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What to Wear When It’s Humid Outside

The only thing worse than sweating through your favorite shirt is realizing that the fabric doesn’t handle moisture well and is now clinging desperately to your body. As a general rule, items with less shape will keep you cooler in extreme heat, but if you’ve already exhausted your caftan collection, it might be time to go shopping. Below, we’ve rounded up the best items in fabrics that are guaranteed to keep you cool, from gauze tops and cotton dresses to chambray pants.

If you want to wear denim but don’t want the heavy-duty kind that you wear in the winter, chambray is your happy medium.

This versatile J Brand dress can be worn with heels or sneakers. Layer a bodysuit underneath on cooler nights.
J Brand Dress, $270 at Net-A-Porter

Or go for a classic summer off-the-shoulder shirt from Tibi tucked into flared jeans.
Tibi Top, $345 at Net-A-Porter

Flowy and feminine in silhouette. Since it’s so short, we’d recommend wearing it with flats or platform sneakers.
Proenza Schouler Dress, $237 at Neiman Marcus

High-waisted chambray pants are a lifesaver when you know you’ll be cool indoors but don’t want to be burning up outside.
Solid & Striped Pants, $198 at Orchid Mile

While it’s probably a no-brainer to wear cotton in the summer, we found some silhouettes that can make you feel even cooler.

This dress from Loup Charmant is so fluid, it practically flows in the wind.
Loup Charmant Dress, $450 at Loup Charmant

The perfect dress for when you’re running errands and have dinner plans later in the day. It’s comfortable, chic, and a great color for summer.
Madewell dress, $158 at Madewell

With its boxy shape, this blouse looks good tucked in or not.
The Great Blouse, $110 at Net-A-Porter

Wear this checked Miu Miu shirt as a crop top, or pair it with a high-waisted skirt for a more modest approach. 
Miu Miu Top, $372 at MyTheresa

Boho floral dresses are often made of lightweight gauze and viscose blends, which is what makes them perfect for summer. But even if you’re not into that aesthetic, there are still options out there.

This airy dress from Étoile Isabel Marant has a drawstring waist and flattering fit.
Étoile Isabel Marant dress, $325 at Net-A-Porter

There’s really no wrong way to wear a checked wrap shirt like this, but we like it played down with an all-black look to keep the focus on the pattern.
T by Alexander Wang Top, $350 at Barneys New York

Photo: Aritzia

The scooped neckline and crisscross back make this an easy stunner.
Aritzia Blouse, $65 at Aritzia

The high side slits on this Stateside tunic give you a constant breeze. Roll up the sleeves if the fabric is too much for you.
Stateside Tunic, $107 at Azalea

Of all the summer-friendly fabrics, dressy silk is the one that can work for the widest range of occasions.

This Saul wrap top can be made into a crop top or tied in the back for work. 
Saul Wrap Top, $98 at Saul

So ‘90s, and it looks just as good by itself as when it’s paired with slim-fit jeans. 
Modern Citizen Tunic Dress, $78 at Modern Citizen

Just as easy to wear with white jeans or a fun printed skirt. 
Topshop Blouse, $60 at Topshop

Wear this to work in the summer when you don’t feel like ironing and need to look polished.
Frame Wrap Dress, $160 at Net-A-Porter

What to Wear When It’s Humid Outside