Everyone has heard before that wearing white will make you cooler. Not in a sense of popularity, but rather temperature-wise. So, are whites the better option in the summertime? Just what does this pale color have to do with heat?

Whenever people think of white clothing, they think light, breezy, and thin. But just how light are these whites?

To answer this myth of the week, we turn to How Stuff Works: “…the residents of the Sinai desert wear billowing black robes instead of, say, white…when they tested white robes versus black (and note they did this by having some poor guy stand out in the heat while recording temperature), the differences were nil.” So apparently, color doesn’t matter all that much.

Although some may argue that light waves and such gather more heat, scientists say it’s more about airflow: “They found that the black clothing did absorb more heat, but that’s where it stayed: In other words, the black soaks up additional heat, but that extra is lost by the time it actually gets to your skin,” says How Stuff Works. “Way more useful for keeping cool, however? The fact that the robes are loose and billowing, to allow airflow.” So as long as you’re wearing loose, lightweight clothing, you can survive sweltering temperatures. 

In addition to aerodynamics, there’s also the preferences and characteristics of the wearer. If someone is more prone to heat, or doesn’t like the color white perhaps, the variables may change. Regardless, there are other ways to keep cool in hot weather: drink water, stay in shade, etc.

So the next time someone questions your darker color choices in the middle of summer, throw them some shade.