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Thursday, October 6, 2022

Why cotton can cause colds and linen itches: what are really the best fabrics against heat | Fashion

The summer wardrobe is different from the winter one: thick fabrics, warm wool sweaters and most of the long sleeves and pants disappear, and everything is filled with fine and light fabrics and designs that leave more skin in the open air . The chromatic range also changes, which is usually lighter (there are, as in everything, exceptions), and the type of garments, which tend to be more vaporous. We all know how to distinguish at first glance a garment that we would wear in the summer that we are used to from one that we would leave for the colder months, but we do not always take into account all the factors that come into play. That is why sometimes we make mistakes (that sweater that is not really warm, that shirt that seemed cool and only makes us sweat) and we end up condemning some garments to a well-deserved ostracism for not fulfilling what was promised. What must be taken into account when choosing a garment that keeps us warm or keeps us fresh to always be right? The fabric It is the first thing you always think of, although, as we will see later, it is not the only thing. Among the fabrics for the summer, we usually go to cotton and linen, which have a reputation for being cooler. Why is this? What makes a fabric warm or pleasant on hot days? “From the point of view of textile technology, you have to play with two factors: one is thermal conductivity —which is more or less insulating— and the other is breathability or moisture absorption capacity”, explains Elisabeth Lorenzi, a model maker at clothing and professor of Textile Materials in the Fashion Design degree at the University of Nebrija. Among natural fibers, she points out, wool is a very poor thermal conductor, which makes it more insulating. That is why we usually use it to protect ourselves from the cold. For their part, “cellulose fibers (cotton, linen or artificial fibers such as viscose or lyocel) are good transmitters of temperature, good thermal conductors, so they do not generate that barrier and can dissipate body heat” , point. However, because nothing on this subject is as simple as it seems, by not insulating, in addition to allowing the heat emitted by your body to dissipate, “they can also make external heat reach you.” Also be careful if you notice that a linen shirt, dress or skirt is itchy: it is very likely that it is not 100% linen, since this is a fabric that, in its purest version, is not itchy at all, and is so soft as susceptible to wrinkling. When linen itches, it is because it is a variant called “Japanese linen” made up of 65% polyester and 35% ramie, a fiber similar to linen although much rougher. Then there is the issue of breathability. Cotton and linen fibers (cellulose fibers) are highly breathable and help regulate temperature. “The key is that you have to accompany the process of the body, because clothes are like a second skin. In this regulation, when it’s hot, one of the most important factors is sweat.” If the fabric is breathable, it helps expel moisture from sweat, which is what the body tries to do (sweat evaporates and cools us down). If that moisture does not come out because of a poorly breathable fabric, we will get soaked (think of dressing in a plastic garment in summer, for example). The buts also begin here. “A typical mistake when we sweat a lot is to use a cotton shirt,” explains Enric Carrera, director of the Textile Research Institute (INTEXTER) of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. “This fiber absorbs a lot of sweat, but as it also has a great capacity for retaining moisture, it saturates quickly, it does not evaporate easily and therefore we have that unpleasant sensation of a wet and cold garment that can lead us to a cold. ”. This is the reason why, for example, sportswear designed to function as the first layer is usually made of fibers such as polyester, which does not absorb moisture, but rather transfers it to the outside, “where the circulating air will take care of evaporating the sweat without the unpleasant sensation of cold”, he indicates. From Moda España they also explain that the mixture of fabrics is important. “For example, polyester is very advanced and is mixed with other fabrics that are warm in winter and in summer —depending on the type of polyester, because there are very cheap and more expensive than silk— they will be cooler. However, they indicate that consumers do not usually pay much attention to all these aspects. “Consumers, mainly, do not want to iron”, they explain. Fabrics that are good for heat, such as cotton, linen or hemp, need a lot of ironing. Mango white linen dress. Photo: Courtesy of Mango Design The fabric is important, but the key, says Enric Carrera, is the design of the garment. “The design demands will depend a lot on the external environmental conditions. Whether to protect from cold or heat. If you have to prevent the entry of rainwater, but allow perspiration or not (as in the case of waterproof but breathable garments or footwear covered by Goretex-type membranes, ”he explains. Something elementary here is the looseness of the garment, which is why which in summer we usually prefer less tight clothing “The possibility, or not, of regulating the ventilation and air circulation inside the garment, which facilitates the renewal of the air that is in contact with the skin, the evaporation of sweat, etc. For this reason, in summer we use loose-fitting garments with different openings. In the case of outerwear, the closures at the cuffs, waist and neck are essential to prevent heat loss, “says the expert. For his part, Elisabeth Lorenzi adds that other elements come into the design, such as the strategic points found in technical clothing such as sportswear.”Technical running clothing, for runners, has mesh in the armpits instead of closed fabric,” she gives as an example. The type of activity you are going to do It is not the same to be sitting on a terrace having a drink than to go cycling. It’s immediately visible on clothing: don’t cyclists get hot in those tight-fitting synthetic tights? Beyond the fact that sports textiles, especially professional ones, are usually very advanced, there are extra elements such as the wind that you notice when moving at high speed. “Synthetic fabrics are a good thermal conductor, they dissipate heat, but their absorption capacity is poor, you retain moisture in your body. If you hold it and it gives you air, it’s good, but if you’re sitting on a terrace, it’s unpleasant, ”she explains Lorenzi. The thickness and porosity of the fabric Our instinct works well here: thick clothes in winter, thin in summer. “Air is the best thermal insulator there is,” says Enric Carrera. Thus, if we want to stay warm, it is a good idea for the fabric to retain air. “Thick, porous fabrics are more insulating. A clear example is polar fleece, even though it is made of polyester (a fiber with a medium-high thermal conductivity and therefore allows the heat of the human body to escape). The secret of fleece linings is their high thickness and the air chamber they contain”, he points out. Ambient humidity Anyone who has experienced a dry heat like Madrid and a humid one like Valencia knows that they are not the same. Although with humid heat you sweat more, that ambient humidity makes it harder for sweat to evaporate, so our cooling system works less well. In these cases, Elisabeth Lorenzi indicates that it is necessary to remove the sweat from the body so as not to get soaked. She says that for example in Japan, where the heat is very humid, people dry themselves with wipes. She, when she was there, “how it worked best was with very porous garments, with a very open weave and made of linen”. The color It is also no coincidence that, in general, summer clothing is lighter in color. This is because “the sensation of heat also depends on the transmission of heat by radiation”, explains Enric Carrera. “The closer a color is to black, the more heat it absorbs from the radiation source,” he says. Sun protection The theme of teaching skin is very good when we are not going to be in the sun all the time. If we are going to be exposed, the ideal is to use protection or also use clothing: cover up. However, wearing just any long-sleeved shirt is not enough, as evidenced by the fact that there are already clothing items —especially sportswear or swimsuits— that indicate their ultraviolet protection factor (UPF). Enric Carrera cites several studies that have concluded a series of extra aspects that must be taken into account. “Darker colors and denser fabrics protect us more from the sun’s rays, and for example, a polyester garment (this being a synthetic fiber) protects more than one made of cotton (natural fiber)”, he indicates.

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– Article Written By @Ana Bulnes from https://smoda.elpais.com/moda/el-algodon-puede-producir-resfriados-y-el-lino-pica-cuales-son-realmente-los-mejores-tejidos-contra-el-calor/

Nicole Aniston
Nicole loves to write and works as a corporate communications expert by day. She's been working in the field for quite some time now. Her training in media studies has provided her a wide perspective from which to tackle various issues. Public relations, corporate communications, travel, entrepreneurship, insurance, and finance are just few of the many topics she's interested in covering in her work.
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