Speaking of . . . Wardrobe Malfunctions

Screaming happy

As I sat down in my seat at the conference, I glanced down and noticed that one of my buttons was unbuttoned on the front of my shirt. Not a big deal, right? Well, all I could think of was “how long has that been unbuttoned?” and, “I should have worn a nicer bra!” You see, I had just been presenting in front of a couple of hundred people. I hadn’t noticed a breeze . . . I’ve learned to avoid shirts that button in the front after that . . . revealing moment.

Wardrobe malfunctions are awkward anywhere, but especially when you are on stage and all eyes are on you!

Ideally, you will catch some wardrobe malfunctions in time to replace or fix a garment, but often you have very limited time and resources to deal with wardrobe challenges, especially when you are traveling to a conference or other speaking engagement.

First, reduce the occurrence of wardrobe malfunctions:

  • Create and USE a Packing Checklist. Reduce forgotten items by using a packing checklist. I keep one on my computer, and print-it out before every trip, to double check that I haven’t forgotten anything important. I also include items I will need for my presentation. Google “Business Trip Packing Checklist” if you need some help creating a list.
  • Repair Wardrobe Items. Don’t procrastinate about repairing things like loose buttons, or weak seams. I have a section of my closet for clothing that needs attention (ironing/repair/dry-cleaning).
  • A full-length mirror is your best friend. Before leaving your hotel room, look at yourself up and down and use a hand mirror to check your backside.

Second, proactively plan for wardrobe malfunctions:

  • Bring back-up clothing for some likely to malfunction items (pantyhose)
  • Plan a mix and match wardrobe to give yourself some options
  • Pack a Wardrobe First-Aid Kit. Some things you could include:
    • Wardrobe Emergency Kit (or purchase separately items you are likely to need)
    • Duct tape. I wrap some around a business card (could also use an old credit card) and throw it in my purse. Duct tape can hold up a hem and do so much more! I cannot recommend this tip enough.
    • Black Sharpie. Great for hiding scuffs on black shoes

Third, learn some wardrobe malfunction hacks:

  • Hem falls: double-sided tape, or Duct tape!
  • Button loose: remove the paper from a twist tie and thread the wire through button
  • holes and through the fabric of the shirt, if you are desperate and don’t have access to a sewing kit (ask at the hotel!)
  • Lost earring back: snip off a pencil eraser and use it as a temporary earring back
  • Pantyhose runs: clear nail polish
  • Broken Zipper Pull: paper clip, safety pin or a twist tie
  • Static Cling–rub a wire hanger or other metal object on the material, or, if you have it, hairspray can work. Lotion can help, too!

How you deal with a wardrobe malfunction on stage can endear you to your audience if you smile and soldier on! Guys, just turn around and zip up that fly!

What wardrobe malfunction hacks have you found useful?