The science behind why you should pick black over white this summer

We’re all told to wear white in summer because white is supposed to keep us cool — but it doesn’t. Interestingly, black clothing is a better way to keep you cool in the heat. It’s basic physics.  During summer, we all generally wear loose summery white clothing. Not only is the white supposed to look nice during those summer days but people claim that white is the best way to keep cool in the summer. When we see white, we’re seeing the combination of all possible visible light which means that white reflects a great deal of wavelengths of energy coming in and it should reflect the sun’s rays back, instead of letting them cook us. And that makes perfect sense.

Except that this explanation is not complete. Heat is not just coming in from the sun. It’s also coming off a person’s own, warm-blooded, mammalian body, which is a lot closer than the sun is. When all that body heat comes in contact with white clothing covering it, it gets reflected right back towards the body. When we wear white, we are basically cooking ourselves.

So, the best colour to keep cool in the heat, it turns out, is black. Despite the fact that black absorbs everything coming in from the sun, we also have to take into account that it also absorbs energy from the body instead of reflecting it back. Now, the advantages of black clothes depend on finding clothes that are the same thickness and looseness as those summery white clothes. Black clothing also need a little help from atmospheric conditions. Once it has absorbed heat, it needs some way to radiate it away. If there’s even a little wind, black clothing is the better choice for those who want to keep cool, like people who understandably don’t like sweating through their makeup should find something black to wear this summer.

So, we are saying…. Black is the easiest, chicest, most foolproof way to get dressed this summer and physics agrees with us!



1 Reply on The science behind why you should pick black over white this summer

  • Sangeeta sen says:

    There are communities in Gujarat where women wear black thru the year. Not only that, their Odhnis are made up of wool and cotton yarn. The reason is because black makes them perspire more and when the hot desert winds ( ‘loo’ in hindi ) pass thru the body, they air cool it.

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