Gonna make me sweat
February 13, 2012 9:00 PM   Subscribe

I am doing a musical theatre revue in a formal gown. I am fat and there will be dancing. How can I minimize the look and feel of sweat and still stay fancy?

I will be under the lights wearing this dress. It's some sort of polyester approximation of silk. I wore it and got all sweaty when I got married, but that was in 80-degree early September. This performance is in two weeks and indoors. Additionally, I will be offstage for a large part of this show while other people do their numbers, so there will be ample opportunities to wipe off my fevered brow and wring out my hair.

In general, I'm not a particularly sweaty person. However, as I mentioned before, I am kinda fat and out of shape; I tend to sweat just by traipsing around a little too fast. It will be necessary for me to confidently wave my arms above my head and do fake hula-type moves involving giant feathered fans, and I would rather do so without the threat of the giant wet spots I incurred last year. I will also likely have to wear said dress seven days in a row, through tech and three shows.

I haven't made up my mind yet about possibly wearing a shrug, but I was considering something like this, which might actually make the sweaty parts more visible. Should I maybe lean toward something lacy?

So. Any hints as to how I can keep the sweat down, both on my forehead and (mostly) in my pits?
posted by Madamina to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: (p.s. yes, that's my wedding that freaked me the fuck out. But that was the nice part!)
posted by Madamina at 9:02 PM on February 13, 2012

You look awesome in that dress!

As a reasonably sweaty person with no experience in musical theatre, I'd say if you're going with a shrug go with the lace. It will show sweat less and also because it's made of holes, it will limit sweating more than the chiffon, which will probably not breathe at all.

Also? I have no personal experience with this product at all because I can never be bothered, but this seems like a situation for which dress shields are tailor made. (That is just the first google result, but you get the idea.)

Break a leg!
posted by SoftRain at 9:10 PM on February 13, 2012

I have successfully danced under lights sweat free as a larger guy by wearing a linen suit.

Rule #1, wear a breathable fabric. Linen is good, cotton is good. Polyester is bad. etc.

Underdress as much as you can, you'll be hot even though it's winter.
posted by Sphinx at 9:12 PM on February 13, 2012

For the underarm situation, can you get syNeo 5 (pdf!) in the US? It really, really works.
posted by likeso at 9:33 PM on February 13, 2012

(and that dress - and you in it = gorgeous)
posted by likeso at 9:34 PM on February 13, 2012

posted by likeso at 9:36 PM on February 13, 2012 [5 favorites]

Best answer: For the pits: Certain Dri antiperspirant. I wore it on a humid, 100+ summer day & my underarms were dry as a bone, which is *not* normal for me. Just don't use it immediately after shaving your underarms. Ouch.
posted by belladonna at 10:08 PM on February 13, 2012

Best answer: Certain dri. Read the instructions -- you have to apply it the night before, and for best results a couple nights in a row. And ditto belladonna! Not after shaving. But it really works.
posted by kestrel251 at 10:30 PM on February 13, 2012

Best answer: That is an amazing dress. I have serious dress envy. I would love it if you said where you got that dress.

You can take care of underarms with Certain Dri or Secret Clinical Strength, which kept me dry in August at Disney World Orlando. As for the rest of you, perhaps an aerosol antiperspirant like Arrid or something on your torso or other areas that you're worried about? Just wash it off later so that you don't end up overheating like the woman from Goldfinger (yes, that was an urban legend, but still, don't leave your pores clogged for too long!).
posted by Addlepated at 10:56 PM on February 13, 2012

For the forehead, loose powder to control shine and a towel backstage to absorb excess moisture will be your best friends. Blot, don't wipe.
posted by psycheslamp at 12:17 AM on February 14, 2012

For makeup....I've had great results with a company called Tarte Amazon Clay. Really good results. You can get it off of Amazon....Get some foundation and a compact....It's a little $$$ but its REALLY helps to keep down the shine....
posted by pearlybob at 2:36 AM on February 14, 2012

Agree with all -- you gotta relax and have fun 'cause you look fantastic in that dress (and it's a great picture, by the way, and I remember that thread vividly -- wonderful to see the photo!) Along with all the super strength underarm solutions, get yourself a nice big Evian spray bottle. Keep spritzing chest/upper arms and patting down a little before your performance. You could do the gel pack on the neck thing. I would skip the shrug, way too hot. Don't do spanx or even pantyhose if you can get away with it, go bare-legged and hike your skirt up now and again to cool off your lower regions. Bring one of those little fans!
posted by thinkpiece at 4:08 AM on February 14, 2012

You look so wonderfully gorgeous in that dress! For care of the dress afterwards spritz with vodka (Test a hidden spot first) and hang to air dry.
posted by mightshould at 5:23 AM on February 14, 2012

Response by poster: The dress is actually a bridesmaid's dress from Wtoo by Watters and Watters. The only alteration it needed was hemming. The crappy part was that absolutely no bridal store in any state has swatches or sample dresses that show the fabric properly. The company's swatches are literally smaller than my thumb. Luckily, the color was (obviously) great.

Thanks for all the tips! I don't know yet whether I'm wearing heavy regular makeup or actual stage makeup, but we'll see. I'm kind of tempted to get a light spray tan; lighting designers have told me I glow :P
posted by Madamina at 6:15 AM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

If your head sweats, put your hair up. A sweaty scalp is only noticeable when the underlayer of hair gets soaked. You could pull it up, attach some fun feathery things, and leave a couple of curls out by your face (i.e. curling iron + hairspray and they won't get wet if you don't touch them)

Face-wise, blotting and powder.

Is there a good "cold-room" backstage? Someplace you can crack a window and everybody who's overheated can step into and chill a bit, without having an icy draft across the whole backstage? Or a fan, at least? (but be careful of your hair + fan, no matter how you do it!)

If the dress gets awful and stinky during rehearsals, (a) everything on stage usually reeks by the end of the show run anyway (b) those polyester bridesmaid dresses are almost always machine washable even though they say dry clean (but seriously, it's just polyester). Turn it inside out, run it through as its own tiny load on cold+delicate, Woolite if you've got it or regular detergent if you don't), give it about 10-15 minutes of warm (not hot) tumble-dry to get the wrinkles out, and hang it to finish drying, steam if necessary. (source: The dry cleaner said it would cost $200 to dry clean my $300 polyester wedding dress, so I did this instead, and it came out fine)
posted by aimedwander at 6:49 AM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I was thinking of doing the same hairstyle as I had at the wedding. The forehead is usually a little drippy but not terrible, especially if I shellac it in place, but the back side of my hairline is the tough part. When I mentioned wringing out my hair, I wasn't kidding -- last August I had to do that between every number in a choir concert. But, again, that was August.
posted by Madamina at 7:44 AM on February 14, 2012

I would definitely go for the dress shields--they should have them at Joann's or any other fabric store (not quilting stores).
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 8:50 AM on February 14, 2012

1. You look fantastic. Don't worry about a thing.
2. As for worrying about face and sweating... one of my favorite beauty items is that Evian Spray. I know, I know. It sounds pointless and ridiculous but it really does refresh the skin and any foundation or makeup you have on. During breaks mist yourself with this. Also mist right before you go on stage and allow to dry.
3. If you don't want to bother with that there is this great mattifying powder by Makeup forever that. It's just their clear "HD" matte powder. You can buy this at sephora. You only need a tiny, tiny bit but it works well. If your skin is dry I'd try to limit using this but for this situation (only during a performance) I think it would be perfect!
posted by twoforty5am at 9:41 AM on February 14, 2012

Best answer: 3rding Certain Dri. I'm a sweaty pig so I put it on in the morning and live through the painful stings, but it's really cut down on my gross sweatiness like 99%.
posted by jabes at 4:17 PM on February 14, 2012

Living in the heat and humidity of a DC summer means relying on Dermadoctor's MED e TATE wipes. You can also use this on your face, though you must use it on clean, dry skin before applying anything else. You should be able to get a sample at Sephora if you want to try before you buy.

Wardrobe and costume shops will always have spray bottles of cheap vodka and filtered water (1:4 mix) used to keep clothes smelling fresh, especially when they can't be laundered daily.
posted by evoque at 6:11 PM on February 14, 2012

Response by poster: Update:
Tonight is the final dress; I've been in the gown for two nights.

I bought some Certain Dri and some Dry Idea clear gel (we were required to get unscented stuff, and one of the more experienced ladies had it, so I thought perhaps she knew something I didn't). The first night, I put on some Dry Idea right before the show, and it didn't work at all. Same huge wet circles I had on my wedding day.

So I got home and put on the Certain Dri, and lo and behold there was not a single drop of perspiration all night last night. AMAZING. I saw lots of horror stories about skin irritation, but I don't feel a thing. I'd gone out and gotten their daytime solid, just to complete the "system" in case the nighttime application wasn't enough (and really, who'd think it could be?, but I may just take it back to Walgreens.

This stuff is incredible. Thanks!
posted by Madamina at 7:37 AM on March 1, 2012

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