How to Wear Black in the Summer

black clothes summer

It has been drilled into us over the years that wearing black in the summer will make you hotter. Additionally, black can just look heavy, which contradicts the idea of light, airy, crisp summer fashion. While it is true that white does reflect a majority of wavelengths, keeping us cool, heat doesn’t just come off the sun, it also comes off our bodies. Considering your warm body is a heck of a lot closer to your clothing than the sun, white clothing has the ability to reflect back your own body heat back onto you whereas black can absorb it, which can keep you cooler.

If this information hasn’t broken your brain yet, according to physicists, it is important that your black clothing is as lightweight and fluid as your white clothes; meaning that black cashmere turtleneck sweater will NOT keep you cool this summer. Physicists explain that once black clothing absorbs your body heat the heat needs somewhere to go or be radiated away. This makes looser fitting black clothing in the summer ideal. Even a light wind can help with radiating heat away.

Yay for science!

How to Wear Black in the Summer

Of course, this still leaves the issue of finding black clothing and styling it in a way that looks summery. Below, I have put together five black summer looks that look cool and chic for the hottest of days.

Outfit #1

how to wear black in the summer

After blathering on about how white won’t keep you as cool as black, I am showcasing a white blazer. Let’s remember not to throw out the baby with the bathwater. A sharp, white blazer can make just about anything look summery, including black. Before you wear an outfit like this, especially to work, check your personal contrast level, as this combination can be very optic and can drown out someone with softer coloring.

In the look above, I styled a pair of black Alice + Olivia pants with a boxy v-neck top from Everlane (a personal favorite of mine) and layered a white blazer from Rag & Bone over it. I finished the look with a pair of coral pumps from Vince Camuto, Stella + Ruby multistrand necklace and black bag from Demellier.

Outfit #2

how to wear black in the summer

This black summer dress from Cos hits a lot of positive notes. It’s breathable in lyocell and cotton and has a lot of movement. I finished the dress with silver flat sandals from Franco Sarto, colorful earrings from Bauble Bar and Hobo crossbody smartphone holder.

Outfit #3

how to wear black in the summer

Last week, I did a post on kimonos, which are very popular this summer. Until I worked on this post, I didn’t think about styling one with a jumpsuit. This kimono from H&M adds some warm color to this black jumpsuit from Caslon. I finished the outfit with fern colored slip-on sneakers from Dr. Scholl’s and oyster colored handbag.

Outfit #4

how to wear black in the summer

Despite hot summer temperatures, layering is still important because it can get cold indoors. I created this layered “I’ll only wear black until something darker comes along” look with this in mind. I styled these wide-leg cropped pants with a sleeveless tunic from Eileen Fisher and cropped cardigan from Theory. To give the outfit some warmth, I added these cognac wedge sandals from Sofft, bag from Sole Society and pendant from Chico’s.

Outfit #5

how to wear black in the summer

I styled this last black summertime look using an Eileen Fisher midi skirt and J. Crew scoopneck t-shirt as the base. I finished the look with a gauzy scarf in shades of grey, taupe crossbody bag from Tory Burch and red slides from Sam Edelman.

Not only can black keep you cool in the summer, it can look super chic and stylish. I hope these outfits give you some ideas and inspiration.