Can A Business Shirt Really Keep You Cool?

Can A Business Shirt Really Keep You Cool?

Van Heusen claims its Evercool range will help keep your temperature down even when you’re formally dressed. Can it deliver the goods? Road Worrier put it to the test by travelling to Perth.

Picture by Gary M Prior/Getty Images

I would not describe myself as a spectacularly sweaty man. That said, on the occasions when I’ve been wearing a suit all day, the armpits on the shirt underneath don’t look too pleasant at the end of the day. On a long work stint, that’s not so surprising. Can anything be done about it?

This is part of the PR pitch for Evercool, a label which Van Heusen is applying to suits, shirts, underwear and socks:

The shirts utilise Coolmax everyday technology, a light yarn that rapidly draws moisture away from the body, keeping the wearer cool and dry – perfect for humid days and travelling in particular. Supplex is the performance branded fibre used in the Evercool underwear range. Supplex manages moisture, is fully breathable keeping you cool and dry, and is resistant to water and dries quickly.

A quick jaunt to Perth represents a good opportunity for testing out the virtues of Evercool. Not only is the trip there from Sydney about as lengthy as you can get on an Australian domestic flight, the odds of the temperature being high in October are considerably better than in Sydney. The Van Heusen team sent me a shirt and underwear from the range, and that went into my clothing schedule for the week. (Yes, I plan my clothes ahead of time on a weekly basis. I’m sorry if that offends you.)

I’ve tested out some of Van Heusen’s other travel-oriented work clothing before; its crush-resistant Performa suit was what I wore during my infamous No Luggage At All experiment, where I wore the same clothes for a week and roamed Australia with only a BlackBerry and some essential toiletries. Indeed, I’m using the same suit here, but adding the allegedly-less-sweaty shirt and undies to the mix.

How It Performed

The usefulness of planning a test in Perth was never clearer to me than when I was walking in the rain at 5am on my way to the airport on Thursday morning. At that point, worrying about being too warm was the last thing on my mind; the question was whether I’d be travelling looking like a drowned rat. Fortunately, by the time I’d actually hit the airport, the surface moisture had evaporated from my suit.

And if Sydney was cool and wet, Perth delivered as expected, with a temperature above 30 degrees by the time I landed mid-morning. When the cab driver offered to switch on the air conditioning in the taxi on the way to Midland, I declined. I took the same approach in my hotel, and wandered around the still-somewhat-sweltering Perth CBD in the evening to hunt down a quick bite to eat. Under normal circumstances, I’d have expected some evident sweat on the shirt and a certain degree of (ahem) moistness in my underwear after such a long day (even longer than usual given the three hour time difference).

But it didn’t happen. Of sweat there was none. The only obvious mark on the shirt was where I had spilled some sauce during dinner. It was a similar story for the underwear, which felt essentially the same as it had when I put it on that morning. I’d need to wash both items before I could wear them again, but in terms of keeping me cool and dry, they definitely delivered.

At $60 a pop for the shirt and $20 and up for the underwear, these aren’t the cheapest clothing options on the block, but they’re not ludicrously expensive either. I’d definitely be tempted to add a couple more to my wardrobe.

Lifehacker Australia editor Angus Kidman hasn’t been on a plane in a suit for a while. His Road Worrier column, looking at technology and organising tips for travellers, appears each week on Lifehacker.


  • In the spirit of the ‘no luggage’ challenge, do these items dry really nicely once washed?

    Also, did a double take when after talking about a sauce stain on the shirt from dinner, the underwear was the same. 🙂

  • “The only obvious mark on the shirt was where I had spilled some sauce during dinner. Ditto for the underwear”

    Sounds like you make for an unconventional dinner companion!

  • Hrm, it seems you arrived in Perth yesterday as it was the only possible Thursday that was warm… (The previous thursday maxed out at 19degrees, so I would hate to think your thought that was “warm”)
    ” Perth delivered as expected, with a temperature above 30 degrees by the time I landed mid-morning.” – officially we only recorded a 30degree maximum.
    Even out at perth airport BOM station is was about the same… at both stations this was recorded at 4pm (ish).
    Average reporting there mate, dont trust the cheap ambient temperature sensor in the taxi that has been sitting in the sun with its engine running.
    A bit of review and verification of your facts would go a long way.
    (Granted it was a “warm” evening last night compared to recent weeks, but if you thought that was hot, dont come during Feb/March when it is hot in the evening…)

  • saying that you’d need to wash them before wearing them again, is that because if the sauce stain, because its just habit to wash clothes after wearing once or implying that they were just unwearable for another day? if the later then why?

    I’d assume that not getting sweaty and them not getting too dirty or smelly because they don’t absorb sweat that they would be wearable for more than one consecutive day before washing…

    • I’d have assumed that the material is intended to cool you down by wicking away the moisture better than a ‘regular’ shirt. As in, it will more easily soak up the sweat, taking it away from your skin in order to leave you feeling cool and dry. So then even if the material itself later dried, it would still require washing.
      Reading the article will show you that this is in fact the case, for instance coolmax technology has been around for a while and you can see it commonly in socks and sleeping bags. (there are different types of fibres made by coolmax for different applications)

      If this shirt is of suitable quality and style then $60 seems very reasonable. What I’m not sure of is how the material would feel, iron and look, or if I need to be particular about how it is washed.

  • I work in Northern NSW and while our company’s attire is ‘relaxed’, (as in just a polo and pants), it’s still difficult to find anything ‘cool’.

    I’ve been in talks with many local uniform specialists and tried dozens of fabric blends, from cotton to polyester. If you can get away with a polo you might want to look at a Cool Dry weave. One of the companies recommended me their competitors link for further reading:

    I’ve tried some Cool Dry t-shirts and can’t really tell the difference between 100% cotton. Maybe some business execs who race around town might notice the difference. Not sure if there are Cool Dry business shirts

    Hope this helps.


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