I’m excited about this whole “summer” malarkey. I always am. When the sun’s out, it makes everything better – pubs, fields, benches, buses, walking around saying hello to dogs. It even makes going to work more bearable.
That is, of course, until you lean back, arms behind your head – really enjoying the hell out of life – and someone howls “Oi, put those pits away, mate. You’re sweating like Lee Evans.” Then, just like that, your day is ruined.
I used to be an extremely sweaty human, but then I learned how to dress for it and stopped worrying, and as some sort of magical by-product of this, I am no longer sweaty. I realised that I was mainly sweating because I was worried about sweating. A vicious, drenched yellow circle that I have subsequently thrown in the freezer.
So if you’re in the same boat, I’ve got some good advice for you. Here’s what to wear this summer if you want to disguise the fact that you’re a paranoid, sticky, fluid-leaking mess.
No one will ever know...
GET RID OF GREY
This is my number one tip for you hot lads out there – ditch the grey T-shirts. Grey shows up moisture more than any other colour: you might as well write “I AM WET AND SCARED” on your forehead in all caps.
So go black (ignore the whole ‘black clothes absorb more heat’ thing – it’s really not enough to make a huge difference) or very dark blue. It’s either that or head to the opposite end of the spectrum and go for very light colours: aka white, basically. And keep it cotton, rather than any synthetic fibres like polyester or nylon.
White also hides deodorant and antiperspirant stains, which can easily lighten the underarms of black T-shirts if used in abundance. And lord knows you go to town on those pits of yours.
PATTERNS ARE KING
If you absolutely must bring some colour into your wardrobe (why not? It’s summer) then go for patterns. Plaid, camo, lairy all-over jobbies – they’re all very good for disguising sweat marks.
You know how buses always have gaudy patterns on the seats? Do you know why that is? It’s to hide all the gross stains. It’s so that when some pisshead pukes all over them, they don’t have to deep-clean the sucker – they just wipe it off and pull the rank wool over your weary commuter eyes (but don’t think about that now).
The same goes with clothes – nab a shirt with a colourful pattern on it and you’ll hide those patches like a boss. Also, bonus: you don’t have to iron patterned shirts as they pretty much do it themselves. They’re smart like that.
GO UP A SHIRT SIZE
You’re going to want to get a nice breeze going between your glistening skin and your sodden T-shirt, so open the door and let the good times in. Muscle-fit is out; more casual, skater-fit tees are in.
And don’t worry if you reckon those baggy sleeves are gonna cover up all your hard work in the gym, just roll those bad boys up a few notches and they’ll fit to your arms better. Air the guns.
TOWELING SHIRTS ARE A GODSEND
You might be thinking “Uh, what’s a toweling shirt?” Well, we’ll tell you – *puts an arm over your damp shoulder* – it’s a T-shirt/polo shirt made out of the same material as a towel.
“Oh my god. So hot, I would be,” you say, speaking like Yoda for some reason, possibly through over-heating, but again, you’re wrong. Although they may appear thick and heavy, they are in fact breezy, light, and are good at invisibly absorbing sweat. JUST LIKE A TOWEL IS.
Again, go for a very light or a very dark colour, and you’re laughing. Also, if you ever go swimming but forget your towel, you can just use your shirt. How resourceful.
SLIP ON AN INCOGNITO VEST OR UNDERSHIRT
This may seem counter-productive – you’re trying to keep cool, so why would you want to add an extra layer? Well, because that extra layer will soak up your sweat, and it’ll be thin enough to keep your body temp at manageable levels.
If you’re wearing it under a t-shirt then you’re best wearing a vest or wide-necked (even, dare we say it, a V) undershirt so it doesn’t show through, but a normal crew neck will work if you’re wearing a casual shirt over the top. Especially considering you won’t be doing that top button up – we’ve seen the size your neck swells up to when it gets all hot and bothered.
H&M 2-pack t-shirts slim fit, £12.99
LEAVE THE BOOTS AT HOME
It’s lightweight trainers all the way in the summer, and boots or heavy shoes are a no-go unless you want athlete’s foot. A nice, smart pair of tennis trainers will do the trick (see: Converse Jack Purcell), some casual slip-ons (see: non-checkerboard Vans Classic Slip-Ons), or any pair of breathable mesh trainers (see: Nike Presto, adidas Flux) will do too.
And put some gosh-darn socks on – whether they’re trainer socks, tube socks or invisible socks, just put them on because bare feet in summer will not only ruin your shoes, they’ll ruin everyone else’s lives, too.
You might be able to get away with it if you’re going smart in a pair of woven slip-ons, but I don’t know, coat your feet in antiperspirant before, yeah? This isn’t a cheese museum.
LINEN-BLEND SUITS MAY SAVE YOUR LIFE
If you need to smarten yourself up at all this summer – maybe you’ve got a boring job or you’re going to a wedding – but you don’t want the cloying fabric and weight of a suit to turn you into a boiling slop of floppy-haired nonsense, then linen is the way to go.
Or more specifically, linen-blend, which adds a much-needed cotton contingent to the mix. This is important as it won’t crease immediately (like a full-on linen number does) and it still keeps you cool and lightweight. It also means you can step out of your comfort zone and try a couple of lighter colours, like a modern-day Mr. Ripley or Timmy Mallett.
BUY PERFORMANCE CLOTHING EVEN THOUGH IT’S FOR ANNOYING JOCKS
Look, I’m not saying you wear an Under Armour compression shirt to the club this Saturday, but certain types of performance clothing are much needed when you’ve got a sweat problem, so invest in a sweat-wicking undershirt if things are particularly bad.
These fancy shirts have the magical ability to draw sweat away from the body and transfer it to the exterior of the shirt, thereby keeping you nice and cool, and not hot and drenched, like a cucumber in a microwave or whatever.
This outlook should extend to your decision-making when it comes to buying underwear: performance boxer shorts are a highly essential addition to any wardrobe, or drawer, or floor – wherever you keep them. (Some of them actually look quite good, too.)
IF ALL ELSE FAILS, BUY THESE WEIRD THINGS
I mean, you need to hope that you don’t have to take your top off and have two white pads fall onto the floor in front of everybody, but these sweat-suckers are still quite good, I guess. Stick ‘em to the inside of the pits on your top, and they’ll absorb all your embarrassing liquid.
For a less conspicuous look, you could opt for a brand that makes shirts with in-built absorption pads, or even ask your tailor to add a bit more padding in the problem areas in your suits (if they offer that service, anyway – many do).
Buy pads that are especially designed for this purpose, though: it’s much easier than making up an elaborate lie as to why your girlfriend’s sanitary towels have all gone missing.
AXILLA-shield sweat pads, £3.99 for 10