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Fast Fixes for Fashion Fails

Whether it’s a torn hem, a broken strap or a snagged sweater, there’s a fashion fix for every wardrobe malfunction.

Murphy’s Law gets us every time: The farther you are from a sewing kit and tool drawer, the more likely it is that you’ll be in need of a fashion fix. Whether it’s a dangling hem, broken heel or loose button, the key is to “stay calm and be creative about a temporary solution,” says Lilliana Vazquez, author of The Cheap Chica’s Guide to Style: Your Guide to Shopping Cheap and Looking Chic. “And take comfort: No one’s looking that closely.”

Here’s how Vazquez and stylist Ruthanne Rosen handle fashion fails:

Fashion Fail: The back clip of your earring falls off, never to be seen again.
Fashion Fix: “Rip the eraser off a pencil, snap it in half and stick it on the earring post. Just make sure you wear your hair down that day, and no one will notice,” says Rosen. “Office supplies are a huge fashion-industry secret.”

Fashion Fail: Your skirt or pants are wrinkled, and there’s no time to set up the ironing board.
Fashion Fix: Your flat hair iron makes a great substitute — no board needed. If your collar needs an extra perk-up, stiffen the fabric with a spritz of firm-hold hair spray.

Fashion Fail: Static cling makes your skirt tangle around your legs.
Fashion Fix: Once again, hair spray comes to the rescue. Spray inside the skirt and add a couple of spritzes to your tights, says Vazquez.

Fashion Fail: A rushed morning leaves makeup stains on your blouse.
Fashion Fix: “Baby wipes can remove smaller stains,” says Vazquez. “So can a damp warm cloth with hand soap. For ink stains, use a portable detergent pen; for deodorant stains, try baby wipes or a dry sponge.

Fashion Fail: Your bra strap breaks — at the office, naturally.
Fashion Fix: Pull a safety pin through the strap ring and attach to the fabric. No safety pin? Try a paper clip or a key ring.

Fashion Fail: Your furry friend leaves hair all over your outfit — and you don’t notice it till you’re at your desk.
Fashion Fix: Reach for anything sticky to lift the hair off — Scotch tape, masking tape or even the rubbery adhesive on a large mailing envelope.

Fashion Fail: You take out a pair of shoes you haven’t worn since last winter — and they’re badly scuffed.
Fashion Fix: Rub with the inside of a banana peel. “Something about it smooths out scuffs,” says Vazquez. (Color-matching markers also work.)

Fashion Fail: Your hem comes undone, and you can’t find your sewing kit.
Fashion Fix:  Keep a roll of double-sided fabric “fashion” tape handy, which keeps the hem up until you have time to sew. (This tape is handy for blouse gaps, too!) In a pinch, you can also use whatever tape is lying around: masking, duct, gaffers’ — but avoid staples: “They damage the fabric,” says Vazquez.

Fashion Fail: Your zipper sticks — or worse, breaks.
Fashion Fix: “Soap or orthodontic wax works like magic” on stuck zippers, says Vazquez — or try rubbing a candle over the spot. For a broken zipper, use an adhesive Velcro strip to close the fly temporarily until you can get a replacement.

Fashion Fail: Your button is dangling by a thread.
Fashion Fix: Take a twist-tie from a bag of bread and remove the paper coating. Thread the wire through the button and tie at the back of the cloth.

Fashion Fail: Your belt breaks — or perhaps you can’t find it at all.
Fashion Fix: Replace it with a ribbon! “It adds an instant update and looks pretty,” says Vazquez.

Fashion Fail: Your favorite sweater snags on a sharp corner.
Fashion Fix: Take the top of a closed pen and push the loop through to the inside of the sweater. Then knot the snag inside and secure with a dab of clear nail polish.

Fashion Fail: Your heel is coming loose — yikes!
Fashion Fix: Wood glue or even chewing gum will keep the heel secure
until you can get to a shoe repair shop.

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