by Betty Nguyen
I was always encouraged to wear white in the summer, since white clothing is supposed to keep us cool, right? When I visited Morocco, I noticed some men wearing all-black robes. So what gives?
Generally in summer, we wear our loose summery white clothing. Not only is the white supposed to look nice (think P. Diddy’s yacht parties) — people claim that white is the ideal way to keep cool in the summer. And wearing black absorbs the heat and makes us toastier.
Well, not exactly. Because while all that certainly sounds great in theory, there are a few other elements that might be working against the light clothing adage. Let’s start with some academic research where the researchers were perplexed at the fact that in crazy heat, the residents of the Sinai desert wore black robes instead of white. What they found was when they tested white robes versus black, the differences were nil. They found that the black clothing did absorb more heat, but that’s where it stayed: In other words, the black soaks up additional heat, but that extra is lost by the time it actually gets to your skin. Way more useful for keeping cool, however? The fact that the robes are loose is to create airflow.
So, the ultimate answer is — it doesn’t make a huge difference whether you’re wearing black or white in hot weather. As long as you keep your clothes loose and comfortable, you’re probably going to feel hot no matter what.
Sources: Nature and The Guardian