10 Clothing Hacks to Cool You Down in a Hot American Summer

(Photo: Fotolia)

(Photo: Fotolia)

Come July, America can feel like someone cranked the sauna up to eleven. But you can keep the heat from wrecking your outfit by employing some of these cooling sartorial tips.

Chill your jeans
If you must wear full-length denim during the summer, stick your trousers in the freezer overnight. For maximum cool, put them on just before you leave the house. Not only will this nightly icing kill off any body odor-causing bacteria, it’ll also help chill your below-the-waist parts on that sticky walk to the car, station or bus stop.

Oust unsightly sweat stains
If you wear deodorant, chances are your favorite tops have permanent, tacky-to-the-touch patches on the armpits. Try pre-treating those stubborn pit stains with a spray of lemon juice before putting them in the wash.

Wear an undershirt
Ever wondered why American men wear vests to the office? It’s to keep sweat from reaching their work shirt. Also, a perspiration soaked vest can actually help cool you down. Gross but true.

Crop your vests, ladies
A long top can lengthen the torso and create the illusion of a skinnier middle. But it can also make you sweat like kebab lettuce. Take advantage of the fact that crop tops are trendy again, and slice of the bottom third off your summer vests. If you’re not keen to expose that much flesh—or prefer not to prance about looking like you’re about to record an ‘80s workout video—pair with tummy-concealing high-waisted jeans or a pencil skirt.

Invest in an unlined blazer and a straw hat

Most men’s jackets are lined with satin, silk or some other chic but sweaty fabric. If you must wear a coat this summer, seek out something in linen or cotton minus a lining. Pair it with a straw hat (which provides shade while dissipating the heat) to ensure that you look odd enough that folks won’t crowd around you on public transport. Win win.

Buy bra liners
Ever had to spend an afternoon with your arms folded to hide the croissant-shaped sweat patches that have formed on your midriff? Then you need a product like this. These babies will, allegedly, wick away boob sweat before it reaches your clothes.

Carry a hankie
A handkerchief may seem like an archaic accessory—helpful only to delicate Victorian ladies with the vapors. But when your forehead’s gushing like a Texas oil well, it’s the perfect mopping-up tool. A delicate dab here and there will stop your head perspiration from ruining your makeup or putting an unsightly kink in your fringe.

Invest in anti-sweating fabrics
Laboratories are apparently loaded with scientists knitting together uncooperative molecules in a bid to create cloth that will magic away our sweat and neutralize its stench. Uniqlo’s AIRism, for instance, is fast-drying and deodorizes.

Fix broken flip-flops with a hair tie
The most low-fi of summer shoe options is appealing because it’s light, cheap and your feet can breathe. But they’re also flimsy and the straps are given to snapping when you’re running for a bus. What’s a flip-flop wearer to do? Always carry a thick elastic hair tie. Next time your strap breaks, slip the band around your foot and shoe. It’s not elegant but it will stay in place long enough for you to hobble home.

Use deodorant to prevent blisters and smelly feet
Got a pair of strappy summer shoes you love, but they give you blisters the size of blimps? Rub your foot with a stick of deodorant. This will prevent chaffing and also help keep your sockless feet from stinking up your subway car.

Any other tips to stay cool in the sweltering heat?

See more:
Summer in America: 10 Tips for Visiting Brits
Summer in the States – Keeping Your Cool
Toni Hargis: What I Miss About British Summers

Ruth Margolis

Ruth Margolis

Ruth is a British freelance journalist who recently swapped east London for Brooklyn. She writes about TV for Radio Times and is working on her first novel.
View all posts by Ruth Margolis.
  • http://tonisummershargis.com/ Toni Hargis

    I’ll never forget my first summer in the USA (Dallas). To protect my lily white skin from the sun I put a light cotton shirt over my tank top. My American husband was aghast, and rightly so as the humidity made it stick to me like velcro. I was only used to the Med type dry heat.

    • crasher98

      This would be a good place for a link to the clip from Friends where Rachel yells at Joey to “Stop picturing it!” Can’t find it though, sorry!

  • Michele G

    My very first summer as a Brit in Dallas in 1992 was interesting for someone who had also lived in the Netherlands. My husband arrived home to me sunbathing at the apartment complex pool. The gate opened and I hear him shout “What are you doing?”
    I replied “Sunbathing!” his answer: “You can’t do that!”…puzzled, I responded “Then why do they have loungers by the pool, then?!”…his answer: “No, I mean topless – you are breaking the law!”…Little did I know….

    • Karen Frenchy


    • John H Harris

      The neighbors were probably enjoying the show too much to call the police. *Sheepish Grin*