Growing up in west Africa, Nigeria to be precise, I was used to high temperatures and sunny days but nothing prepared me for the intensity of the hot and humid Canadian summer in the middle of July, and its only been getting hotter as the years go by.
For those of us unlucky few without the luxury of an air conditioner during the summer or plan on a vacation to some tropical location, in my experience natural materials are the best option as they can hold up to the wear and tear of daily activity with little to no damages. find out more about these alternative fabrics here Of all these options, organic linen which is naturally sourced from flax seed fibers, is the best choice for summer attires in my opinion.
So many of us are aware of the health benefits of flax grains as a food sources or as a natural alternative to hair gel when its seeds are boiled and strained, but its fiber, when made into fabric, has many fantastic properties that make it a superior clothing alternative. Linen has a long history as a clothing alternative, it can be found in history as far back as ancient Rome where only the elite could afford expensive imported fabrics made from silk or cotton fabric that had high levels of purity. Linen was one of the most accessible fabrics available to the common people way back then and it has being growing in popularity ever especially since it has an even less environmental impact through the process of production in comparison to cotton.
Here are videos showing how linen is made traditionally and at an industrial level:
Did you know that wearing linen can make you feel 3 to 4 degrees cooler than cotton or, even worse, silk. This is because linen allows air to flow freely through and around clothes, and helps to regulate the body’s temperature on crazy hot summer days. The reason for this difference in temperature, is that fabrics made from silk or cotton tend to stick to your skin which traps all the warmth and humidity generated inside your clothes and, it prevents you from feeling those winds that help you stay cool.
This material also has a high tensile strength; this means that its not only durable but it gets softer after each wash. How fantastic is that! This means no chafing or rubbing on sensitive skin or making any existing skin irritations feel even worse. For those poor souls like myself who have ridiculously sensitive skin, we know just how icky our cotton shirts feel when we get clammy and sweaty in high humidity during summer, not to mention the itchy horror known as heat rash that seems to be my curse.Well, a helpful solution exists in the form of Organic linen which works by pulling sweat on the skin to the surface of the fabric and allows moisture to evaporate quicker. I think its awesome to have the option of getting to work or an event after the battle of public transit or crazy traffic without sweat stains that take forever to dry. Like ewwwww….. even fabulous superstars like Halle Berry are not immune to this fashion faux pas:
For those going on vacation in the tropics or spending a lot of time outdoors, another cool fact to not is that Linen can give you an even better sun protection when compared to cotton. It has better SPF properties because of its tighter weave and its moisture wicking ability, it doesn’t lose its resistance to harmful ultra violet rays when wet. Now you can really enjoy those long walks exploring the sights and wonders of a new and exotic location in the sun without worrying about reapplying your sunscreen every 10 minutes. This is just perfect for me as I always forget my sunscreen and end up paying the price with sore and sensitive skin after a long day in the sun. Linen is also quite lightweight so all you summer vacationers can pack even more fabulous choices without having to worry about the extra charges from overweight luggage.
Can we be real with each other, for a second? Okay, so we all know what how quick it is to get ‘un-fresh’ in the summer and even though I have pretty good hygiene thanks mom), after spending a significant amount of time outdoors without air conditioning in summer, I find that my clothes smell quite…ripe. The combination of sweat, sun, and smog, gives my cotton summer dresses an aroma best left to ones imagination; needless to say it’s quite horrible. On the other hand, when I’ve worn linen clothes for the same duration of time, I don’t notice this issue. Apparently, Linen has super powers that defends it and makes it resistant to bacteria and mold, which means it can help in blocking the skin from daily pollutants like exhaust fumes from traffic or industrial processes. Its resistance to dirt and bacteria helps prevent it from getting too smelly which is wonderful for smell conscious people like me, and for those vacationers who do a last minute packing of dirty laundry, say goodbye to the ungodly stench released after hours of travelling with soiled clothes. Find out more about the experiences of a traveler who compared clothes made from different natural material to see how linen hold up during your journeys.