Stay Cool in Black Dresses This Summer

Woman wearing a sleeveless black dress in the summer

Black dresses exude elegance and style in an unspoken way that other colors cannot.

Whether it’s a chic, satin slip dress, a simple, cotton T-shirt or an edgy leather biker jacket, black is to fashion what the red lip is to beauty.

So, when it comes to summertime and the heat rises, why do we banish our black dresses and shoes in favor of their lighter, brighter counterparts?

For many, it’s the connotation of winter when it comes to black.

Even the most daring off fashionistas tend not to pull out their white dresses and baby pink florals during the winter months.

So, summer is seen as the acceptable time to try out something a little different.

But for most, we’ve been brought up to accept and repeat the idea of black being too hot for summer.

Many of us have recognized this as fact and followed the fashion rule, solemnly packing away our favorite pieces until wintertime.

But imagine if this wasn’t the case.

Imagine if, in fact, black was perfectly acceptable and comfortable to wear in the sun.

If your favorite black dresses were indeed the perfect choice for a beach stroll.

Here, we take a look at the facts and fiction of wearing black during the summer and whether or not it does absorb heat and actually make you feel warmer.

When it comes to fabric choices, heat can be affected greatly.

We’re going to explore the the best fabric choices when wearing back in the summer.

We’ll also show you how to style your favorite pieces slightly differently to ensure you’re always sunning appropriately in black.

If you choose to disregard this ancient fashion rule and keep your black wardrobe active regardless of the heat, we take you through a couple of things to avoid when wearing black in the summer.

These simple style evasions will ensure you’re never left too hot for comfort because of your fashion picks.

Why Does Black Clothing Make You Feel Warmer?

Woman wearing a long black dress near a building

It has long been said that wearing black clothing and shoes in the winter is more likely to burn us up and make us feel much hotter than we need to.

The alternative, wearing white or bright colors, has been said to reflect the suns heat, keep us aired and cool during those hot, summer days.

However, looking a little further into the matter, your black outfits might not need to be banished to the backs of your wardrobes until autumn rolls around again.

This is because a sneak piece of physics insider info has come to light to teach us a thing or two about fashion.

Who knew?

If we compare black and white clothing we can look a little more into why black clothes make you feel warmer when out in the sun.

Or do they?

Fashion and tradition tell us that white clothing is the perfect choice for sunshine, as its color reflects the heat from the sun and expels it away from us.

While this is true, our beautiful white outfit also reflects the heats our bodies are naturally giving off and echoes it directly back to our skin, actually making us feel warmer.

Now, physics tells us that black absorbs heat.

Whilst this means that black clothing absorbs the heat from the sun, it also absorbs our body heat and doesn’t reflect it back to us.

Team this with a summers day breeze and the heat is blown away from us, actually keeping us cooler.

The most important aspect to ensure this works with the physics rules is the fabric of our black outfits.

What Types Of Fabrics Will Keep You Cool?

Some fabrics are drastically more breathable than others, which means when the heat rises and the sun is shining, you can keep your cool when rocking your favorite dark look.

Your number one go-to fabric is 100% cotton.

This is a natural fiber, which lets air circulate through it more easily than other fabrics.

Ditch the synthetic alternatives to cotton-like Polyester in the summer and remember to always check the label for 100% cotton to prevent you from overheating.

You can find 100% cotton dresses in almost every style, from basic tank-style midi dresses to Bardot skater minis.

Due to its natural composition, if cotton was to become a little moist, it not only dries out quickly but is much less likely to leave a watermark on the surface of the material.

So, it’s a perfect choice if you tend to sweat a little more than you’d like.

Linen is known as a typical summery fabric, but this isn’t without reason.

Again, it’s a natural fabric, which has been weaved together incredibly lightly, meaning it doesn’t absorb heat, but rather lets the air flow freely so the heat can escape.

Linen doesn’t just mean shirts and wide-leg trousers, now you can find chic summer dresses at all lengths in this sun-friendly fabric.

When it comes to linen, you will struggle to avoid creases.

Tip: If you’re overtly opposed to the dreaded crease, source a linen blend, which will be slightly easier on the eye and iron.

Chambray is a fantastic alternative to denim for the summer.

It’s a super-light weave that will keep you cool and give the sense of a black denim skirt or shirt-dress with a much more comfortable and light finish.

So, if you’re a denim lover, switch to this weaved fabric for summer and you can coolly continue your jean-dress lover affair.

How To Style Black Dresses To Keep Cool

Woman wearing a lace black dress and sitting in a forest during sunset

With just a couple of styling tips, your head to toe black look can be instantly summered appropriate and leave you just as cool as an all-white outfit.

Choose Lighter Fabrics

Sheer is in.

It works best with black and it’s a winning way to keep cool this summer.

Paired with a lace bralette and edgy high-waisted pants or shorts, sheer black dresses are a great way to style your way through the heat.

Keep it casual with trainers or slides during the day, if you dare, or dress it up at night with sky-high heels.

Black doesn’t have to be heavy.

Select pieces with a lace or scalloped trim for a prettier finish and take the opportunity to opt for 90’s-esque spaghetti straps over heavier options.

Add Some Color

Styling black dresses with dainty heels, especially nude or pastel palettes, instead of chunkier black styles, lifts the whole outfit.

The best thing about a black summer wardrobe is that black goes with anything.

You can style black dresses with white, for a monochrome look, with seasonal pastels or florals, for a more feminine take, or add a pop of color, from bold red to electric blue.

Fashion has recently said it’s (temporary, we’re sure) goodbye to skinny trousers.

Gone are the slick, thigh-hugging cigarette pants and enter a looser, relaxed vibe.

Opting for black loose-fit, wide-leg trousers or culottes is one way to style an all-black outfit, ensuring it’s not in the abandonment of comfort and coolness.


Don’t forget how much accessories can do to boost an outfit.

So, you’re wearing a black maxi dress on a hot summer’s day.

By adding chic wedges, a huge, wide-brimmed hat, and this season’s “it” straw bag, the look is transformed. Plus, never forget your favorite pair of seasonal sunglasses.

Tip – The addition of a few layers of on-trend, super-delicate gold chains makes any look summer-ready without piling on heavy statement necklaces, which are no good in the sun.

What To Avoid When Wearing Black Dresses In The Summer

Woman wearing a black dress, floral headpiece and holding a guitar in a park

Black dresses in the summer can still keep you cool as a cucumber.

However, there are definitely some razor-sharp rules to stick to when it comes to which fabrics to avoid like the plague during these sun-filled days.

From obvious leather choices to more evasive fabrics like Rayon, let’s look at which materials to seriously avoid when wearing black this summer.


Leather or faux leather is an obvious choice.

The thickness of the fabric can really lock in your natural body heat and, in black, it will continue to absorb heat from the sun, which can be a tricky combination when you’re trying to keep your cool.

However, if it’s leather you love, ditch the trousers and leather jacket and try pairing your favorite floaty midi skirt with a loose-fitted leather top.

This incorporates the rugged fabric into your look without it spoiling your summer’s day.


Don’t get mad, but, for summer, denim really should be a no-no.

At a time when a chic, black denim dress is all you’re wishing for, denim’s heavyweight composition is actually your enemy when it comes to staying cool.

As we have mentioned, if you’re still in love with the look, take note when it comes to fabric labels and make the switch to chambray instead, you won’t regret it.

Rayon & Polyester

Rayon and polyester are both synthetic fabrics that should be avoided at all costs during the summer.

Many garments made from these fabrics appear light and summer-friendly when you’re in the cool, air-conditioned store.

However, their man-made composition actually repels, rather than absorbs moisture.

This means there is no escape for your natural body heat, leaving you becoming increasingly hotter and more uncomfortable.

Find the black dresses that you like in these fabrics in cotton and you’re on to a winner.

The myth of avoiding wearing black in summer is exactly that.

With just a few simple styling changes and careful selection of fabrics, there’s no reason that your favorite black dress can’t be your summer wardrobe staple.