Oh! For Shirts Sake: Stress, Sweat and Self-care


Why do you sweat more when you’re stressed, and what can you do about it?

Stress is a natural and crucial response to dangerous situations. This response has certainly saved humanity’s pre-historic skins in the past – think adrenaline-fuelled escapes from saber-toothed cats and so forth. But in today’s hectic and information-saturated world our stress-response is often triggered even when a fight, flight or freeze response is not required.

Stress is not imaginary and it is not “just something in your head”. When you are stressed your body prepares for fight or flight situations by releasing cocktails of hormones and chemicals into your system, such as adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine. These ready the body for intense bursts of physical activity by overriding the body’s normal functions. Emergency procedures kick in, such as blood being diverted away from “non-essential organs” (e.g. the digestive system) to feed the muscles. This results in the everyday signs of stress that many of us ignore: headaches, fatigue, inability to concentrate, constipation/diarrhoea…. the list is a scarily long one, and can lead to such serious conditions as heart and blood pressure troubles.

Most relevant to this article, stress also causes your apocrine and eccrine sweat glands to rev into 5th gear. Apocrine glands are mainly located in the armpits and groin, and apocrine sweat also contains lots of lovely nutrients that attract the body odour-causing bacteria that live on our skin. So not only does stress drench your pits, you (and your neighbour) will also get a nice whiff every time your move your arms.

It becomes a vicious cycle: you sweat when you become stressed, but your stress is heightened when you realise you are toting a couple of glorious, smelly sweat-patches. Anxiety about your appearance increases stress and, in turn, cranks up the sweat-factor.

How can this cycle be broken?

Well, we won’t pretend to be able to alleviate your stress – if we could do that we would be in the big bucks all the way to the Bahamas by now! What we have done is create a purpose-designed luxury undershirt for the modern man that helps to manage your sweating every day. A comfort, a security, a fail-safe – slipping an undershirt on each morning will give you one less thing to stress about during the day.

We like to think of our Robert Owen Undershirts as the office-equivalent of sporty base-layers – but with a few key changes that really do make it worthy of your wardrobe. Whereas sporty base-layers are engineered to have a high moisture-wicking ability, our undershirts combine both moisture-absorbing and breathable characteristics to help protect both your skin and your smart shirt. Wearing a wicking garment underneath your clothes merely moves the sweat onto your outer layer and creates sweat patches, whereas a moisture-repellant garment (rubber or plastic sweat shields) will keep your sweat trapped on your skin and make for a clammy, damp and suffocating day. Our Robert Owen Undershirts takes the moisture and absorbs it into the fabric, keeping your sweat away from your skin (and skin’s bacteria!) and shirt, while its breathability helps keep you feeling fresh and dry for longer.

And, as if that weren’t enough, Micro-modal and Bamboo Viscose fabrics have much lower tendency to hang on to the pong than, say, your polymer-based gym tee. They are even rumoured to have anti-bacterial properties and whilst there has not been much research on this, you can read more about it here.

An undershirt can help you break the stress-sweat cycle by managing your body-sweat so that you don’t have to worry about your smart appearance or freshness, enabling you to tackle high-pressure situations with confidence. It’s always a relief to have a plan and to feel prepared for anything. Cover your back (and pits!) with this other smooth tip from Robert Owen’s designer and co-founder:

 I don't know why but I tend to sweat more in the morning. I wake up, pop on my undershirt and get ready for work, and then I start to heat up. By say 11am I'll be feeling pretty uncomfortable in the armpit zone. I'm already in better shape than without an undershirt, but even so, I'm damp in the armpits. So here's the thing. I take a break, go the men's room and change my undershirt. That first undershirt has done its job soaking up my morning heat. I slip on a nice new fresh dry layer, and no-one knows.

(Robert Owen Kay)


Our undershirts are cut to a carefully formulated pattern to help ensure they stay unseen underneath your smart shirt. Their long length keeps them firmly tucked in and the deep v- or crew-neck cut means they are compatible with both buttoned up and open-collar shirts. We’ve even placed the seams so that they remain inconspicuous under even the finest weaves.

Robert Owen Undershirts are designed with the office in mind because it is paramount that, each and every morning, you feel you are dressing to take on the world. Our undershirts are made from silky-smooth Micro-modal and Bamboo Viscose materials to create next-to-skin layer that is as feather-light as it is luxurious. A shield between you and the outside world, the undershirt ensures that you feel comfortable and confident in your own skin wherever the day takes you.

So, got an important presentation or interview coming up? A long, hot commute to work? Trying to squeeze in your 10,000 steps but worried about breaking a sweat before you even get to your desk? You know your body best, especially when it comes to high-pressure situations. Wearing an undershirt means that, suddenly, staying, looking and feeling fresh all day is one less thing to stress about.