Search This Blog

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Summer, heat and sweat - how to protect your lolita clothes

Summer is here in full bloom, and with it comes the sun. Of course, the sun has its advantages - the light is pretty, flowers bloom, birds sing, it's green everywhere and you can go on strolls and have picnics. It's a lovely time of year, isn't it? I love it, too. But all seasons have their charm - and their drawbacks. Maybe the biggest issues in summer are:

- Sweat
- Deodorant stains
- Tan
- Grass stains
- Fruit stains

I'll go through them one at a time, with my personal solutions to the problems. I've been a lolita for a very long time - since 2005 - and the last seven years or so I've been a full time lolita, so I battle every day problems that I feel need some kind of solution. We've all been there - all of us that wear lolita frequently, which makes me believe that this is a subject important to all of us. It is considered common knowledge that you want to wash your dresses as little as possible, which leads me to the first issue.

Sweat & deodorant stains

All people sweat when it gets hot - some more, some less, and most of us get smelly and uncomfortable. Nobody likes the wet sensation down their backs and armpits - and nobody wants to smell bad. So, what to do?

My first choice is simply this: not sweat at all. I'm sure sweat fills a function, but I don't really notice any change. I suppose it would be good to drink plenty of water if you overheat easily, though. Here in Sweden we have something called "Absolut Torr" - which comes in both as a sort of roll-on and wet wipes.

I'm sure this product is available in other countries in some form - we buy it at drug stores here. Wipe it down the places where you find you sweat a lot, like the arm pits, back and beneath the breasts (if you are a girl). This stops you from sweating where you applied it, which is such a relief. A note of caution though - always wait until it has dried before you put your clothes on, or there is a tiny risk it might stain. I haven't tried.

Note: As with everything - you have to shave your arm pits. The reason for this is not attractiveness - it's because the smell from sweat comes from bacteria. The bacteria gets stuck in the arm pit hair and makes the smell difficult to get rid of, the deodorant doesn't reach the skin but gets stuck in the hair as well, and the same goes for pretty much anything you try to apply there. If you dislike shaving, there are other alternatives for hair removal.

The second choice is, of course, to protect the clothes and get rid of the smell. No matter how much your deodorant promises, there are no deodorant out there (as far as I'm aware) that doesn't stain white clothes. An important thing to note here, is that pure cotton does not get stained. If your blouse - for example - has even the tiniest bit polyester in it, though, it will get stained if it gets in touch with deodorant.

Rule number 1 you ought to learn if you want to be a lolita (and some of you veterans could do to learn it as well) is this: never wear your lolita directly against your skin. This also goes for petticoats. Every lolita should have, besides the dress/blouse/skirt that is the outwards show, should have a petticoat (depending on dress design, of course, but usually), drawers and a slip or long chemise. The slip/chemise goes beneath everything, and should have a fairly bold neckline (so it won't be visible) and short sleeves that don't have poof. A lot of slips are sleeveless, but in summer they absolutely need to have sleeves so your sweaty arm pits doesn't touch the cloth in your blouse or dress.

If you really dislike the thought of having sleeves on your slip, or believe that simply wearing sleeves won't protect your clothes - you can sew in some extra padding just in the armpit. Some people use an oval piece of fabric - double - which they fasten with tiny snap buttons (plastic or something that won't rust!), and remove them and wash them when they are done. It's very practical if you sweat a lot. These oval paddings can be found at most stores that sell fabrics - just ask for padding for the arm pits, they'll know what you are after.

If your clothes do get stained anyway - it's hard to get rid of. There are alternatives, but you need to use them quickly after the stain - like Vanish, or applying washing liquid directly on the sweat stain. Be very careful with scrubbing! You can ruin the fabric by scrubbing to vigorously! I heard someone say you can rub pantyhose on sweat stains, but I haven't tried it so I can't vouch for it. The same goes for toothpaste with whitening it in. It may work - it may not. There are plenty of things to try out there, most of them including vinegar in some form, if you are desperate enough to risk to try it.

Deodorant alternatives
Are you terrified of deodorant stains, but absolutely need something against the smell? It's quite common for people not to wear any deodorant to spare their clothes - but the smell is a problem and the smell itself can get stuck in the clothes. I have a trick just for you.

Sweat is caused by bacteria - and the same goes for the sweat smell from clothes. There is a very easy way to solve this: apply disinfection. I know, it sounds ridiculously simple, but it works. I've always got a bottle of hand disinfection in my bag for the occassions when I'm really worried I'll smell, and it dismisses the smell instantly. Just dab a bit, and it's gone. You can use hand disinfection instead of deodorant, quite easily. Just keep in mind that some people with sensitive skin may react to it, so test yourself first.


If you are like me, you dislike getting a tan. But the sun is up there most of the time during summer, and it can't be helped. I have three tricks for this, one that works only if you are resistant to heat:

- Long sleeved boleros or cardigans
- Parasol
- Sun lotion with high UV protection

Long sleeved boleros or cardigans is really the most effective way, but they tend to get hot, so it's not for everyone. You can train yourself to withstand heat, but the road there may be a bit uncomfortable. I usually wear this, because I don't sweat all that much, but if you are to do it you need to have boleros or cardigans that can take a lot of washing.

Parasols are pretty - it's a very good lolita accessory to have. The bigger the parasol the better. I guess most people would believe it needs to be black to protect you from the sun, but so is not the case. The problem with the sun is the UV - ultra violet light - and if you have been reading up on quantum mechanics you'll know that light is particles, and thus light can "bounce" off your parasol. The light that would give you a tan won't get through the fabric, so that's one less thing to worry about.

How to find a pretty parasol though? The ones in childrens sizes doesn't really help much against the sun, so you might have look a bit (unless you buy from an online store - just keep in mind that umbrellas and parasols may not go through all customs - my sister lost a parasol in UK because of this). My personal favourites are by Lisbeth Dahl.  I own the parasol below and and I adore it. <3

When you look for sun lotion, you want the highest protection there is. 30 or more. These can usually be found among products aimed at children, so there is your best bet to look.

Grass & fruit stains

These two have caused many a people big grief through the years. What do you do when your favourite dress got grass stains on it on a picnic, and why oh why did you drop that strawberry on your lap?

Things like these  happen when you are doing something in particular - picnics or similar - and my best advice to you is to prevent it. The absolutely best way as I see it, is to always bring a double sided apron when you go on outings. Before you think 'that's not lolita - that's maid', hear me out. There is quite a difference between an apron made for a maid - and one made for a lady to protect her clothes. It was quite common during Victorian times that rich children had decorative aprons to protect their dresses when they were playing, and it is perfectly possible to do this as a lolita as well.

The best apron is one that doesn't look meant for a maid, is one that has no tie bands in the back. Instead, you have bows in the sides of buttons, and protective flounces back and front alike.

The reason for this, is that if you sit down in grass - the back of the apron will protect your skirts from the grass, and if you dribble the apron will protect your lap. They are very useful. My best advice is to have a white cotton apron, so you can wash it in high temperature - and bleach it - should it get stained.

If the worst happens, and your clothes get stained - wash it out as quickly as possible, using something that dissolves the stain quickly. There are sticks you can keep in your bag that treats stains, wet wipes can help as well and if you have it available dish washing liquid is very good at dissolving most things you drop on your lap.

Of course, there are some things that you just can't undo - like blueberry stains - so you have to be extra careful when you eat things like that.