Staying Dry

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Recent events have me thinking about male leads and sweating, specifically how leads deal with keeping themselves dry during dances so their partner doesn’t have to get into closed position with Swamp Thing. I see several methods in play: changing tee shirts multiple times during the night, athletic shirts that are supposed to wick the sweat away from your skin, and men dressing in layers with an undershirt, dress shirt, and sport coat. Of these three methods, the most effective that I have noticed is the man wearing layers. The sport shirts always feel damp even though they aren’t wet and the tee shirts, depending on the wearer, can have a pretty short life span before the lead is drenched again. Every lead I’ve danced with wearing a sportcoat feels dry, at least from the outside. And I thank them for that.

I found an article called “Why You Should Wear an Undershirt at All Times.” It certainly made for an interesting read and I wonder how many of you employ an undershirt as a tactic for dryness. There’s even an entire website devoted to undershirts, The Undershirt Guy, with reviews of undershirt brands and debates on comfort and dryness.

This is less of an informative post and more of a musing – I’d like to hear your thoughts on this topic, as what works for one may not work for others. How do you stay dry? I might know some leads that need your help…


8 thoughts on “Staying Dry

  1. Laura,
    Yes, wearing 3 layers will keep the sweat in and protect you best. While as leads we *always* want the ladies to be comfortable, the sport coat layer gets to be impractical for a couple of reasons:

    1) It’s bloody hot. If I start the night in a coat or vest, I will always end the night in it, because it’s so hot that I’m sweating by the end of my 2nd song. The problem there becomes plain old exhaustion. I’m sure with strong fitness or lots of time spent in a suit coat can help train for the stamina drain, it’s a lot for the average lead to keep going and going, especially if it’s a high energy event/band.

    2) It gets expensive. I only own a couple jackets that I would wear out dancing (2 suits, and 1 sport coat), and I will continue to wear them. However, like anything else they need to be kept clean. If I wear my coat out to he dance floor, it’s going to absorb all that sweat and nastiness from both me and my ‘glowing’ dance partners, and dry cleaning a suit coat isn’t cheap, at least where I live. If I had to get my suit cleaned after every dance, that would just be cost-prohibitive.

    As such, I always seek ways to help, and I often do a mixture of the remaining two areas. I wear an Underarmor shirt which pulls the sweat off of me, coupled with a second shirt, be it a t-shirt or a soccer jersey. I would never try to make a follow have to put her hands directly on my Underarmor, and I agree that frequent t=shirt changes just isn’t enough. The problem I often ran into with just changing t-shirts is that my body is still sweaty, and I can’t dry off with the old shirt, because it’s already soaked, and the new shirt looks nasty in only a couple of dances because I’m still nasty.

    Guys: unless you can afford it, mix. And if you’ve got something better, please, I’m always looking for new advice.

  2. hey lindy,

    thanks for the mention! i really like this topic as it would be great to find a great performing undershirt for the leads.

    i doubt it would be practical, but i just wrote a post about a tight-fitting performance cooling undershirt that keeps the wearers 10 to 20 degrees cooler!

    if you or your readers ever need any help picking out undershirts, please do not hesitate to ask!


    1. No problem! I am always amazed at the resources for whatever topic I can dream up. A performance cooling undershirt may come in handy for someone wearing multiple layers (dress shirt and sportcoat, sometimes dress shirt, vest, and sportcoat). Thanks for stopping by to say hello!

  3. Several things help:

    1) A waistcoat, sweater vest or sweater help a lot, and might be easier to clean than a jacket. Wear them over a shirt.

    2) Heavy cotton t-shirts hold it better than light ones.

    3) Get clothes for people with hyperhidrosis. Some of them might work better. Though I bought a t-shirt and it worked great the first few times, and then became “normal”.

    4) Dance where the air conditioning flow hits you. If you wear lots of clothes you won’t get cold, and it’ll help evaporate the sweat and keep you cool.

    5) and best… you don’t need to dance every song. Dance 2, rest 1 is a nice way to keep cool and don’t end up sweating a lot. In fact you should rest a song BEFORE changing clothes, in order to calm your sweating.

    1. hey jaume,

      the idea of using a sweat-through resistant undershirt (for people with hyperhidrosis) is a really brilliant idea!

      most of those undershirts have isolated protection in the underarm and back, however, there are a couple that have overall protection.

      there’s a company from spain named sutran that offers a complete two-layer lightweight undershirt that is really effective in eliminating/minimizing sweat-through. another company, kleinerts, offers undershirts treated/made with a patented fabrapel fabric that is also designed to minimize soak-though.

      information about both products can be found on my site or by googling them, but i believe either product would be worth trying. i might even be able to get you a sample of either/both if you’d be willing to try it out and do a write-up about your experience. let me know.

      i did also think of one other, temporary, idea. use antiperspirant. in addition to the underarm area, it can also be applied to other portions of the body to reduce sweating in certain areas. not saying to apply it to your whole torso, arms and back – because if your body can’t sweat to cool itself, that could be very dangerous. but, it might help if used in certain areas.

      1. Yeah, I know, I bought one (the sutran one, 24’50€) and it went more or less like this:

        First 2~4 times: Incredible, dry outside.
        From then on: It ends moist outside, like a sports shirt.

        I haven’t wear it enough to see if the performance degrades even more. And yes, I followed the cleaning recommendations (cold water, no softener).

        Also, you end feeling really disgusting inside and it’s extra warm (after all it’s 2 t-shirts sewn together, one that tries to get the sweat out, and one that tries to keep it in). So I’m torn and don’t know whether to recommend it or not.

  4. really good feedback there! thanks for the details – possibly something i’ll use on my site sometime.

    so, if that was your experience with sutran, you might want to check out kleinerts if you haven’t already. those undershirts are more-or-less one layer so they may breather better and make you feel less gross at the end of the evening 🙂

  5. I know a few guys who wear a light vest with much success. You can wear an undershirt and a button-down under them, or even just a t-shirt (although it has to be the right t-shirt for that to work). It’s not as hot as a sport coat, and is easier to clean. Also, thrift stores often have lots of vests, so it’s inexpensive to get a few different ones. Time After Time in Chapel Hill usually has a whole bucket full of them.

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