The Summer of Wool: An Unlikely Match Made in Heaven

The words “wool” and “summer” appear, at first blush, to want nothing to do with one another. When the temperature climbs, the last thing someone wants is a heavy, scratchy, heat-dome-like garment. And for a long time, that was the only wool material on the market. 

But wool is having a renaissance right now, and it’s shedding that “winter wear only” label to become one of the more unlikely trends of the upcoming summer. 

In this article, let’s explore how and why you should incorporate wool into your 2024 summer wardrobe. 

Not Any Wool Will Do

To start, let’s stipulate one thing: We aren’t talking about any old wool. That coarse cable-knit fisherman’s sweater you love layering in the winter should stay in your closet. It has no place in the sweltering heat. 

Instead, let’s turn your attention to Merino wool, an outlier among wool types that’s lighter, airier, and much more conducive to heat and humidity. When shopping for summer wool looks, search for Merino options. 

A Guide to Choosing the Right Wool Clothing for Summer

With that caveat in mind, let’s look at some summer wool criteria. If you’re shopping for a cute top or wool dress for summer, look for the following: 

  • Superfine fibers: This is key for summer wear. The fineness of the fibers indicates how soft and (to an extent) how sweat-wicking the material will be. Look for any material with a “superfine” designation, roughly the equivalent of a high thread count sheet. 
  • Neutral designs: You want to mix and match your wool clothing, so opt for clean, minimal and neutrally-colored designs without flashy logos or flourishes. 
  • Well-made, structured and cut: Wool – even Merino – can sometimes be too drapey or stiff for summer wear. Find a middle ground of well-made, structured items cut for both leisure and activity. 

If you’re the kind of shopper who prefers visual cues, the link above sends you to a good example of these criteria. 

Why Wear Lightweight Merino Wool in Hot Weather?

Besides looking and feeling great, Merino wool carries several advantages over common materials like cotton and polyester – especially in summer. Whether you’re taking your garment for a beach vacation in humid Southeast Asia or sweating through the dry heat of a southern city, here’s why Merino wool is your go-to clothing: 

  • Sweat-wicking and breathable: Merino wool “wicks” sweat, meaning it moves moisture from your body and dissipates it in the open air, making it a breezy, breathable alternative to other common summer materials. 
  • Antibacterial for odor-resistance: Merino wool is antibacterial, fighting away odor-causing microbes in your sweat. The result? These wool clothes rarely ever smell bad, staying fresh for ages. 
  • Wrinkle resistance: This one’s particularly important for travelers. The superfine fibers in Merino wool act like little coil springs, bouncing back into place after being stuffed in a bag or drawer. You always look put-together in wool clothing, which is essential when taking those obligatory summer social media photos. 
  • Fast-drying: Finally, Merino wool dries very quickly. If you get caught by sprinklers, lost in a flash thunderstorm or hit by high tide, you can rest easy knowing your wool clothes will dry fast. 

Wool and summer may seem like strange bedfellows. However, with the right make, makeup and cut, a wool garment can be your new favorite summer standby.

Image by svetlanasokolova on Freepik

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