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.


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