As temperatures reaching record highs across the United States, people are doing their best to stay cool. While reducing the number of layers you wear and exposing a little extra skin on hot days (with a layer of sunscreen, of course) can help, it's even better to go the extra mile by choosing your fabrics wisely.
Certain fabrics tend to cool you more efficiently than others by keeping you drier and wicking away sweat from your body, according to Reviewed's go-to fabric and textile expert Jamie Ueda. You generally want to look for terms like “quick-drying” or “fast-drying,” with fabrics that have either a slick feel or mesh paneling or cut-outs for bonus breathability. To get you started on your new summer wardrobe, check out these 10 pieces of highly-rated clothing we recommend to help keep you cool and dry this summer.
1. A breathable cropped tank
You haven’t known true workout joy until your outfit gives you a little extra breathing room. One of Lululemons’s newest tanks provides a cooling sensation in numerous ways: It features a back mesh panel and quick-drying fabric as well as a cropped length and a loose fit that allows air to breeze right over your skin.
You can snag it in lilac, white, and black, but you might want to stick to the lighter colors that won’t retain heat as much. It comes in women’s sizes 0 to 14.
2. These highly-rated biker shorts
Made with Alo’s signature Vapor material that claims to cool your body in high heat and dries it quickly, these camo biker shorts are ideal for sporty summer days. They come in four colors and feature a fabric that’s four-way stretch, anti-odor, and compressive, though the brand recommends sizing up if you seek more give. They come in women’s sizes XXS to L.
“These are a godsend,” says one reviewer. “Not too loose or tight, and [they] only squeeze you in the right places. Good length, too. They're so flattering that three of my friends went out and bought them just after seeing me in them.”
3. A fun, flowy skort
Skorts should be the garment of the summer as the built-in shorts keep you feeling covered and confined, while the flowy skirt adds a flattering level of ventilation. This one from Athleta is made with a wrinkle-resistant recycled feather-light polyester, includes a back pocket, and can be dressed up or down. Even better, it’s available in a wide size range of women's XXS to 3X.
“This skirt fits perfectly and is so cute!” says one fan. “It's also so comfortable that it could be worn all day long! It's cute enough to wear on a day full of errands and it's functional enough to wear while playing golf or tennis.”
4. A thin, lace bralette
For those days when even the slightest amount of fabric or cupping from a bra can feel suffocating, opt for this top-rated, barely-there bralette from Free People. It features a deep V-shaped front and back to allow even your thinnest tops to take center stage and a hook-and-eye closure for easy on-and-off. You can choose from eight stunning colors from smoky purple to sky in women’s sizes S to L.
It has an average 4.7-star rating, and reviewers call the scalloped lace “strong and soft to the touch, [with] no pinching or gapping” and say that the bra itself supports larger chests with no spillage.
5. Mesh leggings from Beyond Yoga
Certain hot-day activities still call for full-length pants, like when you’re going hiking, climbing, or just looking for better shielding from the sun. These beyond-adorable high-waisted leggings from Beyond Yoga feature a leopard mesh panel strategically placed at the back of the leg where sweat tends to pool and are made of the brand’s signature lightweight Supplex fabric. They come in women’s sizes XS to XL.
6. A t-shirt that doesn’t get soggy with sweat
A tank might seem like a natural choice in heat, but many of us feel comfier in breathable tees. If you fall under that camp, you’ll love this Under Armour t-shirt that has more than 7,000 reviews and a 4.6-star rating on Amazon. As part of Under Armour's HeatGear line, which is designed to keep you cool in warm weather, it has a loose fit, light sweat-wicking fabric, and comes in 45 (!) colors and women's sizes XS to XL.
One reviewer makes strong cases for investing in more than one: “I have had this shirt for a bit over three weeks, absolutely love it and work out with it almost every day. So far I have no complaints at all.”
7. A cooling bra-top hybrid
Straight out of The Girlfriend Collective’s Hot Shop collection, the moisture-wicking and four-way-stretch Dylan Bra is designed for soaring temps. Its label as a sports bra is a bit of a misnomer because it also functions as a crop top, making it a great option for those who want to try being outside in a bra without feeling too exposed. It comes in 12 colors, has a high neckline and a racerback to optimize range of motion, and nearly 5,000 reviewers rave over how well it stands up to any workout. Plus, anyone can find a fit within its inclusive range of women’s sizes from XXS to 6XL.
“This is absolutely my favorite workout top ever,” one fan writes. “I sweat a lot so the ivory color is perfect for covering that up. I feel like I always lift stronger at the gym with this top!”
8. The cult-favorite exercise dress
Why, yes, you can go for a run and to brunch in this uber cute dress, thanks to its built-in bra and bike shorts and signature LightSpeed fabric that dries in a cinch. The Outdoor Voices’ Exercise Dress had our health and fitness editor, Sara Hendricks, singing from the rooftops for the versatility and practicality. Since her review, the brand made some tweaks to make the dress even better: adjustable straps, leg grippers so the shorts don’t ride up, and a seam-free inner liner. It comes in six colors and women’s sizes XXS to XL.
Keep in mind, the dress repeatedly sells out—those 3,300 reviewers aren't wrong—so grab yours as soon as possible.
9. A popular Lululemon sports bra
While a thin, flimsy bra sounds like a great call on a hot day, it won’t carry you through your more active days. This Lululemon bra features a convenient (and trendy!) cut-out above the chest for extra breathability as well as an open back. The material itself is the brand’s proprietary Everlux, which it claims to be its most cooling and sweat-wicking yet. The bra comes in two colors and women’s sizes 2 to 12.
“Great fit and super comfortable. I actually wore it all day today because it fits so nicely,” says one happy customer.
10. A pair of breezy shorts
While bike shorts might be all the rage from a style perspective, but when temps climb, you'll want to consider making room in your closet for roomier fits. This top-rated pair of joggers from Adidas features an ultra-lightweight material, an inner drawstring waistband, and built-in briefs to prevent any embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions. They come in 44 colors and you can pick between a 3- or 4-inch inseam in women’s sizes XXS to XL.
The Pacer shorts have over 1,400 reviews on Amazon and a 4.6-star rating, with shoppers raving about how comfortable they are, particularly on hot days.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.