Leopard and Layers (& protecting clothes from underarm stains)

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

98 comments:

  1. well this post was unexpected...!

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  2. 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!

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  3. what a clever idea!

    www.petiteandhungry.blogspot.com

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

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  5. i've been layering a lot too - wouldn't have thought of this!

    xox P

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  6. 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 :P

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  7. 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 :)

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    1. 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?

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    2. 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! :)

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    3. @Phoebe - I don't use it often, but so far they have always removed cleanly with no sticky residue! I don't usually leave it in after an event; I use it for a few heels I wear for events where I'll be in them for awhile and know I wouldn't be taking them off (so people won't see! haha)

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

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  9. 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?

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  10. Such a pretty outfit! Love the dress!

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

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

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

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  14. 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.

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  15. 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 :D

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

    xoxo, jenn
    the stylish housewife

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  17. good thinking! you look very cute.

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

    Danielle

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

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

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

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  21. amazing, what a great tip!

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  22. 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.

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    1. 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.

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    2. 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.
      peace
      m

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    3. correction: chambray shirt. lol.

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    4. 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.

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    5. If you looked up "neutral" color palette you'd see the potential is huge. Jean had the right idea... her tulip dress is of a neutral color. A neutral color is not "too plain" at all... it's actually exactly what Jean did... a neutral pink. My only suggestion was the fabric of the dress (polester-ish?) seemed to mismatch with the outfit in its entirety.

      Matchy match went out 12 years ago? I meant no offense at all to Jean. I thought she as well as her readers would be open to mature discussion of putting together pieces to make and outfit. I just happened to notice lately she's been experimenting a lot with patterns upon patterns AND textures upon textures all in one outfit... gingham, lace, leather, + patent bowtie heels... lace, leather Hermes belt, fur + red leather gloves.

      I concur with m(?) I love Jean's blog and learn a lot all the time... which now has become especially useful as I too learn to build upon my professional stables and look more "adult" and less like a minor. I actually don't dress "matchy match" conservative and experiment quite a bit as well but was just wondering if anyone felt the same way as far as having too much different pieces assembled to make a polished outfit. I too love Jcrew and their assembly of outfits! I think layering different patterns is tricky and to add upon that different textures can really make the outfit look fashionably contrived.

      Also, "all in the spirit of debating and not to criticize.......... we all have different tastes so be it."

      - long time reader

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    6. True, everyone has their own taste to begin with. Most importantly, beauty is in the eye of the beholder

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    7. I agree.. Im a long time reader and i definitely think the outfits from last year seem more polished. I commend u for being so brave and trying new ways to remix old items but this particular ensemble is a miss. I feel somewhat relieved that other readers feel this way about this outfit too.. I usually love your style and tips but perhaps you're style is evolving.. People change and grow. That's ok with me. :) The last time there was this many critical comments was when khatu gave you that crazy bronzed makeover and there was an uproar!

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    8. While I agree with the comment above mine in that Jean is brave, I would have to fervently disagree that the ensemble is a miss. In fact, most of the comments are centering on her ingenuity in dealing with a very common wardrobe dilemma.

      It is important that one evolves, which would include one's fashion sense. If not, some of us may still be wearing hammer pants! Lol. It's definitely not for the faint of heart but Jean has showed us time and time again that thinking outside the box is her mo, for which we have all benefited while reading her blog!

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    9. i agree with the anon whom said everyone has their own taste. i like the outfit as a whole, but i'm not too keen on when the blazer is off. i also like the remixing of old items, different textures and fabrics, and layerings. i always get inspired when looking at her outfits.

      thanks, jean, for the great idea of using panty liners. i would never have thought of that. ;)

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  23. 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...

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  24. 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!

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

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  26. 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.

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

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  29. 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?

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  30. 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!

    xoxo,
    Suzie Q
    www.StyleCueBySuzieQ.com

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  31. great idea. i've got to try this.

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  32. 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!

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  33. 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.

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  34. 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.

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  35. 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 : )

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  36. 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! :)

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


    happymedley.blogspot.com

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

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

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  40. 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.

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  41. great look! love the dress :)




    chocolatefashioncoffee.blogspot.com

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  42. 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.

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

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

      Xoxoo
      Diana

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  44. This is an interesting idea. Though you should be extra careful when taking off the blazer in public.

    I used to live in Cyprus. And it's not only hot there but also humid, so the sweating problem is huge especially when going out in the evening wearing something nice. A friend told me this trick and it worked so much better than anything else: before you go, you should apply a small ammount of shaving foam (your's or your bf's) and rub it to your armpits and let dry. That really works. So I thought it's worth mentioning.

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  45. What a great idea with the panty liners! And I just love the girly dress paired with the chambray shirt. Your style is fabulous!

    x
    Sabrina

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  46. Great idea though IDK if I'd be able to focus, I'd just giggle every time I remember that I have a pad on my underarms lol.

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  47. Great post! I laughed out loud about the panty liner falling out! I am so jealous of the elbow patches on your H&M blazer. I bought mine a couple months ago and it doesn't have them. I wonder if elbow patches are DIY-able? Any thoughts?

    xoxo, Julie @ OBSESSED

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  48. hahaha that's pretty cool but it looks uncomfortable.

    Have you ever tried crystal deodorant? It's natural, 100% bio and doesn't have any chemicals in it (it's a rock which you wet with watter then apply on your underarm area). Plus it lasts forever! I've had mine for at least 4 years!

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  49. Regular antiperspirant/deodorant don't prevent perspiration for me either. I started using Certain Dri a few years back and it has been great!

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  50. Thank you for having practical advice!

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  51. Absolutely love this look! The blazer with the dress is perfect! And those leopard heels are amazing!! Love your style and your blog :)

    The Style Storm

    xo, Christina

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  52. Kleinerts.com sells disposable and reusable shields. They also sell camisoles with the shields sewn into them. Well worth the investment.

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  53. Thanks so much for always posting such practical and budget friendly advice. You are living proof that you can mix high and low price points and have great style and poise.

    P.S. I bought the velcro hair bump and I love it! Thank you!

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  54. adorable outfit I love that dress.
    xo
    Rachelle
    http://pinksole.com

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  55. LOVE!

    Enjoy $25 off your order (and free shipping!) in the next 24 hours from Sole Society/The Glitter Life! http://cb.solesociety.com/x/92RY9

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  56. Believe it or not, but there are actually underarm shields (a little bigger and rounder and better-sticking than panty-liners) that are manufactured just for this purpose. My favorite kind are made by Hollywood Fashion Tape and they're called "Garment Shields Sweat Protectors". You can buy them on Amazon, ten pads for $2.99. They're really terrific.

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  57. Hi Jean:

    I have one more question about interview. Can I wear a pearl necklace or a tiny silver necklace or less is better for a interview for a engineer scientist position?

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  58. You are the master of layering!!! The entire outfit looks great!!!



    http://closetstruck.blogspot.com/

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  59. Very interesting idea and might have to try it myself.

    XO
    Sam
    http://fabulouspetite.blogspot.com

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  60. A tip from my friend, she also uses pantiliners when she wears flats because sometimes those no-show socks never quite stay on our feet. Absorbs moisture and decreases the stink factor!

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  61. I LOVE this dress, awww *w*

    ♥♥♥

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  62. Brilliant idea Jean, thank you!

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  63. Buy Certain Dri. I began using it in 2006 and never sweat or have problems with ruining shirts. (The liquid roller ball is the best, and definitely follow the directions!)

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  64. Awesome advice! I hate those unsightly stains on clothes. And don't say this outfit isn't anything special. I aways love a look that comprises lighter pieces layered for cold weather!

    -Erin-
    OneTwoSummer

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  65. Hi Jean - I really love this ensemble you've put together. It's preppy but with an edge.

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  66. There's an episode of "The Office" where Michael Scott uses that same trick!

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  67. Haha! and I thought I was original and came up with the pantyliner trick a few weeks ago. I think it's a good idea to use especially with expensive winter coats/jackets that are dry clean only. I may not sweat that much, but it's always good to preserve nice clothes. I love that you weren't embarrassed to blog about this. Everyone sweats but some like to pretend they don't ;)

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  68. I also have the same problem. Deodorant and perfumes are not working for me, I couldn’t prevent from sweat. I should try this panty liner.

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  69. I use CERTAIN DRI, recommended by my dermatologist before when I asked her about excessive sweating there. You apply it the night before and don't worry about deodorant the next morning. I love it when I wear sleeves, silk or layers I never have to worry about pit stains. I only use it when needed. http://www.walgreens.com/store/c/certain-dri-roll-on-antiperspirant/ID=prod2303234-product

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  70. If you ever have yellow sweat stains on clothes, you can soak that part with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, Dawn dish soap, and some baking soda. Works like a charm! It would fade the color either.

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  71. I support this idea a lot! For my 3 hour straight dance performance, I used this method for the blouse and it helped IMMENSELEY

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  72. Simply superb....The shoes and her skirt looks cute to her...It makes me tempt to wear it..

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  73. you look stunning!

    x Audrey

    fashionhightea.blogspot.com

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  74. i can't believe how informative this post AND it's comments were. Pantyliners for under arm AND shoes? Wow. I guess it's time to stock up at costco!

    Your outfit is fabulous. I love the way you layer!!! Thank you for so much information on these blogs.

    - Alice

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  75. Looks very relaxing and have a great look. You look very beautiful in this too.

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  76. For deodorant, I use a natural crystal rock. This type of deodorant is scent free and natural. It leaves no residue and is obtainable from health shops.

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  77. Forgot to mention that this is a very effective anti-perspirant/deodorant and lasts for years!

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  78. I also use the crystal rock for deodorant - and I'm thinking for pantiliners, the small thinner travel sized ones may be more comfortable and just as effective. I will try them on tomorrow!

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  79. At JoAnns fabrics stores they carry underarm protector products that do exactly this, but are better shaped and I'm sure are more comfortable. I've used them with formal dresses. Super simple to put in your top! check them out.

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  80. The pink colour of the dress and the leopard shoes fit so well together ^^

    Love xx
    Melanie ~ www.mlncrd.com

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  81. Necessity is the mother of invention. Thanks for the idea!

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  82. ok, i read this post way back and thought the underarm stain protector was a brilliant idea. till now... it's been working very well but today i attached a pad under each armpit on a loose fitting silk shirt that I wore not tucked in... and as i was walking thru the hallway I work, I found one of the pads lying on the floor! I must have dropped it!!! I quickly picked it up hoping no one saw me.. but jeeez everyone must have been working WTHHHHH is this doing on the floor, gross!!! And I also noticed that the other one was missing but don't know where i dropped it... at home? at my son's daycare? somewhere in the office building?? omggg i'm so embarressed!!! i hope no one makes the same mistake that i did~~!!!!!

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  83. OMG! Ive been doing this for years and my friends laugh at me...but it works. lol

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  84. My comment is mostly directed at the critics on the authors' fashion choice to demonstrate the subject at hand: ***You have entirely too much time on your hands*** If you spent that much time meditating or pondering the existence of life, you wouldn't be so caught up in such pointless specks of existence (seriously a random blog on underarm sweat??? This is NOT Vogue, Honey), nor would you choose to try to change someone, but to celebrate them. Wear whatever you want adorable, stain-free authoress. If it makes you happy, then that's all that matters! Besides, it's really none of our business what others think anyway. ;-)

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