Philadelphia humidity can be intolerable when you are wearing less than ideal clothing. Fabrics for humid climates have a number of properties which makes them highly suitable to wear and use in regions which get warm and humid. In addition to seeking out better fabric choices, you should also try garments on for fit and comfort, as tight clothing or clothing which fits oddly can be maddening in hot weather. You may find it easier to purchase fabrics for humid climates in the location where you are living or visiting, especially if you spot a local wearing something which looks comfortable and cool.
As a general rule, the best fabrics for humid climates are made from natural materials such as rayon, cotton, linen, and silk. These materials tend to breathe more than synthetics such as polyester do, and they come in a variety of colors and thicknesses. Cotton, especially, is an ideal material for a tropical climate because it can be washed and dried. As you accumulate sweat in a hot climate, the ability to wash your clothing quickly and easily in a machine is a definite advantage. Silk and linen can both be made in washable variations as well, and it is worth seeking out machine washable fabrics for humid climates.
All well suited fabrics for humid climates are capable of wicking moisture up away from the skin, rather than allowing it to gather. Pools of sweat can be uncomfortable and potentially unhealthy. Lightweight fabrics for humid climates also protect the skin from harsh sunlight, savage plants, and other perils which you may encounter. Excessive exposure to sunlight can be hard on the skin, which is why it is an excellent idea to wear long sleeves and pants or skirts in a lightweight fabric, to provide a layer of protection. In addition, you should use sunscreen to protect your skin.
As a general rule, light colored fabrics are a better choice for a humid climate, because they reflect light and heat. This is why clothing and fashion in hot climates tend use natural fibers, because they are better suited for the manufacture of fabrics for humid climates, and for manufacture in light colors. White, beige, and pastels are common choices, and they can be embroidered with thread to create colorful designs. Fabrics for humid climates do not have to be dull white or shockingly patterned; options are varied when it comes to decoration.
Clothing for humid climates should also be loose and comfortable. Many cultures have traditions of flowing garments which allow air circulation close to the body. In addition to being cooling, this also helps to keep the body dry, preventing potential skin infections and fungus infestations. People who are overweight may also want to consider the use of a cream or powder on areas of the skin which are subject to chafing, to prevent painful sores at the end of a day of activity in a humid climate.