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5 Tips for Super-Sweaters this Summer

When you’re getting ready for that beach day or night out on the town in the comfort of your air-conditioned room, it seems like nothing could go wrong. Maybe you’re wearing your favorite white shorts and that cute new silky tank top and you just finished straightening your hair or putting it in that cute French braid. And then you step outside. And it’s 100 degrees, and the air is sticky. And it seems like all that effort to look cute has been reversed in less than a minute.  

The heat of the summer can make you want to throw out all styling tools and tuck your nice shirts in the back of your closet until the fall. But, there are fabrics (and tips!) out there that are sure to make you feel comfortable about braving the heat and keep your skin healthy and free from sun damage. 

1. Invest in a bra that breathes

Once you get the infamous under-boob sweat going, it’s hard to cool down, and it can make the rest of your body start to sweat. Plus, nothing feels grosser than feeling sweat drip down and there’s nothing you can do to fix it, if you’re in public. Your bra style is key, especially when it comes to cut, coverage, and fabric. Bras that can double as crop tops during a night out are not your best bet during a summer day. If it covers half of your stomach, then it’s going to encourage sweat production. Thick fabric bras will keep sweat from escaping so try to stick to a lacy one, or a bralette, like this one. Lace is far more breathable than typical, silky bras, and it allows for a better flow of air. And, if you find that you’re still sweating in your bra, make sure to take it off as soon as you get home. It’s not good for your skin to stay in a sweaty bra all day, and it can cause acne. As if you needed a reason to take your bra off after a long day. 

Tip: You can also use deodorant in your under-boob area to keep sweat from forming, and to help with chafing if your bra’s fabric turns out to be all wrong. 

2. Find clothes that are sweat-wicking (sweat-whatcking)

You can toss this Breath V-Neck shirt from the Gap on for a workout or a casual summer afternoon with friends.

Fabrics that keep sweat from sticking to your skin used to be reserved for the gym. But, if it works for the gym, why can’t it work for every day wear? These fabrics and dry-fit can allow sweat to dry faster, but they won’t keep you from sweating completely.

3. Don’t be afraid of polyester

This polyester, lightweight maxi dress from Lulu’s also breathes well, for a dressier look for $49. 

There is a level of disdain evident when someone says the word “polyester,” almost like it’s a dirty word. Maybe it happened when Clueless fashion icon Dionne says it in an accusatory way toward Murray. Whatever the reason may be, polyester is actually a great summer fabric to prevent profuse sweating… and it can look super cute.

Start paying attention to those white tags on the inside of your clothes that you usually cut out to see what fabrics are actually in your clothes. 

4. How to get rid of those dreaded sweat stains

Who doesn’t love the look of a white dress or shirt in the summer? When white always feels like a risk thanks to sweat stains, it makes it harder to feel confident in wearing it when it’s hot out. But, have no fear, because vinegar is here. 

First, make sure to turn whatever you’re trying to clean inside out, so you’re working where the actual stain originated. Dab on vinegar with a paper towel, or preferably, a washcloth. Start with a small amount, because you can always put more on. Then, wait a few minutes for it to dry (but not completely) and take baking soda and pat it on. Mix in some vinegar with the baking soda beforehand for optimal results. 

You can also use dishwashing detergent to get the stain out, but it’s natural to not want to put an electric blue or green substance on a white article of clothing. We get it. 

5.  Live love linen

Stiff fabrics are ideal for the summer heat, because they don’t stick to our bodies as much, allowing our skin to breathe and recover from the high temperatures. Though this seems to go against what we learned from our bra lesson, the thickness of linen actually gives our pores a breather and is better at preventing sweat than cotton or spandex, which love to hug our curves. Linen is one of the strongest fabrics out there, and linen dresses or tunics are ideal for minimizing sweat stains (plus, they instantly make you look dressier and trendy AF.) This linen dress from Urban Outfitters comes in multiple colors and patterns and has an open back for an even cooler look. 

When you buy your summer wardrobe, also keep in mind that the tighter the fabric or cut, the more that sweat will show through. Likewise, remember that colors like white or beige showcase sweat stains more clearly than darker colors do.

Expert Tip: be safe about being in the sun

Though you’ve probably heard it 1000+ times from teachers, parents, and basically any adult who sees you outside between the months of May and September, it must be stated again: be careful about your skin during the summer. Though we’re all young and resilient now, sun damage will catch up with our skin sooner rather than later. 

Finding the right sunblock for you is like finding the right foundation: it takes some effort and sometimes you’ll look a bit ridiculous until you find the right match. Some sunblocks are too gloppy, while others are too thin and can make your face look greasy. And is wearing makeup in lieu of wearing sunscreen okay? We had so many questions.

 Dr. Elizabeth Hale is a dermatologist at CompleteSkinMD in New York City who specializes in treating and diagnosing skin cancer, and she spoke to us about how young women can make the best choices for their skin based on what will actually work for them.

She says that college-aged women should be aware that they are at a high risk for melanoma (or skin cancer) particularly if they are outside frequently or are fans of tanning beds.

“UV radiation [from tanning beds] is twelve times as strong as the sun,” she says.

Wearing sunblock with an SPF of at least 30 every day is a must, she says. And if you’re afraid that you can’t wear it with your makeup look, then Dr. Hale says to put it on before you apply your foundation.

For women who tend to sweat their sunblock off easily, Dr. Hale recommends getting a sunscreen with zinc oxide in it, like this one from Revision Skincare with zinc oxide because it is lightweight, and is less expensive than Revision’s sunblock. She also likes how it’s free of parabens.

Dr. Hale also says that brush on powder sunscreens, like this one from Colorescience.com are perfect for women with oily skin, or who tend to sweat easily.

“If your skin looks greasy,” she says. “It will give it a matte finish and it’s good for reapplying.”

Don’t forget to reapply your sunscreen every two hours if you’re outside for a lot of the day, as per Dr. Hale’s recommendation.

As much as we hate to admit it, sweating is a natural part of the summer. And on beach days or ice cream dates, it’s a small price to pay during the best season of the year. If you’re self-conscious about your sweat situation, just remember to always wear sunblock, and that you can test out fabrics and products until you find ones that allow you to feel confident in the heat. And it’s better than the alternative: winter. 


Shannon is a junior studying English, Journalism, Creative Writing, and American Studies at Boston College. A Long Island native, she loves the beach, Italian ices, bagels, and pizza (all of which are the best in New York.) When she's not reading, she can be found watching reality TV- most likely The Real Housewives of Any City.
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