Does Wearing Jeans On A Hot Day Really Make You Hotter--Or Is It All In Your Head?

July 14, 2016 by Justine Schwartz
shefinds | Style

To wear jeans or not to wear jeans–that is the question I have every morning when getting dressed lately. On the one hand, I know that with jeans I don’t have to shave or worry about my legs not being in summer shape. But on the other hand–jeans are too hot for summer, right? Right??

Well, maybe not. A friend brought up a good point–does wearing jeans really make you hotter, or is it just psychological? I had to find the answer (I’m just weird that way) and did an internet deep dive on the topic.

READ MORE: What To Wear When Your Legs Aren’t Ready For Skirt Season

So let’s start with the science of sweating–why do we sweat? When we get hot we sweat, and in order for our bodies to cool off from the heat, we need that sweat to evaporate. According to this NPR article, it’s the evaporation of sweat that drains the heat from your body. That’s pretty straight forward, right? According to the professor of environmental physiology and ergonomics they spoke to (so, yea, pretty legit), for sweat to evaporate you need air to flow all over your skin–as much as possible–thus the natural urge to wear fewer clothes when it’s hot out. More air flow = less hot feeling.

READ NOW: 4 Ways To Deal With Back Sweat

Now, using this logic alone, we would all be running around naked in August–which isn’t exactly feasible, is it? Unless you live on a nudist colony you need to wear something. This is why skirts and dresses are so popular in summer–they allow you to be fully clothed but get that much-needed air flow to your legs (the same goes for why sleeveless tops are best).

But before you write off wearing pants completely–let me represent an alternative view here. This is where the pants-in-summer debate really heats up (sorry for the pun): some people swear that pants actually block the sun/heat from hitting your skin and can keep you cooler. This claim I could not substantiate with any scientists or doctors–but there were several message board posts about it. And that’s the internet equivalent of scientific research, right?

Another argument for wearing jeans and other pants in summer is that most people’s offices have the A/C blasting during the summer months, so you actually need to cover your legs *more*. If this is true of your office, then yes, wearing jeans in summer might not be a bad idea.

READ NOW: The Best And Worst Fabrics To Wear When It’s Really, Really Hot

Now that we can agree that more clothes coverage make you hotter (remember the air flow issue, from above!), but that someone’s personal preference might be to wear more clothes–how exactly do you reckon that? Well, there are plenty of tips for how to pull of things like jeans in summer… like this one from Business Insider. You can read the whole thing, or I can give you just the info you need to know:

The lighter the denim, the better. Denim typically weighs 12 ounces to 16 ounces. Go for the 12 stuff.

Avoid stretch denim or skinny jeans. The synthetics that make denim stretchy aren’t breathable (as compared to something like a cotton or a linen). Remember, you want breathable fibers when you’re sweating. The absorb moisture and breath it away from your skin.

Avoid “raw” or “dry” denim. If you see those words on the description, don’t buy them for summer wear. The fabric is stiffer which makes it less breathable (until it’s more broken in, of course).

Go for distressed or hole-y denim. As long as it’s office appropriate, go for distressed denim that has patches that are worn through (or best case scenario, huge holes). This will allow for that air flow you’re so after.

Cuff it, cut it or roll it. Do whatever you can to get some air flow up in there. If you’re cuffing jeans, BI suggests skipping socks–that seems to be the style rule. Cuffs = no socks. Wear slip-on sneakers, flats, boat shoes, or pumps or sandals with a sturdy heel.

READ MORE: Is It Bad To Wear Shapewear When It’s Really, Really Hot? The Answer


So, there you have it–jeans make you hotter, but that’s OK if you need to wear them, just choose wisely.

Was this article helpful? Let us know in the comments below or send your summer style questions to [email protected]

[Photo: Viva Luxury]


Editorial Director

Justine Schwartz is a veteran women's lifestyle editor; she's written extensively about style & beauty tips, health advice and wedding planning for more than a decade. Her work has appeared in New York Magazine, Huffington Post and New York Weddings. Justine has been with SheFinds since 2010; you can reach her via email at [email protected]

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