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25 Wardrobe Malfunction Solutions

Wardrobe malfunctions don’t just happen to Hollywood stars or to Olympic figure skaters. They can happen to any one of us, at any moment. Actually, they usually happen at the most inopportune time. No, not necessarily in front of the cameras, but probably in front of your boss or even your client who are blushing as they search for a safe place to look.

In anticipation of your next 911 dress distress, review, actually you should probably memorize, the following solutions.


A little dab will do you. Run, water mixed with a little bit of gel, or a dab of lotion, through your hair, and brush or comb. Don’t forget the back of your head. Paper clips too can come your rescue. Use them to create an up do. Ta da!

  1. Bloating

Maybe you had a little too much for lunch…Undo your button, thread an elastic band through the buttonhole and loop it around the button. Ahhh, now that feels better.

  1. Boss unexpectedly calls to take you out to lunch on Casual Friday

Keep an extra jacket on a hanger behind your door. Also, keep a shoe buffer at work. Rub a bit of lotion as a substitute. Don’t forget extra panty hose

  1. Broken zipper

Zip up above the damage. Make several stiches above the missing tooth. You now have a new stop for the slider. Use a safety pin to replace a missing pull-tab.

FF (Fun Fact) Ever wonder what YKK means?
YKK is a zipper, and other fasteners’ manufacturer. It was founded in 1934, by Yoshida Kōgyō Kabushiki Kaisha, in Tokyo.

  1. Broken shoelace

Tie the ends together and make sure the knot will be under the eyelet. Or, coat the ends in glue. Let them dry before putting lacing them back on. Keep an extra pair of shoelaces.

  1. Drippy nose and/or watery eyes

Inhale one sniff per nostril of a medicinal inhaler stick; the type that relieves congestion or hay fever symptoms. This is especially effective before a presentation. In my experience, I am clear and dry for up to two hours.

  1. Deodorant stains

Gently rub baby wipes on the stain. Never use a wet paper towel! It will worsen the stain and leave fluff on your garment. Rubbing fabric against fabric also works.

  1. Exposed metal heel

Remove the pink eraser from the end of your classic HB pencil. If necessary, cut it to the appropriate height. Glue it to the end of your exposed metal heel. You are now good to go, safely.

  1. Forgotten collar stays

Steady your collar tips back in shape by inserting paper clips in lieu of sticks.

  1. Falling button

Never leave home without a pre-threaded needle or a safety pin. They along with double-sided tape will re-attach your button.

  1. Fuzzy sweater, jacket, blazer or coat and lint

To catch fluffy lint, use tape, placed inside out on the back of a brush or even your stapler.

  1. Hem that is coming undone

Use grooming tape, double-sided tape, a pre-threaded needle or even a stapler.

  1. Popped bra strap

Attach it with a safety pin, a paper clip (cool tip, isn’t it?) or sew it with a pre-threaded needle.

  1. Peek-a-boo cleavage

Use double-sided tape to secure opening shirts or blouses.

  1. Run in hose

An oldie but goodie, paint clear nail polish on the run. It will stop it from stretching and will allow you to finish the day.

  1. Scuffed up shoes or leather bag

Fill it in with a permanent marker of the same color. Use any oil to buff it back to shine.

  1. Sore feet

Wear insoles and shoe pads. Keep a pair of flats at work to change when needed.

  1. Static

Obviously, an antistatic spray is most effective. But when you don’t have one, search for a metal coat hanger or a sheet of fabric softener. Rub it between your body and your clothes. Or, wet your hands and rub them on your clothes. Depending on the fabric add a little lotion, cream or few sprays of hairspray.

  1. Stain(s)

A portable stick stain remover is essential. On white fabrics, wet towelettes are preferable. Hairspray also works, especially on leather. Dab with white tissue paper.

  1. Sweaty armpits or feet

Add a tiny bit of baby powder in the toes of your shoes and in the armpits of your shirt

  1. Torn clothing

Place tape (duct tape works best) on the inside of the tear.

  1. Wet socks

Wet feet can be debilitating. Keep an extra pair of socks

  1. Wrinkled clothes

Spray your item with wrinkle remover. At home, for 10 minutes, tumble your garments in a medium setting dryer with a damp facecloth, along with a sheet of softener. You can also hang your garment in the bathroom while you shower.

  1. Wrinkled scarves

Install a towel rack behind your closet or bedroom door. Place your scarves over the rod. They will never have fold lines.

  1. Zipper that is stuck

Color it with your pencil. The lead will lubricate it so may zip back up. Voilà!

Assemble your Office Wear Survival Kit into an empty shoebox, a crafty pouch or a plastic freezer bag. Print and place this cheat sheet in it. Being “Prepared” like a scout, is a good thing. Post it in the office lunch room and save a colleague from wardrobe malfunction embarrassment.

This post is an excerpt from Julie’s book Etiquette: Confidence & Credibility.

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25 Wardrobe Malfunction Solutions