Natural-fibre tops, good in hot weather, without ironing?
April 16, 2018 12:00 AM   Subscribe

I need some tops to wear that are comfortably cool in hot weather. I want them to be made of natural fibres (a little elastane would be the exception). (I'd count Tencel as a natural fibre, as it's compostable.) I do have to look reasonably smart, but I'm not going to be ironing my tops.

I often wear stretch jersey-knit cotton tops, as these don't need ironing. However, stretch jersey fabric is quite clingy. That's OK in winter, but not great in hot weather, when you need loose clothes that cover up as much skin as possible (if you're outside and it's sunny).

Is Tencel a good option in terms of wrinkle-resistance? How about cotton cheesecloth? Cotton seersucker? Jersey-knit blouses (I'm picturing something non-clingy... - does this exist?) Particular weaves that barely wrinkle??

If any of these are good - please help me find them! I'm not finding many garments made of any of those fabrics.

Style preferences: I prefer to avoid formal collars, and prefer minimal ruffles etc that would make it difficult to put on a cardi. I'd like at least some tops with long sleeves, to keep the sun off. With non-stretchy tops, I prefer ones that have some bust (and, ideally, waist) shaping; because I'm slim, I tend to look like I have no shape unless my clothes follow my contours a bit. (Pretty much all blouses in UK shops are straight up and down at the moment, rather than gently shaped to the bust.)

I wouldn't be happy to wear a "non-iron" shirt, as they can release formaldehyde.
posted by tangerine_poppies to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
A true, all-cotton seersucker would work. You might need to hand smooth creases from the edges while wet and hang to dry but it's supposed to wrinkle. It's cool and non-clingy.
posted by Botanizer at 7:13 AM on April 16, 2018

How about linen or silk?
posted by scrubjay at 7:18 AM on April 16, 2018

Linen is like the wrinkliest fabric known to man.

Unfortunately, a ton of manufacturers have gone to a boxy cut, not because it looks good on any-damn-body, but because it's cheaper to make. Ponte wrinkles less (there is cotton ponte, although it will necessarily have a bit of stretch), but might be too heavy for you for warmer weather--worth a try?
posted by praemunire at 8:00 AM on April 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yes to linen, no to silk. Linen breathes, silk doesn't (in my experience).
posted by aniola at 8:23 AM on April 16, 2018

I have been really appreciating modal/linen blends for summer. They breathe and drape beautifully, and the modal content prevents wrinkling. In case you're not familiar with it, modal is a type of rayon spun from beech tree cellulose. A few examples:
Modal/linen T from Uniqlo
Linen/modal from Garnet Hill

You can also find lots of cotton/modal blends, which are drapey and soft and generally thinner than all-cotton fabrics, though not quite as cool as the linen/modal blends. Check out Alternative Apparel (a sustainable clothing brand) offerings, for instance.
posted by ourobouros at 9:18 AM on April 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

Linen hung up to air dry will be wrinkle free.
posted by brujita at 9:48 AM on April 16, 2018

What you want is something woven, not knit. Any knitted fabric (like jersey) will be more clingy and drapey, any woven fabric will be more stand-away-from-skin-y.

Cotton madras is another good one to add to your list, and yeah - with these wrinkle-prone fabrics like linen or madras, steaming (eg hang them up in bathroom after a shower) and hang-drying can go a long way.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:44 AM on April 16, 2018

I discovered the Oh My Gauze line at a gift shop in the beach town we visit ever summer. Their styles are all over the place - some very blousy and others more structured (but not tight). Gauze doesn't really wrinkle, which is great, but it won't ever look crisp like regular cotton.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 2:30 PM on April 16, 2018

Modal was the material I thought of. Oh my is it soft, and it tends to be drapey and not wrinkly. It's nice stuff. I don't have any specific items to recommend but as a material to look for it definitely gets my seal of approval.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 2:36 PM on April 16, 2018

Yes, linen wrinkles, but it's supposed to and looks good when it does. If the wrinkles get too pronounced for your taste mid-wearing, wash your hands and then pat them down with damp hands. The wrinkles will relax to "nonchalantly summery and cool" in seconds.
posted by Lexica at 3:42 PM on April 16, 2018

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