Sometimes you really do get dressed in the dark.
Or you break your shoe on your way to work, or you bust a button on your blouse as you’re taking off your coat. Wardrobe malfunctions happen, and somehow, they always seem to strike at the most inopportune times—like when you have an important meeting in ten minutes. Even if you don’t have the foresight to keep an emergency garment-repair kit tucked away in your desk, common office supplies can fix your fashion disasters in a pinch.
Did your hem come undone or your seam rip? A few quick snaps of a stapler can come to the rescue until you can get to a needle and thread. To avoid ripping the fabric, be sure to use a staple-remover when it comes time to take out the staples.
If you lose the back to your earring and simply cannot go without accessories, use a bit of rubber from a pencil eraser as an anchor. Bonus: it won’t irritate your skin like backs that contain nickel.
If the little rubber nub from the heel of your stiletto pops off, exposing the precarious metal pin of the heel, secure a pencil eraser to the bottom of your heel to prevent dangerous and embarrassing slips.
Just realized that you’re bustin’ out of that oxford? Is your wrap dress coming unwrapped? Simply tear off a couple pieces of clear packing tape, secure them into loops, and use them to temporarily hold the fabric together. If your office is swanky enough to have actual double-sided tape or sturdy mounting dots on hand for presentations, they’re an even better and easier solution.
Markers come in handy when you need to camouflage a scuffed shoe, color in your makeshift pencil-eraser heel, or blend in a staple you’ve used to fix a hem. (It’s okay to get Sharpie on shoes, but be sure to avoid getting the dye on fabric since it can permanently stain.)
When you don’t have a nail file on hand and can’t find a coworker to lend you one, go to the office kitchen and find the matchbook that the office manager stores alongside the birthday candles. The little swatch of sandpaper used for striking will smooth broken nails just enough to make them less annoying.
FedEx or UPS Packing Pouches
If your cat attacks you right before you leave the house, use one of these sticky sleeves to quickly pick up hair or lint. Just rip off the backing to expose the adhesive, put the envelope on your hand like a glove, and go to town.
The soft graphite in a No. 2 pencil can be used to unstick a tricky zipper. Rub the pencil on the offending area, and it will lubricate the teeth enough to make the zipper easier to work with.
Dry-erase-board cleaner is made mostly of isopropyl alcohol (aka rubbing alcohol), so when used carefully, it can be helpful in removing residues and simple stains. If you’re left with sticky gunk after removing a Band-Aid, brushing some dry-erase-board cleaner on the area can help dissolve the adhesive and wash it away. If you get pen marks, beverage stains, or other marks on clothes, blotting gently with some dry-erase-board cleaner can help treat the stains quickly and remove them. Just be sure not to get the stuff anywhere near your eyes, and if you’re using it on clothes, test it on a hidden area first to make sure the fabric is colorfast.
If your bra straps insist on bagging and falling off your shoulders, use a standard paper clip to cinch them tight. Just grab the slack in the strap, fold it over onto itself, and secure with a clip or two. Just be sure not to make any drastic movements for the rest of the day.
Most of these aren’t permanent solutions, of course, but these simple tricks can help you stay cool, calm, and collected when your clothes let you down.