Good fabrics for guys who sweatBuilding a wardrobe that’s breathe-easy begins with understanding what fabrics to use for a solid foundation. What you should be looking for are fabrics that are considered “breathable.” By definition, breathable fabrics are those that are composed of unique fibers able to transport moisture from one side to the other. So, as the body sweats, the fabrics allow the moisture to move outside the garment. In essence, the fabric breathes, which is a necessary wardrobe feature for guys prone to heavy perspiration.
In this category, two ideal options exist: cotton and wool. These two breathable fabrics, woven from natural fibers, will always be your best bets. Luckily, both cotton and wool come in a variety of blends that offer wonderful foundational pieces on which to build a breathe-easy wardrobe. In the cotton department, buy 100% cotton undershirts, pima cotton sweaters in the fall, and linen shirts and pants in the summer. When you’re looking at wool be sure to select 100% wool sweaters, merino wool and cashmere.
Fabrics to find: 100% cotton, pima cotton, seersucker, linen, 100% wool, merino, and cashmere.
Bad fabrics for guys who sweatYou should also recognize those fabrics that are huge stumbling blocks. Obviously, any fabrics that stray from breathing easy are out of the equation. To begin, be aware that some cotton and wool blends are a bad idea: corduroy and flannel respectively. Silk is another natural fiber that should be avoided. Though considered breathable, silk can’t withstand constant moisture, which means that a guy who sweats a lot is going to need to wring out his shirt several times a day. Natural fibers aside, guys with severe perspiration problems want to shy away from heavier synthetic fibers as well. Polyester, polyblends, nylon, and acetate don’t possess the necessary characteristics that allow fabric to breathe, so profuse “sweaters” don’t want to be caught in them. Even worse, these synthetic fabrics, because of their stifling properties, will compound your problem and can make you sweat even more.
Fabrics to avoid: Corduroy, flannel, silk, polyester, polyester blends, nylon, and acetate.
Color choices that workNow that you know which fabrics to chose, color becomes the next strategic choice to understand. On this issue, it’s safe to say things are black and white -- almost. Black (or really dark tones) and white are near-absolute color values, so they don’t show sweat marks as readily. Thus, guys who sweat a lot want to shop for black, navy and pure white as these colors easily disguise sweat marks. And for variety’s sake, patterns also provide great camouflage for profuse sweating. Since patterned fabrics consist of varying shades, they appear textured and variegated, which means sweat stains are harder to identify.
On the other side of the color spectrum, light colors need to be left out. Since light blue, pale green and any shade of gray all darken at the first sign of moisture, these colors will betray you in a second. You don’t want to keep too many of these colors in your collection -- actually, if you have any, give them to goodwill.
Colors to find: Black, dark navy, dark hues of any color, white, and any sort of pattern.
Adding layersEven though it sounds counterintuitive, adding layers can help disguise excessive sweating. And the key is focusing on the innermost and outermost layers of your wardrobe.
Starting at the bottom, the best fabric for underwear is 100% cotton (a breathable fabric) boxer briefs. More supportive than boxers but less constricting than briefs, boxer briefs provide the perfect fit for maximum air flow and sweat absorbency. Same strategy works for undershirts: The fabric should be 100% cotton, and the fit should be loose. While you are well aware of cotton’s perks, you should know that loose-fitting shirts leave room for air to circulate against the skin, preventing clothes from becoming drenched. (Keep an extra undershirt handy so you can change into a fresh undershirt as needed.)
The flipside of bottom layers is the topmost layer -- outerwear. Sweaty guys need something durable, warm and absorbent; they need fleece. As a wool blend, fleece maintains all the sweat-friendly properties of its puritanical forefather. Not to mention that fleece comes in different weights and styles. You can easily find the pullover, half-zip or zip-up jacket that suits your needs, both in terms of style and sweat.
Dealing with sweat stainsYour ability to create and maintain a sweat-free, breathe-easy wardrobe wouldn’t be complete without the knowledge needed to care for your clothes properly. Sweaty guys face two big problems here: antiperspirant stains and sweat stains.
Antiperspirants, while a necessary part of the sweat solution, can also be a part of the problem because they often leave a filmy residue on clothes. The first step in battling these sorts of stains is avoiding them -- this means you should always allow time for antiperspirant to dry before putting on your shirt.
But that won’t be enough to prevent antiperspirant stains -- or profuse sweating and sweat stains -- so you’ll need some actual methods to fight both. Many home remedies exist for this, so the trick is finding the one that works for you. What’s the easiest tactic? Simply soak garments in cold water before washing. If that’s not enough, try adding a ¼ cup of white vinegar into a cold water wash. Perhaps the most strategic move is to dry your clothes in the sun, which will help bleach stains out naturally. Besides, drying your clothes on the warm-hot cycle will only cause the stains to turn darker and set in deeper. Of course, before you do anything, be sure to read the care instructions on the label as to prevent damage of a more serious nature.