Monday, June 08, 2009

Cheap and Easy Repairs for Wardrobe Malfunctions

At work, parties or other formal occasions, wardrobe malfunctions can be expensive. Sudden downpours, popped buttons and scuffed shoes can lead to quick-fix shopping sprees or expensive repair bills.

But the annual ritual of preparing for hurricane season and other household emergencies has taught me to develop a survival kit for fashion emergencies. The following tools can be money-savers.

Weather-proofing: Carry a folded plastic poncho in your car, briefcase or purse. Portable rain gear can be purchased at drug stores, dollar stores and other outlets for $1 to $5, and easily stored in small spaces. The investment can save a suit from ruin or prevent a costly trip to the dry cleaners.

Instant shoe repair: A black marker can instantly banish scuff marks from black leather shoes. Likewise, I’ve make quick repairs with matching shades of navy and red markers.

Staples and hooks: Before meetings, I have stapled the hem of an unraveling skirt, and I’ve used staples to repair broken hook-and-eyelet fasteners. When a clasp falls apart, I’ve replaced the broken eyelet with a vertical staple in the inner seam of the garment. I then link the hook to the staple. With this repair, a skirt or cardigan closes perfectly.

Quick hem: I’ve repaired falling or missing hems with adhesive strips that are applied with a hot iron. This quick fix — available at drug stores or specialty retailers — has been used for bridesmaid gowns (hours before a wedding), boys’ dress pants, curtains and skirts. Scotch tape also doubles as a great short-term fix for falling hems, but is less reliable.

Spare shoes: Puddles, broken heels and other emergencies have taught me to stash spare sets of shoes in the office, gym locker or family car. An extra set of dress shoes provides a quick transition from business casual to more formal attire.

Accessory collection: For an instant wardrobe upgrade, a friend keeps several ties and a jacket in his office. Those items are helpful when he’s called into sudden executive meetings or other formal gatherings. Likewise, I know women who use shawls and other accessories to deliver quick makeovers without spending a dime.

Sharon is the author of the Frugal Duchess: How to Live Well and Save Money -- a coming of age memoir about money -- and a contributing writer in Wise Bread's 10,0001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget.


LandoFinancer said...

Duct tape and chicken wire can fix anything.

pamela said...

Yes. duct tape is great for hems, as it is very sticky - I have used it to hem jeans before I wash them & they shrink, meaning the final hemming. Makeup can also be used as emergency colored shoe polish...