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This breathable and lightweight 'freezer dress' helps me beat the heat

Plus, it's wrinkle-free!
TODAY Illustration / Columbia / Courtesy Katie Jackson

When it comes to clothes, I’m a sucker for anything that promises a “cooling” feature. A couple summers ago, I discovered a bestselling cooling bra and said goodbye to boob sweat. This summer, I aimed even higher in the comfort category and decided to try another bestseller: Columbia’s cooling PFG Freezer Dress.

I noticed it retailed for $50 (some colors are even cheaper at other retailers) and had racked up some rave reviews on Amazon. Still, I had more questions than answers when I ordered it. First, would it need to be stored in the freezer? Second, what does PFG stand for, and would it be chic enough to be my go-to LBD? Third, and most importantly, would it really keep me cool during a sweltering summer heat wave?

Columbia Freezer III Dress

Don't worry, you don't actually need to store this dress in the freezer. The reason it’s called the “Freezer Dress” is because it features Columbia’s "Omni-Freeze ZERO" fabric. This YouTube video does a good job of explaining how the “sweat-activated cooling technology” works to lower the overall temperature of the fabric.

I may not know the true secret cooling agent working behind the seams, but I do know that I love how the fabric — a polyester-elastane mix — doesn’t crease. I don’t need to worry about hanging this dress up or traveling with a garment bag. In fact, I can just roll it up and forget about it until I want to wear it, wrinkle-free.

From PFG to LBD

Katie Jackson

If athleisure and cocktail attire had a baby, it would be this dress. It’s part of Columbia’s PFG (Performance Fishing Gear) collection, but since I ordered it in black, it also functions as my go-to LBD.

If I can only pack one dress on a trip, it’s going to be the one I can wear the most. I spend most of my summer weekends outdoors in Bozeman, Montana, and I pack this dress because I can seamlessly transition from fly fishing in a river to people-watching on the outdoor patio at a trendy hotel without changing.

It's both flattering and flirty

Katie Jackson

While I love the elegant length of my favorite floor-sweeping maxi dress, I also appreciate the shorter length of this one since it's equal parts flattering and flirty. The hemline hits me just a couple inches above the knee. It’s short enough that I can feel the breeze on my legs but long enough that I’m not constantly tugging it down back over my bottom. Overall, I’m really impressed with the fit, and I think that’s a huge factor for the almost 1,500 Amazon reviewers who gave it a five-star rating.

Finally, it keeps me cool

Katie Jackson

The dress' fabric isn’t necessarily freezing to the touch, but it definitely doesn’t trap heat or humidity the way other fabrics do. Furthermore, I got this dress in black, perhaps the “hottest” of the available colors and prints it comes in. But even in this dark shade, it’s so breathable and lightweight that it feels like a slip. Still, it acts like armor. In addition to being cooling, the brand boasts that the high-tech fabric features UPF 30 sun protection that blocks harmful UVA and UVB rays.

However, that’s not to say I don’t wear this dress indoors. In fact, I once wore it while traveling for over 20 hours on a trip from Montana to Portugal. I usually wear something super comfortable on long flights, but I’m finding I’m just as comfortable in this dress as I am in pajamas. Plus, I have more self-confidence going through security knowing I look like I just rocked the boardroom instead of just rolled out of bed.

Of course, the main reason I bought this dress was to see if it would keep me from combusting on triple-digit days — and it does. The fact that I also love how it looks and fits is just the icing, or should I say “ice,” on the cake.

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