Tanguera Problem Solvers #2 - Moisture Wicking Undergarments (Review)

Review - ExOfficio Give-N-Go Underwear

I've tried moisture wicking clothing/fast drying underwear before with varying results. A friend recommended ExOfficio underwear and tank tops so I found a coupon code at RetailMeNot.com and tried them out.

The Claim:  "Give-N-Go underwear are packable, odor resistant, durable and above all comfortable."

The Pros:

These garments do dry very fast and stay pretty comfortable no matter how sweaty I got. One note that should be obvious, but is easy to forget, if you wear breathable undergarments under clothes that don't breathe, the benefit is pretty limited. That said, these did pretty well under my poly-spandex blend milonga clothes (which I wear mostly because poly-spandex doesn't tend to show sweat or wrinkle.)

On the skin, even when these do get damp, they dry pretty quickly.  After washing in the sink (and blotting dry with a towel - don't forget to do this or they take much longer to dry) they dry in about 5 hours hanging on a line. If you're in a hurry (not that I would forget to wash my clothes until right before the milonga or anything) they dry in the clothes dryer in about 15 minutes.

Since I'm going to be using these for travel, the very light weight of these garments is a really bonus for me. They add almost no weight at all to luggage.

The fabric itself, even the lace, is very soft and comfortable.

Another plus, especially when purchasing from SierraTradingPost.com - even though the pictures of the "Wine" color garments all look like a different shade of burgundy - they all matched when they arrived. I think this is just a photography issue - not a dye lot problem.

The Cons:


Even after taking my measurements and checking the sizing chart, the fit of these is so hit or miss. I highly recommend purchasing them somewhere where you can try them on. Almost nothing I purchases was true to size. The "large" sizes tend to run really large, but the "medium" sizes ran a little small. The spaghetti strap shelf camisole was a perfect Medium fit, yet the Medium regular lace tank ran too big. The reviews of the crossover non-wire bra said that the bra ran very big. I found it to be a little bit small.


These aren't cheap. Even though they feel quite nice on the skin and perform pretty well - I don't know that I can really recommend them at full price. You can get them at a discount on sites like SierraTradingPost.com - and that's where I got some of my selections. They're usually 1/3 to 1/2 the price. The downside is the limited selection of colors, sizes and styles.


This really only matters for the tank tops if you're going to wear them showing - they do wrinkle very easily. In undergarments it doesn't usually matter, but I was hoping to wear the tanks at least sometimes on their own. If you take a little of care to straighten the fabric as it dries, it's not a problem. Just fold them in half to minimize wrinkles later. 

Conclusion: If you can find a retailer where you can try at least some of these on - and you can get them at a discount, I highly recommend them. If you can't try them on, then I recommend finding a site or store that sells them at least at a discount. 

No Illusions

Conversation 1. . . .

"I just don't want you to have any illusions when you go down there [to Buenos Aires.]  People go to the milongas to dance with their friends, the people they know - and people who look good to them on the floor. You get danced a lot here - you may sit a lot there. Don't take it personally."

I looked at the concern in this visiting Argentinian teacher's face, and wondered how many students he has told this to. How many complaints has heard from visiting tangueros/as that they came down to dance, but just sat all night? I told him I don't have any illusions or expectations about how much or how little I will dance. Even if I sit on my ass, I said, I'll be sitting on my ass in Buenos Aires - which is still pretty damned exciting for me.

He smiled broadly. "Good, good. Okay, let's get started . . ."

Conversation 2 . . .

Visiting tanguera talking about her last trip to Buenos Aires: "I danced with [so-and-so famous milonguero] and he told me I danced just like a porteña!"
My Argentinian friend responded to his friends with a wink, "I'm sure he did." 
Then, he said to me, "What milongueros say to you in a milonga honestly matters very little. The milongas are full of illusion. Maybe they mean it, mostly they don't. Maybe they meant it yesterday, but not today. Tango isn't about the words we say to each other. The only think that really means anything is, did you enjoy dancing with him? If you did, great. That's what matters."

Conversation 3 . . .

The lesson was over and as we were packing up, my partner talked with our visiting teacher, and the two host teachers. We were clustered in the kitchen. Soon the smattering of English (for my benefit) disappeared.  I could understand a little, and I tried to keep up for a few minutes. I'm not comfortable yet answering in Castellano - so I just listened.

Soon the circle of Argentinians closes and I am on the outside, even in this tiny kitchen.  Yerba maté is made, offered and passed - but not to me.

My partner, my teachers, were miles away.  The illusion of belonging, replaced by the reality of our circumstances.

Tanguera Problem Solvers #1 - Tips for Hot Summers/Hot Milongas

Every summer I think how can I possibly make it through another summer in Texas?  It seems worse every year. I become a hermit, hiding out during daylight hours and constantly searching for things to make the heat more tolerable. I'm not one of those women who "glows" or "glistens" or any of that. I sweat. I sweat a lot. Dancing in milongas, especially barely-air-conditioned milongas, becomes almost more effort than it's worth.

And you want me to go to an outdoor milonga, you say? Are you kidding me??? Call me when it cools off.

I've been dreading it so much this year that I went to my doctor and asked what I could do to cope with the heat a little better. He recommended first, get acclimated. Stop avoiding being outdoors, but don't overdo it. Eat a few meals outside. Walk more. Work in the yard, play with the dogs, set up the patio or porch so that it's inviting. Focus my activities in the morning and evening to ease into it.

"But what about the sweating?" I asked.

"Well," he answered, "deal with sweating where it is most uncomfortable, and make peace with the rest of it. You have to sweat."

I went to work and came up with a system that makes hot weather much more tolerable, and dancing in warm milongas much more bearable. Here's what works for me - please feel free to add comments, recommendations and suggestions below.


For underarms, nothing has worked better for me than "Certain Dri" , though sensitive skin types may prefer Drysol. (Information about those two, and two other highly recommended options is included in the link below.)  There is an "AM" solid refresher stick, and a PM roll-on - and you do have to use both for the system to work. At least I do. If you tend to have sensitive under-arms, the PM stick, which they also make, is less irritating - but didn't work as well for me.

Best Antiperspirants for Extreme Sweating

Another item I keep tucked in my purse is "DermaDoctor's Med-e-Tate" antiperspirant towelettes  which are very handy for those days you forgot to apply deodorant or find that it's just not holding up. As a stand alone product it doesn't work as well for me as Certain Dri, but it helps a lot when I'm on the go.


For feet, I splurge a little bit. You can use antiperspirants on your feet, and Certain Dri also makes a couple of products for feet that I've heard work quite well.  I don't know about other dancers, but I can't bear the thought of wearing pantyhose, so to keep my shoes from becoming, well . . .  funky, I use "Butter London's Kitten Heels Powder Finish Foot Creme" (which is really a gel-powder texture.) It costs more ($30) than the drugstore varieties but works better than anything else I've tried and takes very little product to work.  (Shake the tube before opening, because the gel tends to separate a bit if it sits awhile.)


There are loads of salon brand hair powders and dry shampoos, and they're about all the same. My favorite, however, has been around for ages and ages - Pssssst Instant Spray Shampoo.   It works great and it's not expensive. The biggest problem I have with it, is that it's an aerosol spray which I would normally avoid. However the performance is so good, I keep going back to it.  A close second, mostly because I like the smell, and the power form, is Oscar Blandi's Dry Shampoo.

Another trick I use, and one that has made me pretty identifiable in a room full of dancers, is a decorated, knit headband. (Though every time I put it on, it makes me think of John McEnroe.) It's wide enough to keep my fine bangs out of my face, and also absorbs sweat discreetly. They mostly look like the examples here:  I've also found a great selection of them at Ulta - though not many on the website, mostly in the stores. Attach a pin or a flower, and I'm good to go. 

Feminine Care (Guys, if you're read this far, feel free to stop reading here. Don't say I didn't warn you.)

For other areas - moisture-wicking undergarments can help a lot. If that's still not enough, I've had good luck with Sweet Spot Labs refreshing towelettes.  And, as if we haven't gotten personal enough, if you do end up with heat rash or other discomfort,  Monistat Soothing Care Anti-Chafing gel can help get things more comfortable.

That's now my system for coping with hot weather. How do you cope? What products work for you?