cool.

If the polo you’re looking at doesn’t specifically list any moisture or heat features, make sure to reference the paragraphs above. What color is it? Is it composed of any sort of blended fabric?

Working Outside

If you work outside, first, we appreciate you and commend you for all that you do. Second, this blog has some serious significance for you. You know first-hand and on a daily basis how much apparel matters in terms of heat. You’ve probably spent more time than you care to think about sweating through t-shirts.

If you’re in an industry that requires high visibility shirts, good news, you’ve already completed one step in the process. Hi vis shirts are typically either neon green or neon orange - both of which are lighter colors.

If you have more free will over what color your apparel is, keep in mind the above paragraph about color. Just to reiterate, the lighter the better!

Regardless of whether you wear hi-vis or not, material of apparel is very important. As we mentioned, look for blended, lightweight fabrics. Similarly to polos, you’ll see words like moisture wicking or moisture management. You might also keep your eye out for terms like microfiber and performance. These phrases are good indicators for which apparel might be best for longs days out in the sun.

Not Just T-Shirts

Summer apparel isn’t just limited to t-shirts and polos. When ordering items, keep in mind options like tank tops and sleeveless shirts that will give you even more breathing room. Don’t be afraid of tank tops as an option for your business. There are unisex options, ones with wide straps or even high neck versions that are great if you’re looking to be more professional or conservative. This Bella + Canvas option is a great, standard tank top made of a really wonderful blended fabric.

Hats could be a whole blog post in itself, so we’ll try and keep this short and simple. The same rules that apply for t-shirts and polos apply for hats too. The color of the hat and the material in which it is made are VERY important when talking about how warm that hat is going to make you. Hats are particularly important to think about because they are usually the first thing the sun gets to (unless you’re laying on a beach). The thicker and darker your hat is the toastier your noggin is going to be. In terms of hats, we also highly recommend looking for something that has a mesh back or or is made of a lightweight material. Trucker hats are having a bit of a resurgence lately and we love a hat that caters to women with a hole for ponytails.



Whether you are ordering for yourself or a whole team of people, keep in mind these things when ordering apparel to be worn in the hot, summer months. Color and material are the two big things to keep in mind whether you are ordering t-shirts or new swag to wear out on the greens. No matter what, you don’t want to make yourself or others even more miserable by ordering apparel that makes them feel even hotter.

Think about what you’re picking out and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

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