Become/ Third Love/ InStyle
"How are you?" Lately, it seems as if the answer to that question is simply "HOT."
Be it the relentless scorch of rising temperatures, pregnancy, perimenopausal or menopausal hormones, medication triggers, chemotherapy and other medical treatments, disrupted sleep, travel, or the daily act of just getting from here to there, many women are in various stages of melting. Yet, while you may be daydreaming of stripping down (or, erm, flossing), the solution to this annoying problem surprisingly lies in...getting dressed. Tons of new cooling fabrics and advanced technology recently hit the market, joining the likes of fine-grade pima cotton and high-grade merino wool (which, yes, absorbs moisture instead of making you sweat).
But what's the difference between old cooling fabric that has been around for years and these new-and-improved options? According to Heidi Rauch, who founded maternity brand Belabumbum and is now working on Become, a brand geared toward cooling (peri) menopausal women, it all lies in the added "intelligence" of the fabric. Not only is there a need for these technologically advanced materials, there is also curiosity and overwhelming gratitude.
Molly Rogers, a costume designer for And Just Like That, agrees, telling me that clothes that come with added benefits, rather than just looking cute, are truly the way of the future.
"It makes me think of the movie Dune with my favorite actress, Zendaya," she says. "The future is clothing that can protect you from global warming, severe climate changes, and — even more volatile — how one can feel with hormonal flushes! The name of the game in summer dressing is fabrics that can reduce trapping your body's heat index, and make you more comfortable as temperatures rise. Fabrics need to breathe so you feel better on a hot summer day."
Whether you're searching for a cooling base layer, sleepwear, casual loungewear, or beyond, the market offers an impressive range. So, forget being too darn hot. Here are an assortment of state-of-the-art options for women of various ages, stages, and levels of cooling need.
Third Love is well known for its bras and undergarments, but the brand has now expanded into cooling sleepwear and founder Ra'el Cohen has a good reason why.
"Many of the products we develop are based on customer requests," she says. "Women have expressed that being comfortable and cool is a top priority in sleepwear. We chose this fabric specifically for its cotton rich breathable fiber and durable yet lightweight drape, which lends itself well to sleepwear."
Cohen is referring to WonderKnit, a mix of cotton, modal, and spandex. The lightweight, silky, cotton-rich fabric is naturally breathable and cooling while you sleep, and luckily, there are plenty of stunning sleep options available to shop on Third Love's site — all of which ensure you'll be comfortable once you climb into bed. I am quite partial to the limited-edition cropped PJ pants in seabloom salt (which I am wearing as I write this!).
A forever favorite of pregnant and new mothers, Ingrid and Isabel is best known for solving real-time changes in style and comfort. Founder Ingrid Carney launched the line by addressing expanding bumps with the Bellaband, and continued to innovate in the name of pregnant women. Decades later and true to brand, Ingrid & Isabel have found a new way to keep things cool and comfortable. Their new patented cooling fabric is a technical cooling fabric — infused with minerals for a natural cooling effect made of 60% CoolJade™ nylon, 32% nylon and 8% Spandex. The result? A cool-to-the-touch and moisture-wicking combination, keeping you dry and comfortable all day and night.
I did not know much about Tommy John's contribution to the women's cooling undergarment market until I placed an order by mistake — and that mistake turned out to be the greatest gift of summer. I spoke with Tommy John's team to learn why my new undergarments were making days of sticky heat and humidity suddenly feel bearable.
"Cool Cotton is a natural cotton material that is breathable, moisture-wicking, and is fabricated to be two to three times cooler and dries four to five times faster than regular cotton. Made for everyday wear and is especially great for those hot Summer days."
My personal favorite is Women's Cool Cotton Brief, which comes in a variety of different shades — including nudes, dark blues, and light blues, which the company says are its best sellers. There is also an easy, breezy sleep tank worth exploring as well.
An overdue surprise: finally, a full line of clothing for women in all phases and stages of Menopause. London-based and progressive in their approach to keeping things cool for women, the line is technologically advanced in stylish ways. This is not your mother's hot flash (or as the British call it 'hot flush"). The patented Anti-Flush™ technology of Become's fabric not only cools, but has also been tested to absorb heat from the surface of the skin during a hot flash, then helps restore warmth to the body when the inevitable chills follow. Additionally, the fabric wicks away moisture and immobilizes odor.
The brand produces a collection of easy-to-wear clothing and nightwear, and the pieces aren't just practical — they're cute, too. You'll be able to choose between basic and fashion colors, and Become offers a full plus-size range, which is just icing on the Anti-flush Cami cooling cake.
When cancer treatment chemotherapy resulted in her own struggle with relentless, internal body heat, Betsy Seabert, a performance outdoor clothing technology leader, conceived Chill Angel. The innovative line of sleepwear is made from 100%, super-fine merino wool, and was inspired by her own experiences with sleep deprivation and the hot flashes of women around her.
While not technological, Chill Angel's Temperature Balancing Sleepwear does represent a new concept in cooling sleep solutions. Its super soft pieces use wool's natural moisture wicking to keep you cool and dry from day to night. The entire line is made from buttery soft, 150-gram fabric with an ultra-fine low micron count of 16. In other words, it's a soothing, itch-free material that will regulate your temperature while you snooze.
The Essential Tank Long is one of the Chill Angel's most versatile pieces, and can be worn through a yoga workout, everyday activities, and, of course, sleep.
With no break in the heat on the horizon, these are the long-awaited advances in women's clothing we've been waiting for: cool comfort, developed with a woman's rising body temperature in mind. Here's to innovation and the dedication of brands (many of which were founded and run by women!) who continue to beat the heat in all the coolest ways.