Leopard and Layers (& protecting clothes from underarm stains)


H&M; blazer (from 2011, but they have one right now just like this), Asos tulip dress (most sizes sold out)
Target chambray shirt (similar), Calvin Klein leopard pumps (similar)

This outfit comprised of all old garments isn’t anything special, but I wanted to share a quick tip discovered out of it. I’ve been trying to stretch my lighter pieces into this season by layering aggressively for warmth. Perhaps a little too warm…because when I took off this blazer at work, there were unsightly damp spots at both underarms. Such spots are especially noticeable on materials like light chambray or silk. You bet I put my blazer right back on!
I know some will be quick to suggest simple deodorant, but the sweat-prevention aspect of deodorant has never worked for me, and I don’t like the residue. Studies have also showed that some anti-perspirant agents, when combined with your body heat or moisture, actually worsen the stains that result afterwards. While brainstorming for solutions, I remembered designing dance costumes for a friend in college. His special request was something to prevent visible perspiration on the silk, and I had suggested sewing shoulder pads into the underarm area…

Inspired by that notion, it suddenly hit me to use panty liners. They stick easily into clothing, are designed to absorb moisture, and don’t leave stickiness behind. Most women have these lying around the home.
prevent perspiration
I’d recommend this tip only with shirts that will be tucked in, to lessen the risk of a liner falling out of your blouse at the end of a long day (and having to explain that to friends or colleagues!). I’ve been using this trick for chambray and silk blouses, and it’s been working nicely. Even if you don’t really sweat, even the tiniest bit of perspiration can result in stains, especially on white garments, so I see this as a preventative step to protect clothing between washes.

Readers – Please share any of your own tips for preventing and/or caring for unsightly underarm stains!

99 thoughts on “Leopard and Layers (& protecting clothes from underarm stains)

  • Anonymous November 18, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    well this post was unexpected…!

  • Christina November 18, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    This is brilliant! I was just thinking that layering sweaters over my silk shirts wasn't going to work in the winter, but this is a great idea! Thanks Jean!

  • Petite and Hungry November 18, 2012 at 8:53 pm
  • Hannah November 18, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    That's genius! Thanks so much for the tip!

  • phiphis blog November 18, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    i've been layering a lot too – wouldn't have thought of this!

    xox P

  • Elaine A (TOBeautyReviews) November 18, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    As soon as I read your post I had a feeling it would be the panty liner trick LOL! I luckily don't sweat too much but I remember this trick from high school that I had learned from a sales associate at a lingerie store 😛

  • Hellen November 18, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    As I was reading your post, I thought "Hm, I wonder if it's panty liners" – and it was!! I recently discovered putting panty liners in certain shoes that make my feet sweat/slip to help with the same problem. Awesome suggestion 🙂

  • Anonymous November 18, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Ha! I only sweat (under my arms, anyway) in oxford shirts, which is totally weird and random.

  • ERIKA November 18, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    Omg thanks for this haha, I was just thinking this because I get these stupid sweat stains all the time when I wear chambray or just any other button-up. It looks really gross. Is it uncomfortable or anything though?

  • Joy November 18, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Such a pretty outfit! Love the dress!

  • B November 18, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    That is kind of weird but genius at the same time! Thanks for the tip Jean!

  • Denysia Yu November 18, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    I've heard of this tip before, but I've never needed to use it. But I might one day! 🙂

  • jodi November 18, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    Oh my gosh. What an awesome idea!! Will definitely try this done out 🙂 thanks for posting !!

  • alison*elle November 18, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    I actually bought some "underarm sweat pads" from Daiso, the Japanese store. I think they were $2 for a pack of 4? Even still, I think your pantiliner trick is basically the same but cheaper.

  • simplybeccablog November 18, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    I let out a big chuckle when I saw the pad stain preventer xD! I just told my boyfriend and he says he will be sporting this from now on 😀

  • jenn~the stylish housewife November 18, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    my cousin does the same thing! and she also puts them in her shoes that make her feet sweat! =)

    xoxo, jenn
    the stylish housewife

  • Petitetomatoes November 18, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    good thinking! you look very cute.

  • Danielle November 18, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Great idea. Will definitely try it tomorrow. Thanks Jane.


    from http://Daniellescorner.com – Make it work being petite

  • Michelle November 18, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    What a great tip!I would have never thought of that. I love when you do posts like these!

  • lisacng @ expandng.com November 18, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    Love that you shared this tip where other bloggers might be too proud to share that they actually sweat. I certainly do!

  • Anonymous November 18, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    amazing, what a great tip!

  • Anonymous November 18, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    The pantyliners in the armpits… wonderfully brilliant!!

    The ensemble… your outfits are getting awfully mismatched and a little odd looking lately (even though you probably have put a lot of thought into your pairings)… for this particular pairing… so many different textures (polyester?, cotton, wool?, faux? leather)… not to mention so many different prints (chambray, mini check, leopard). I think the most glaring perhaps is the dress juxtaposed with those other textures… your outfit would look a lot more polished it it were a plain quality cotton dress (of similar neutral color of course) and a plain nude heel. I can see what you are going for though… it's like the blazer nicely pairs with the chambray… the blazer elbow patch goes with the leopard heels… the heels match the dress somewhat… the chambray with the dress and the blazer and the leopard together ???!

    This is only meant to be constructive. This is very brave of you to try to mix and match and stretch your pieces to maximum wear… I do applaud that.

  • Stephanie November 18, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    Wow… I never thought of that. Definitely will try it next time the occasion arises…which may be soon considering my client's conference room I'm working in is 26 degrees C and outside it's already hitting the below 0…

  • Lesley November 18, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    Great post, I've used a pantyliner as a sweat protector, but mine always ended up migrating down my sleeve. Haha. After searching high and low I came across this company, Kleinerts that makes all sorts of sweat protection items. I purchased the Valara style which is a nylon cami type thing with short sleeves and ending around where your bra would end. Pads under the arms protect from sweat and the best thing its machine washable. Comes in neutral colors and is reasonably priced. I've saved a ton on dry cleaning since I've used it and also no fears of the dreaded damp spots, or a pantyliner falling out of your sleeve!

  • mai November 18, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    oh wow, what a great idea! i will definitely be trying this.

  • Anonymous November 18, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    in japan and probably all of asia, they sell armpit inserts for clothing. this definitely comes in handy since it can get really humid over there.

  • Phoebe November 18, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    What a great idea for shoes! I bought those Summer Soles (which work great), but they're a little pricey. Do you find that the pantiliners remove cleanly from shoes? And how often do you replace them?

  • Anonymous November 18, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    Sorry, Anon, but now would a neutral dress look good?! Too plain. I think this works nicely, actually. Match match went out about 12 years ago.

  • Anonymous November 18, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    Great idea…. but now that I think about it.. maybe nursing pads would be better because they are not too long

  • Justine November 18, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Justine November 18, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    I totally did NOT expect this! I was thinking you'd use them to take the dusty lint off, but that's what lint rollers are for…great idea Jean!

    Quick Question – Have you come across any problems with the adhesive on your clothing specifically on your silk garment?

  • Suzie Q November 18, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    Very clever way to prevent underarm staining that you thought of. I love the layering with the chambray shirt underneath the pale pink dress. It's such a pretty color!

    Suzie Q

  • kenda November 18, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    great idea. i've got to try this.

  • Olyvia November 18, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    Great topic! I've been avoiding buying any shirts that makes the armpit sweat marks since high school…so for 2 decades… I've been wearing loose clothing on purpose, darker knits, and short sleeve t shirts under all button-up shirts to prevent my profuse sweating from showing through, haha. Glad you brought this to attention! The panty liner seams a great idea for occasional need. But ooh, just read Lesley's comment above about Kleinerts…I'm gonna head over there to check out what she is using…wow didn't know these products exist!

  • Kris B November 18, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    When I was on dance team in high school, we were required to wear sweat guards under our costumes to protect them (each costume was hundreds of dollars). We found them at fabric stores. They're not very cute, but they did the trick. Since they have straps they stay in place too.

  • Madame November 18, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    Love the outfit combo, but especially loving that tulip dress on you. I think I remember seeing somewhere about a product that was made specifically for absorbing underarm sweat, like your panty liner idea. I can't remember what it's called exactly though.

  • Anonymous November 18, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    Love the outfit and love the suggestion of pantyliners.

    One thing to watch for…some pantyliners have small gel dots in them that absorb wetness (like diapers, as unfortunate as the comparison is). If you cut them in half the gel stuff can come out all over your clothes. Not classy : )

  • karen November 18, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    Jean this is a brilliant idea! I've always struggled with underarm stains for YEARS and it influences the way I shop and being more selective with my clothes… so thank you sooo much for sharing this tip!! This gives me so much more freedom in choosing new clothes! 🙂

  • Anna D Kart November 19, 2012 at 12:15 am

    Love the outfit and what a great idea… seriously… Why haven't I thought of it? lol


  • Anonymous November 19, 2012 at 12:58 am

    All in the spirit of debating and not to criticize. I sometimes put together outfit with ambitious plan to coordinate and it backfire on me. So, I read a bit of tips from Jcrew mag and other mag regarding pairing things in an outfit. So in my humble opinion (to Jean and two above anon persons) I thought that the thing that kind of not fitting well with the outfit is actually the chambray dress. For a few reasons: first it is cotton (dress is polyester ish) and secondly it is out of color family (neutral/brown) and thirdly it is kind of stripe so it too busy to go with the jacket. So to sum up either the jacket was plain color like brown or black, the shirt was of similar texture to dress or glossy and light color like (pastel colors/aqua/light green or bold like emerald or burgundy etc). the shoe is fine. Just my humble opinion ladies.
    But Jean you gave us something to talk about. Love your blog Jean and learn a lot from you….thanks so much. We all have different tastes so be it.

  • Nhi November 19, 2012 at 12:58 am

    Thats a fantastic idea!! And I love the layered outfit. My only problem now is removing current sweat stains =/

  • Anonymous November 19, 2012 at 1:00 am

    correction: chambray shirt. lol.

  • Carla Krae November 19, 2012 at 1:06 am

    You should be able to find dress shields for armpit areas at any fabric store.

  • Miravelle November 19, 2012 at 1:18 am

    I've used panty liners as a last-resort method of preventing blisters from new shoes, but I've never thought to use them to prevent sweat! Interesting idea! 🙂

  • Anonymous November 19, 2012 at 1:19 am

    Yes, I agree with (the other) Anonymous. This post was very unexpected. :))

    Try garment shields. They are designed to protect garments from underarm stains and they absorb odors and wetness. You safety-pin or tack them into place. Some are made from fabric so they can be removed for washing; others, you dispose of after a couple of wears. Or you can make your own. Check your fabric store.

    P.S. I love your fashion sense.

  • chocolatefashioncoffee November 19, 2012 at 1:27 am

    great look! love the dress 🙂


  • Anonymous November 19, 2012 at 1:57 am

    I actually do like the whole look together, though I could do without the elbow pads on the blazer. Everything else looks pretty good. I thought the first pic was a bit awkward but that might just be how it was shot.

    It's very JCrew chic, Jean is like the tiny version of Jenna Lyons lol.

  • MizzJ November 19, 2012 at 2:08 am

    Interesting idea! You can't see the panty liner at all through the material? Also, how do you get it to stay, surely the stickiness of the liner isn't enough?

    Another trick I've heard that's more geared towards yellow stains on white shirts, is to spray it with vinegar after each wear.

  • Musings by Di November 19, 2012 at 2:14 am

    Aww man, that's ingenious! Totally doing this with silk tops. I've inherited the unfortunate sweat glands of my father…

  • Musings by Di November 19, 2012 at 2:15 am

    Love he color scheme of ur ootd, and the chambray collar poppin out!


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