Panty lines wrecking your ponte pants? Bra straps ruining your cold-shoulder top? Final-sale booties feel too tight? While hardly in the disaster category, such fashion mishaps can strike at any time. Having an emergency kit in your closet or ready-made solutions such as laser-cut briefs and a wardrobe of bras helps, but what about when you’re running late, at work, en route to a party or traveling? Here are the DIY solutions that make the difference between looking hot or like a hot mess when:
1. A zipper gets stuck
A last-minute zipper jam is frustrating whether it’s a work skirt or leather biker jacket. Usually, the problem is a tiny bit of fabric that’s stuck in the grooves of the zipper teeth. First thing to try is a classic wooden pencil — the kind you used in school — not a mechanical one. Rub the lead point on the teeth until they turn gray. Then try slowly sliding the pull up or down. No pencil or it didn’t work? Look around for a handy lubricant like candle wax, a bar of soap, a crayon or even your lip balm and rub it generously on the zipper and teeth. Use one hand to firmly grip the material, the other to hold the slider part, and try to work the zipper down one tooth at a time. Keep moving your grip down to tuck more fabric out of the way as you go. Once unstuck, clean off the residue with a damp cloth. If you’ve pulled off the zipper tab in your efforts to free it, slip a twist-tie or ribbon through the slider.
2. A favorite sweater has pulls or pills
Frustrating, yes, but don’t throw it in the donation pile yet. For pulls on loosely knit sweaters thread a needle (in a color that matches the sweater) and loop it around the pull. Then pull that through to the inside and knot in place before cutting the thread. A pre-threaded needle makes this (and other emergency tasks like sewing on buttons) stress-free in the future. Pilling — the worn look of tiny wool balls — caused by age, laundering, friction and wear can be removed with a store-bought sweater comb or shaver. If you don’t have one on hand, try this DIY duct-tape method. Cut a four-inch piece and smooth it firmly over the pilled area. While holding the sweater firmly, quickly pull off the tape along with the fuzz balls. Repeat if necessary.