Several women popped the same question into the most recent suggestion box: How exactly is a sweaty gal supposed to stay stylish? And although this may seem particularly appropriate for summer, those of us who sweat buckets do so year-round, so I’ve included tips for both cold and warm weather!
When it’s hot out …
Natural fibers: If you pit out all tops no matter what, you might think that fiber content won’t matter. And it might not make a huge visual difference, but it is likely to make a comfort-level difference. Cotton and linen breathe. Polyester and spandex do not. Do your bod a favor, and err on the natural side.
Dark colors: Wearing black in 90-degree heat may not sound too appealing. But since sweat darkens fabric, a color that is dark to begin with will help stains appear less noticeable. Deep navy works well, too, if you can’t bear to swathe yourself in black every time you plan to venture outdoors.*
Sleeved garments: This is all down to personal preference, of course. If your priority is to disguise sweat stains, going sleeveless may be your best bet. But if your priority is dryness-related comfort, I recommend sleeves. Nothing makes me feel more antsy and uncomfortable than the sensation of wet pits. I’d rather have a cotton tee that keeps me somewhat dry.
Layers: Another counter-intuitive suggestion for summer! But think a minute: You’ve got on a blouse, you pit out your blouse, game over. You’ve got on a tank and a blouse, you pit out your tank, it’s possible that no one will ever notice. AND if it’s a real scorcher of a day, you can plan ahead and bring a backup tank to swap in!
Shawls and wraps: There are about a billion gorgeous gauze-weight cotton scarves out there. Super beautiful loose-weave ones, too. Throw one over your shoulders when you’re wearing a tank or tee and you’ll both spiff up your outfit, and add a lightweight layer to your shoulder area that can help disguise sweat stains.
When it’s cold out …
Camisoles: If you’re wearing anything besides a tight-to-the-body shirt or top, a camisole can make a huge difference. I buy nude camisoles from Target and wear them under nearly everything during the cold months. Since the cami sits in your pits, it acts like a sponge to some extent. I can often skip washing my outer layer entirely when I’ve worn a cami.
Dress shields: Since winter wear tends to be bulkier and more structured, it can generally accommodate dress shields. You can certainly purchase ready-made dress shields but pinning old cotton shoulder pads or peds to your garment armpits often works just as well. Again, sponge action is the goal.
Layers, shawls, dark colors, and everything that works in summer: All of those techniques can be deployed in cold weather, too. Often more easily, in fact.
Image courtesy Old Navy
*I’ve heard that some hot-weather cultures advocate wearing black for its cooling effects on the body. I’ve never personally experienced these effects, but perhaps some of you have.
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Originally posted 2011-06-16 06:16:41.