Keeping your cool in the summer heat can be a challenge especially if you need to dress smart for your job. Just getting to work on public transport without arriving in a hot mess can seem an insurmountable hurdle. So what can you do to keep yourself looking relaxed and comfortable in your skin? Read on for seven practical tips and tricks that will help you look and feel cool for longer.
1. Wear layers
I know this seems counter intuitive, but when you need to wear a suit for work it’s important that you have underwear that can absorb sweat. Let the undershirt do it’s thing and keep your shirt or blouse looking fresh. One thing to look out for here is the fibre content of your chosen under-layer. Make sure it is 100% cotton if possible. Cotton is naturally very absorbent and also heat conducting. This will help you feel fresh for longer.
2. Choose natural fibres
Natural fibres such as wool, cotton, linen and silk are all naturally breathable helping your body to regulate its temperature. Cotton and linen are both very absorbent, while wool and silk are able to both keep your body warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather. It’s all about choosing the right material. A light weight merino wool can be just as good as a linen suit (and won’t give you that crumpled look). Or you can go for silk, linen and wool blends. For shirts and blouses it is especially important to choose a good quality thicker cotton made from longer cotton filaments. Cheaper cotton is made from shorter filaments and will sometimes require the addition of another material in order to make it into cloth.
3. Avoid polyester and other man-made fibres
Polyester is made from crude oil and is essentially a wearable soft plastic. It not only makes you sweat more as your body can’t regulate its temperature, but it also provides the ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. These bacteria feed on body oils secreted through sweat and cause that pungent sweaty smell. The same bacteria are not so keen on natural fibres. So ditch the polyester and invest in some quality cotton tees and wool suits.
4. Apply anti-perspirant the night before
If you use anti-perspirant applying it in the morning when you are in a rush can actually negate its usefulness. The deodorant will not penetrate as deeply into your pores through wet skin. So if you are applying it straight out of the shower or when you are already sweating it will not be able to get to work. Anti-Perspirant works by clogging your sweat glands with aluminium salts as well as reducing the presence of bacteria which feed on sweat. To maximise its impact apply the deodorant after a shower in the evening and only after you’ve given your body 10 minutes to dry.
5. Give yourself more time
Dashing out the door in the morning and running for the train is sure to get you sweating instantly. If you want to keep cool plan in extra time so that you can walk slowly and avoid working up a sweat in the first place.
6. Stay hydrated, but don’t overdo it
Drinking enough in hot weather is important of course, but you can actually drink too much water causing your body to sweat even more as it tries to get rid of the excess. The common sense approach is to drink when you are thirsty rather than because you think you ought to.
7. Add dress shields to your suit jackets
If you can’t avoid having to wear a blazer on a hot day you can invest in some dress shields to add into the armpits of your jackets. Secure them to the lining with safety pins and you’re good to go. It’s probably worth getting two pairs so that you can wash one set while you use the other.
7. Carry a change of clothes
If all of the above fails you’ll be glad to have a change of clothes to hand. Keep a set at the office and consider carrying an extra shirt and undershirt with you for a quick refresh when you’re out and about. You will be able to turn up at meetings looking cool and collected giving you that edge any woman in business wants to have.
What strategies do you have for staying cool on a hot day? Please add your suggestions to the comments below and let me know if any of the above tips work for you. And if you would like to find out more about having a bespoke summer suit tailored for you please get in touch.