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Tips for How to Prevent Wardrobe Malfunctions

Stylist-approved tricks for solving a snafu in a pinch.

Tape measure, scissors, thread, and sewing tools
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Be it a popped button or a broken zipper, there's a good chance you'll experience a wardrobe malfunction at least once in your life. And they usually happen at the most inconvenient time.

Lucky for all of us, fashion stylists and costume designers have countless secrets for avoiding (and solving) these style snafus and you can add them to your own repertoire. Ahead, tried-and-tested wardrobe malfunction tips to try when your outfit rebels against you.

Quick tips for how to avoid wardrobe malfunctions

Prevention is often the best cure. These four daily habits will help you avoid potential wardrobe snafus.

1. Perform a thorough outfit inspection. 

Before walking out the door, check for loose buttons that may need reinforcement and test zippers to ensure they work properly.

2. Wear high heels at least an hour before leaving. 

Comfort is the key to confidence, so perfect your stiletto strut to avoid staggering like a baby deer. 

3. Choose your undergarments wisely. 

Visible lines are things of the past get a seamless look by making sure you have the right undergarments for your outfit.

4. Bring an emergency wardrobe kit. 

A real lifesaver read on for tips on how to pack one.

In case of a wardrobe emergency, do this 

There isn't a stylist anywhere who doesn't carry a handy kit for making a plethora of garment adjustments on the job, and so can you. The even better news: These tools of the trade are all just household items that you can keep on hand or buy on the fly. Avoiding wardrobe malfunctions requires some quick thinking and ingenuity, so grab a cosmetic pouch and stock it with these supplies.

  • Stain stick
  • Wet wipes
  • Razor
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Chalk
  • Super glue
  • Spray bottle
  • Bobby/safety pins
  • Bandages
  • Double-sided tape
  • Paper clips

Now that you're clued up on how to avoid wardrobe malfunctions, and what tools to keep in your arsenal, here's a list of how to solve 20 of the most common ones when they do happen.

1. Deodorant residue

As a general note, always allow your antiperspirant to dry before putting on your outfit. Finding residue on the sides of your fave tank is super annoying, so keep a travel-sized pack of wet wipes with you.

2. Slipping straps

We know how annoying it is to wear a sleeveless shirt on a sweltering day and have your bra straps are constantly slipping down. Simply secure them to your top with a set of safety pins (double-sided tape also works a treat).

3. Zipper woes

A stuck zipper can create a dire situation in a restroom stall. Lubricate stubborn zipper teeth using lip balm, petroleum jelly, or even the tip of a lead pencil. Be gentle when tugging so you don't break the zipper.

4. Wrinkled fabric

If you're strapped for time or just don't have an iron on hand, spray a fine mist of water over wrinkled clothing, then let it air-dry. (This hack works best on natural fibers like cotton.)

5. Static garb

Silk and wool clothing can bite. Eliminate the pesky static shocks by gliding a metal hanger or dryer sheet over your garment before putting it on.

6. Surprise stains 

Picture it: You're sipping a creamy caff mocha to jumpstart your day as per usual, then splash! You spill some on yourself. Stow a stain stick or detergent pen in your purse to attack any stain-related emergency.

7. Unwanted billowing 

Marilyn Monroe made the "flying skirt" an iconic image, but it's usually a sartorial gaffe for the rest of us. Weigh down a billowy skirt or dress by adhering a few coins to the seams of the hemline using clear tape.

8. Stubborn creases 

A flat iron can do more than fight frizz and add luster to your locks. It's compact and heats up quickly, which is perfect for fixing a crooked collar or smoothing creases in a placket. (Just make sure to adjust the setting based on the material: delicate fabrics on a low setting, thicker materials on a higher setting.)

9. Pesky pilling 

Knitwear is a lifestyle unto itself, but your cozy cardis might pill over time. Spread your garment on a flat surface, then use a sharp razor to shave off those fuzzy balls with short, vertical strokes.

10. Blemished whites 

Keeping white clothes white can feel like a part-time job, especially in the summer. If you accidentally smear lipstick or food on your clothing, rub a bit of white chalk on the stain to temporarily conceal it if you can't get to a sink.

11. Shoe blues 

One of the most useful tools in your kit will be a tube of super glue. From repairing broken sandal straps to reattaching a sole, the tiny tube will be your sticky secret weapon.

12. Loose belts 

A too-long belt is easily adjusted with a good ol' hole punch. But don't snag the one from your desk a heavy-duty revolving punch best suits the task of creating additional notches in leather belts.

13. Bold breasts 

Ahem, are your high beams on? Use skin-color bandages to conceal peeping nipples if you prefer them not to show. We also recommend investing in washable breast pasties they're more effective and have a longer lifespan.

14. Hanging hems 

Knowing your way around a sewing machine (or having a friend who does) comes in super handy. But when you're on the go, a fabric stapler is great for rescuing fallen hems and rips.

15. Fallen buttons 

Use a paper clip to reattach a button. Simply open it up into two straight prongs, then thread them through the button holes. Hook the paper clip so the tips don't prick your skin, and voila!

16. Broken clasps 

A stunning brooch is a timeless way to glam up a basic blazer or cleverly secure a scarf. If your brooch loses its pin, replace it with a magnet. (Hint: this is also great for delicate fabrics that you don't want to pierce with a pin.)

17. Scuffed suede 

Don't fret about scuff marks on your beloved suede ankle booties. Remove 'em in a snap with a white or colorless eraser. (A cloth dampened with white vinegar also works wonders on stubborn stains.)

18. Errant earrings 

Who knew erasers were so good at multi-tasking? A pencil eraser is the perfect sub for a missing earring back. But to be super prepared for this particular wardrobe malfunction, we recommend stocking a few extra earring backs in your kit.

19. Hole-y hosiery 

Prevent ladders (or stop one in its tracks) by lightly spraying your pantyhose with hairspray. Oh, and remember to moisturize hands and check for jagged fingernails before rolling on hosiery.

20. Underwear peepshow 

Did you just realize your underwear is peeking over your waistband when you bend over? Clip them to your bottoms using a pair of bobby pins at the side seams. An untucked shirt or top will disguise them.

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