Summer Layering Made Simple
The scorching, searing, sweaty summer is here for most of us. But that’s no reason to stop layering, says Maryam Yusof.
‘Don’t you feel warm wearing that?’
In sunny Singapore, where it seems like the heat is all anyone ever talks about, I’ve been asked this question on numerous occasions – especially since I wear a hijab and insist on layering every day.
The thing is, in my experience, wearing a hijab and layering on a scorching hot day isn’t much more unbearable than wearing a t-shirt with a knee-length skirt. Yet my insistence on layering has met with considerable concern from my non-Muslim friends, who seem to worry that I might suffer a heatstroke one day.
Still, I love to layer and will continue to do so. I find layering an outfit much more interesting than sticking to a single colour or pattern. Plus, layering increases the frequency of use for my items; I am able to use the same article of clothing multiple times by switching things around. And let’s face it: It can be incredibly difficult to find amazing long-sleeve shirts, making layering pretty much a necessity.
With summer now in full swing in many parts of the world, here are some tips to help you layer while staying dry and dashing.
Wear the Right Materials
The key to layering well for warm weather is picking the right fabrics. It goes without saying that thick fabrics like leather and knits should be avoided. Instead, opt for lightweight and breathable fabrics like cotton, silk, rayon and linen. These materials allow circulation of air, allowing warm air to escape, making you cooler. Generally, textiles with higher natural fibre contents are cooler than synthetic materials (like polyester), so check the labels before purchasing!
Light and Bright
In school, we were taught that dark colours absorb heat. This is completely true – so keep your clothes light coloured in summer! As chic as black looks, wearing dark colours will make you feel warmer than wearing light colours.
Keep it Loose
When we perspire, our sweat begins to evaporate, allowing the skin to cool and the body’s temperature to decrease. Wearing loose-fitting clothing will increase air circulation, speeding up sweat evaporation. This will help to prevent potential health issues, such as heat rashes and heatstroke, which have a link to wearing tight clothing. Instead of wearing constricting skinny jeans, get chic straight cut or palazzo pants or maxi-skirts. Boyfriend jeans are also great for laid-back weekends.
If you somehow accumulated a bunch of sleeveless tops before you started to wear a hijab, don’t throw them out! Keep them and wear them underneath a jacket or blazer. Avoid wearing a long-sleeve top underneath your top layer because the multiple layers will warm you up.
The Art of Layering
I’ve been told several times by friends that they avoid layering because it causes a big headache about how to pair the clothing. Here are three looks you can consider:
The T-shirt with Blazer Look
I’ve got a small obsession with blazers; this is one of my favourite looks. Blazers can immediately dress up a casual outfit. The boyfriend blazer is long enough to keep your outfits loose and modest. For summer comfort, look for drapey blazers or those without an inner lining.
Maxi-dresses and skirts are great items to have in your wardrobe during summer because they’re loose and airy. And since many of the maxi-dresses in the market are sleeveless, layering is a must.
A favourite in my closet are kimono jackets. Typically made from silk or chiffon, they are incredibly comfortable and breezy when worn over a long-sleeved t-shirt. You can find these jackets in a multitude of patterns and prints in many high street stores.
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