Recently I contributed to an article in The New York Magazine’s The Strategist on “The Best Women’s Clothing That Hide Sweat.” These tips aren’t just useful for warm weather, but anyone who may sweat a lot. Read below to see my suggestions on fabrics and styles to look for. To shop my complete list of suggested items click HERE. Stay cool! xo
FABRICS TO LOOK FOR:
As they say, "cotton is king." A good quality lightweight cotton will absorb moisture and wears well in dry heat or humidity. This natural fiber allows air to circulate and move freely through the fabric, which makes heat more bearable.
Although chambray has a similar look to denim it is softer and thinner, as the cotton is woven differently. It often comes in a higher thread count, which means it’s a finer weave and more breathable fabric, keeping you cool in dry heat & humidity. I love recommending it to clients because you get the look of denim without the weight and stiffness. The fabric and "denim look" make it incredibly versatile for both men and women year round. As for summer, darker shades typically absorb perspiration better.
Linen is made for the heat. The natural fiber and light weave allow for maximum breathability. Linen tends to be a relaxed fabric that doesn't cling to the body so if you sit at a desk all day and are concerned about wrinkling choose a linen/cotton blend.
Blends/Performance Fabric: (a combination of any of the following: cotton, poly, spandex, nylon, rayon)
Synthetic fabrics are known for reducing moisture (like in athletic wear), so they’re great in humid weather. Blended fabrics keep their shape & require little to no maintenance (like ironing!). Brands like Uniqlo and Athleta offer attractive, non-sporty-looking pieces that use the type of technology found in active wear, offering particularly great solutions for pieces are tight or form fitted.
STYLES TO LOOK FOR:
- Opt for very light colors (like white, cream and pale pink) or very dark colors (like black, navy and charcoal) rather than bright ones.
This will help avoid visible signs of perspiration. Light colors don’t absorb sunlight like dark colors do, but dark colors are likely to do a better job at hiding your perspiration.
Prints tend to camouflage sweat better than solids - the bolder and tighter the print, the better. Try gingham, plaid or a floral print.
- Wear a shirt with big arm holes or large/loose sleeves.
When the fabric isn't touching or clinging to your body there is more room for air to get through, keeping you cool and perspiration to a minimum.
- Mesh and Eyelet:
Look for pieces where there are literally holes embroidered into the fabric. This will allow air to pass in and out with ease, keeping you cool. Plus, eyelet is a quintessential and timeless option for summer. It never goes out of style because it is so practical (think white eyelet dress!)
- Crinkled Textures:
Crinkled textures don’t cling to the body. Look for cotton crepe which has a crimped texture. It is actually a lighter fabric than linen, and is one of the most absorbent fibers. Due to its draping and lightweight weave, it's perfect for loose-fitting summer dresses.
- Numi Undershirts: this Canadian based company patented a technology to help absorb underarm perspiration by offering two times sweat protection in the underarm area. That means less embarrassing moments and trips to the dry cleaners! I’ve been recommending this product to my female clients for years. Their collection consists of all the essential lengths and neutral colors you could want (including three shades of nude) plus they’re incredibly soft and have a reversible neckline (crew or scoop). Use promo code “shopwithval” to receive 15% off your order.
FABRICS TO AVOID:
Cotton/spandex: If you choose a cotton/spandex legging or shirt, you will likely be soaking in your own sweat. Gross, I know. Although cotton is known for its breathability, that rule goes out the window when it is combined with spandex.
Polyester: Avoid polyester based fabrics at all costs. The durability of this manmade fabric makes it water resistant. Therefore it offers zero absorption of perspiration.
Rayon: Since it’s not a natural fiber, it won’t wick away moisture. While the thin fibers of rayon make it light and prevent sticking to the body, it’s made of synthetic fibers, just like polyester, meaning it’s more likely to repel than absorb water.
Denim: Denim is thick, heavy and rough to the touch. It does not breathe and will certainly cause perspiration and leave you feeling sticky!