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The Compass  /  Health & Grooming  /  Avoiding Summer Pits

Avoiding Summer Pits

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Q: I loved the piece on wearing suits in hot weather, but I get the pits big-time when it gets hot. Then I’m stuck in the jacket all day, trying to cover up my armpit sweat. What can I do? I’m burning up, here! – Tim K.

A: Hot weather is the pits, Tim! There is a way to keep the sweat at bay. It may seem counter-intuitive but another layer is your best bet, specifically an undershirt. Every man ought to have some plain slim-fitting crew neck shirts for wearing under a dress shirt on hot days. Why a crew neck and not a tank-top? The short sleeves of the crew neck, like these from Underfit, Flint and Tinder and Mack Weldon, provide you with one more barrier against between your armpits and your dress shirts. Round out your collection with some V-neck undershirts for days when you wear your dress shirt collar open but don’t want your undershirt showing (and in case you’re wondering, no, you don’t want your undershirt showing).

Got any tips for staying dry in the dog days of summer? Leave a comment below!

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13 thoughts on “Avoiding Summer Pits”

  1. i simply cant wear shirts because i sweat under the arms way to much in heat and stressful situations. It has made me so paranoid of going to weddings or anything where a suit is required. I have recently bought some Thompson Ts out of the USA and they are the most unbelievable under shirts ever. They have a special absorbent panel under the arm that catches the sweat, does not at all allow it through and converts it into vapour. They aren’t cheap but i cant back them harder, they are simply amazing.. you have to see them for yourself… oh and they are super comfortable!!!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Thanks for the tip, Ryan. Sounds like some good old American ingenuity helped you out big!

  2. Uniqlo has a great mesh undershirt if you can find them in stores.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      You’re right, Uniqlo does make some great ones, but “if you can find them in stores” is the key phrase in your comment, Morgan.

  3. I only have one and one thing to say: Certain Dri.

  4. Chris Jones says:

    Try to find something that isn’t cotton also. One of these fancy new micro modal undershirts provides the barrier you need but is also super thin and moisture wicking. Another option that I love in warmer temps is the Jockey seamfree crew neck shirts. Unfortunately, they don’t carry them in v-neck :(

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Good point, Chris. The Underfit shirts we linked to in the post are made with their Promodal blended fabric. Bonus points, they come in a V-neck.

  5. My personal “hot weather survival secret” is to wear some kind of athletic compression, sweat-wicking, technical fabric underneath my dress shirts such as Under Armour, Nike Dri-Fit, etc. There are plenty of different colours and necks available, but usually a white v-neck style is the most versatile!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      While we usually keep the compression shirts to activities in which the word beast is thrown around (i.e. “Dude is a beast on the bench press, right?” {hand slap}) you can also put them to use under a dress shirt.

      Who knows, maybe you’ll even get a little extra-oomph out of them like when you wore your underoos to school and nobody knew it but you were a superhero that day. So go ahead and beast that staff meeting, Christopher! Your secret is safe with us and 100,000 of our closest readers.

  6. I live in Trinidad here in the Caribbean, we’re blazing hot all year so I know what it’s like. Wearing the undershirt helps alot. Applying powder, yes baby powder below your undershirt as well also helps with the absorption.

    Look at the type of deodorant you’re using as well, it might be time to try Right Guard if your Speed Stick is slowing down :) Right Guard Sport and Old Spice has worked great you can try those. Apart from that try getting dressed on a morning atleast 30 mins before you have to commute so your body can adjust and walk on the cool side of the street, trust me I’m always crossing the road to keep in the shade. Every little bit helps keep that sweat off.

    Also a good habit is to have an extra undershirt and dress shirt at the office to change if you have meetings to attend. Hope this helps, cheer.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Great tips, Christopher! Of course, we’d be willing to put up with a little sweat to enjoy the island vibes of Trinidad on the regular but that’s a separate topic.

      The baby powder trick is a good one, but be careful using it, especially around…oddly enough…babies since talcum powder can get into their lungs and do serious damage. Look for powder made with corn starch instead (see details on why here).

      Bonus points for mentioning keeping an extra undershirt around the office. Lots of guys keep an extra dress shirt, but if you’re still wearing a drenched undershirt you won’t feel (or be) completely fresh, now, will you?

  7. Tommy John makes terrific undershirts as well. Their V necks go down just far enough to unbutton two buttons on the shirt over it, which makes them perfect for situations like that. They also make the crew-neck that goes all the way to the top.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      All these years we thought plunging necklines looked best on women! Yes, Carleton, you’re right, the deep V neck makes a big difference. While we haven’t tried Tommy John (that guy gets his name on everything from career extending surgeries to underwear!), the word on the street is they’re outstanding.

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