Choosing the Right Fabric For Your Summer Uniforms

In most of North America, summer can get hot. If your team wears uniforms, they risk overheating while on the job. While you can provide fans, water, and air conditioning, there is a risk to their health, mood, and productivity when they’re too warm. 

Your choice of uniforms can impact their comfort in the summertime. In this article, we share some of the top fabrics and tips to keep your employees cool this summer. 

Top cooling fabrics for uniforms

As you can imagine, asking your staff to wear thick wool pants in the heat of summer isn’t wise. Instead, here are some fabrics that can help your team stay cooler:


Cotton fabrics are easy to find and are a common fabric of choice for staying cool in the summer. It helps the wearer stay cool due to its breathable fabric, allowing air circulation. Cotton will also help absorb sweat, preventing chafing and keeping your staff cool and happier. 


Polyester blends are also a common garment material. This synthetic material is durable and moisture-wicking. Polyester blends (like Polyester and cotton) provide additional cooling properties for your staff. 

This Men’s White Service Oxford Shirt is a polyester blend with 25% polyester, 75% cotton and 4 oz of White Oxford Cloth.


Linen fabrics are usually loosely woven, providing excellent ventilation and cooling properties for the wearer. It’s also very absorbent, and will try quickly. If staff are extra warm, their perspiration (or spills) won’t show on their uniform as long. 

This curated resort staff uniform features a linen blend Cabana shirt and lightweight stretch chinos to help your team stay cool while entertaining your customers. 


Rayon is a manmade fabric made from cotton, wood pulp, and other natural and synthetic fibres. The fibres themselves are very thin, helping provide breathability. Remember, it can shrink when washed in warm water, so ensure employees (or your uniform cleaning service) use only cool water and potentially order a size or half-size up just in case of accidental shrinkage. 


Denim and Chambray are tightly woven cotton fibres that absorb moisture like cotton. Authentic denim is a heavier fabric, so many opt for lightweight chambray denim for summer uniforms. 

Check out this selection of durable and versatile chambray work shirts.

Are you looking for aprons? These denim aprons are expertly crafted in Chicago.


For high-class restaurants and hotel chains, silk shirts and pants add to the sophistication of your business and help your staff stay cool too. This more luxurious fabric is made from silkworm cocoons. 

(An added benefit for choosing skil for uniforms is that it also helps you retain heat in the winter, so it can be a year-round server or host uniform option for your establishment).

Merino Wool

Yes. This premium wool is an excellent option for a cooling summer uniform. Merino wool traps air pockets between the fibres, keeping your insulation from the outside temperature (whether warm or cool). It’s also a durable fabric choice. 

Tips for helping employees stay cool in the heat

Even with cooler fabrics, your employees can get very warm. Here are some additional tips to help them stay cool:

  1. Provide regular cooling breaks: If they’re working outdoors, provide additional breaks where they can come into an air-conditioned building for a break to cool off. Frequent breaks are especially important for patio servers, restaurant hosts to stand outside, and valet staff. 
  2. Allow water: Allow your staff to have ice and water next to their station. For more mobile team members (like valets or those who work outdoors), consider allowing them to have a company-branded water bottle nearby. 
  3. Provide shade: All outdoor employees should have a shady place to work or take breaks when possible. This may mean setting up a patio umbrella next to their station so they have somewhere to escape the direct sunlight. Personal or desk fans can also help create a breeze around your staff members. 
  4. Encourage long sleeves and sunscreen: Lightweight, long-sleeved shirts will help them avoid sunburns. When long sleeves are unavoidable, insist that your employees wear sunscreen when working outdoors and allow them to reapply it every few hours as necessary. 
  5. Have warm and cool uniform options: provide uniform options for your staff. They can choose your shorts and polo shirt on warm days and dress pants and button-up shirts on cooler days. 
  6. Choose light-colored apparel: Wearing black in the hot sun will warm you. If your uniforms are usually darker, consider having a white option for the summertime so it reflects some of the heat rather than traps it next to your staff’s body, causing them to overheat. 
  7. Add a water mister outside: Consider installing a water misting system outdoors in regularly hot climates. This provides a light, cooling mist for your staff and customers. Be sure to test to ensure it doesn’t overly soak your employees (or put it in a place where they don’t stand during their whole shift but can walk through for a quick cooldown when needed. 

Stock up on your cool summer uniforms now

Are you looking to refresh your server or hospitality staff uniforms this summer? Why not design your server uniforms using cooling fabrics? It’s a small way to show your staff you care about their health and well-being on the job. Staying cooler also means they are freer to perform their best for your customers and VIPs. 

Ready to design your custom summer uniforms? Book a design consultation with STOCK to get started.