What Happens If You Wear Black In The Sun? I Tried It Out During The Heatwave & The Results Were SO Surprising

Lauren Sharkey

There's this theory that wearing black in the summer is a bad move. Mainly because the colour is thought to absorb more heat, making you a lot hotter than you need to be. For someone whose wardrobe is 80 percent black, summer is generally bad news. But I decided to go against the advice of my mother. So, what happens if you wear black in the sun? Well, I tried it out and am pleased to report that I certainly didn't die.

After a little research, I have come to the conclusion that the aforementioned theory may actually be a load of rubbish. A study carried out in 1980 examined why Bedouin people tend to wear black robes despite living in an extremely hot desert. Researchers found that although black does take in more heat than a colour like white, it disappears before reaching the skin. So, take that.

If that wasn't proof enough, according to a Gizmodo article from 2012, white's ability to reflect heat works both ways. It obviously directs the sun's rays away from the body, but can also reflect the heat coming from your body straight back onto your skin.

Taking all of this into consideration, I was looking forward to spending some of the hottest days to ever hit the UK in black bliss. And although the weather's a little cooler right now, it's about to get a whole lot hotter towards the end of the week so this could be useful advice.

Here's how I got on.

1Building Up To It

Lauren Sharkey

Anyone's go-to summer look is a casual dress, isn't it? Well, mine definitely is. The first day of this experiment was pretty hot but not quite the scorching temperatures that would hit the UK later on in the week.

I can't remember exactly where I got this simple black shift dress from because I cut the tag out, but it used to have ties on the side. As I'm a person who gets easily irritated, I cut these out — not that you can really notice. Rihanna's furry Fenty Puma sandals finished off my first look. You may think that they would be hot but I can assure you they are cool, comfortable, and make me feel like a budget RiRi (in a good way).

2An Evening Look

Lauren Sharkey

So I may have forgotten to take a photo of this outfit during the day but I wore it from about noon until midnight, so it's safe to say that I was pretty into it. You're probably wondering why I'm wearing a leather top and trousers in 27°C weather, but bear with me.

I bought the cropped top from Zara a couple of years ago and wear it every summer. It's quite thin and doesn't make me sweat despite being made from a rather sticky fabric. (The only trouble is getting it on after a nice cold shower.) Trouser-wise, I chose a fitted Topshop pair that flare out at the ankle. This is key. You can totally wear black trousers in the heat as long as your ankles have a bit of breathing space. Well, that's my opinion anyway.

3The Ridiculously Hot Day

Lauren Sharkey

This one was tough for anyone, let alone for someone who can't get enough of dark clothing. But I think I prevailed. I'm not going to lie, I took full advantage of the freelance life and spent the day in my back garden trying but maybe failing to work.

I chose a full Zara look this time. I usually wear the top on a night out but thought that its loose, lightweight sleeves and cold-shoulder detail would help keep me cool and, more importantly, sunburn-free for the day. The knitted shorts don't really need any explaining. They're probably too short for me to feel comfortable wearing them out in public but who cares when you're at home?

When I did eventually have to face another human being, I put on a pair of denim espadrille wedges to give the impression that I'd made a bit of effort.

4And Another One

Lauren Sharkey

The next day felt just as hot. No matter how many times you showered, it was impossible to feel fresh and clean. The previous day had taught me that having my arms covered was probably not the best idea so I went for something a little more revealing.

I chose a stripy camisole (black-and-white still counts as black, right?) and a very short asymmetric skirt, pairing it all with my trusty sliders. The only annoying part proved to be the skirt which was a little tight for such hot conditions. But overall, a comfy look.

5Perfecting The Summer Denim Trend

Lauren Sharkey

I know what you're thinking; Dungarees in this heat? I must be mad. Maybe I am, but I will forever stand up for the right to wear denim all year round. Weirdly, I've never found my black Dr. Denim dungarees to be stifling. In fact, they're quite the opposite — especially when you roll up the leg to give that much-needed breeze.

While I could have worn a bandeau or similar underneath, I chose a lightweight black T-shirt to preserve my modesty in case of an unexpected delivery to the house. And of course, another pair of sliders.

As I had predicted, wearing black in this summer heat wasn't bad at all. I wasn't any hotter than I had been wearing different colours and didn't feel like the shade I had chosen had any detrimental consequences whatsoever.

There were definitely a couple of days where I could not stop sweating but I suspect that had more to do with the fact that I was stuck indoors without air conditioning rather than what I was wearing.

My top tips for anyone wanting to follow in my footsteps? Stick to thin and breathable fabrics if you can, denim isn't necessarily your enemy, and always make sure those ankles have the freedom they deserve.