Chambray: Keeping us Cool in the Summer

In the months of summer, the fabric of our lives is, without a doubt, cotton. It simply cannot be denied that no other type of fabric wear as well in the heat as denim, and in so many kinds. In fact, one of the most common construction of cotton is in the form of denim, a staple in the summer in the form of cutoffs and in any kind of pattern, especially in the more recent seasons. The only trouble is that denim tends to be very heavy and can make you feel even hotter in the summer, rather than cooler.


By Edward G. FitzGerald (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Enter: Chambray

You may or may not have heard of the lightweight twin of denim, which is chambray. Where denim is heavy and rugged due to its diagonally-done weave, chambray is the opposite. Just like other types of fabric, chambray is woven in the method that is crisscross and is woven plainly, making it lighter and more breathable. Both chambray and denim are created with a white yard in the weft and a colored yarn in the warm/ Due to the diagonal weave of denim, it exposes twice the amount of the yarn which is colored as compared to chambray. This is the reason there is usually a white back on denim, as its weft is the white yarn unexposed. On the other hand, the evenly-woven chambray blends white and colored yarn equally, hence its overall light and even shade.


Aside from the various chambray shapes in summer and spring, you will also find keyhole backs, frilly ruffles, frayed edges and even embroidery as well as other playful embellishments on chambray. For the menswear version, you will find check and herringbone prints on the chambray to help in dressing up what would otherwise look like work shirts that are rugged. Remember that shorts plus a white light jacket evokes summers on the sailboat. The fabric is practical yet undeniably preppy. For everyday wear, pair jeans and chambray to look chic and casual at the same time. You can find various shades and washes of chambray. Add contrast with a belt or a scarf. One thing you can be sure of is that chambray is here to stay for many seasons to come.

More Than Ever

More and more designers are in love with the durable yet soft chambray fabric. They have found many ways of re-inventing chambray and bringing this to life into the world of fashion. Other than the button-up basic, chambray is beginning to show up in sneakers, pants, jumpsuits and dresses. The light shaded denim is neutral, letting it effortlessly mix in a range of outfits. Even if this is considered to be material for casual-wear, chambray can still be dressed up when paired with separates suiting. For example, a sport coat over a chambray undershirt means instant casual business-wear. Dresses made with chambray plus heels equal an afternoon party or date-night. Even with tiny wrinkles in the fabric, chambray still looks cool and crisp throughout the day.


Img c/o By Edward G. FitzGerald (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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