Fashion
Nov 3, 2009

Wardrobe malfunctions: How to fix a fashion mishap

By: Sarah Kelsey

Author: Elle Canada

Fashion
Nov 3, 2009

Wardrobe malfunctions: How to fix a fashion mishap

By: Sarah Kelsey
Warning to all Hollywood starlets! The red carpet is a danger zone -- from a nipple slip, to a torn hem, to “Gasp -- do we see a thong?" The red carpet can either make or break a celeb's fashion status. Janet Jackson helped coin the term "wardrobe malfunction" thanks to her surprise flash during her show at 2004 Super Bowl and now it has become standard verbiage – plus gossip fodder – for interested fashion folk. Avoid your own malfunction with these handy tips to keep your dress in place, spills at bay and dignity in tact.

ELLECanada.com checked in with Canada's newest fashion loving duo; Amanda Brugel and Gail McInnes, co-founders of The Style Box showroom that features Canadian fashion labels from which local and visiting celebs can borrow. Having dressed and styled stars at the most recent Toronto International Film Festival (including Canadian cutie Kristin Booth), these ladies have seen it all when it comes to red carpet dressing.

Naughty nipple
The problem:
Despite efforts to secure your new Marc Jacobs dress with a plunging neckline, you were caught by the wind a la Britney, Tara, Paris and Kate and left bare-chested (for the entire world to see).

The solution:
No matter how secure you think your outfit may be, little things like a tug of material or a trip on your train could leave you exposed. Walking the red carpet is something Canadian actress and Da Kink in My Hair star, Amanda Brugel knows about -- and she's very wary of a potential mishap despite wearing a chic designer gown. To avoid such a disaster, Brugel, who is also co-founder of The Stylebox, suggests having fun with nipple covers. “Pick up the cute covers in the shape of a daisy or a heart and if a malfunction does occur, you [can] turn it into a cheeky photo opp!” A celeb-loved option is Nippies nipple covers (available at bristols6.com). They come in all shades and sizes, and are available in a bunch of different shapes. Another alternative? Double-sided tape. But wearers beware, says The Style Box co-founder, Gail McInnes, who helped actress Kristin Booth pick out a daring open back Nadya Toto design for a recent InStyle party. “Humid days and extra sweat can decrease the adhesive’s stickiness.”

Full frontal
The problem:
Uma Thurman may be the last name you would associate with the phrase “wardrobe malfunction”, but in 2007, the star was caught nearly nude in a sheer Valentino by the flash of a photographer’s bulb. More recently, Gwyneth Paltrow (who has sported sheer tops on a number of occasions) strolled the red carpet at her Two Lovers premiere in an Antonio Berardi sheer cutout dress that exposed her bra and undies.

The solution:
Sheer fabrics are everywhere this fall, from the runways of Luca Luca to Jason Wu and Elie Tahari. The best way to avoid a similar exposure? “If in doubt,” says McInnes, “skip the nipple covers and wear a smooth black bra or slip underneath.” The other trendy thing to do? Throw on a full bodysuit under a sheer dress. It will look more sophisticated and sleek than Gwyneth’s bra and panties moment and, “[It] shows off your silhouette, without exposing the goods,” says Brugel. A great line to check out is American Apparel. Their spandex bodysuits will provide extra coverage without adding bulk to your figure or outfit.

Torn your evening gown? Don't fret, we have more tips on the next page ...
malfunctions.jpg Torn up
The problem:
Bottega Veneta, Zac Posen, Hermes: they all featured flowing evening gowns on their fall 2009 runways. But what happens if you find the perfect dress and suddenly, when you get to your destination, you catch the skirt’s hem with your heel, tearing it?

The solution: There’s no use in tearing up over something you’ve torn. “If it’s at the back of the dress, it won’t show in photos,” says McInnes. Her prescription? “Get yourself a cocktail and think about it tomorrow.” And if the tear’s really noticeable, track down a bobby pin, grab a girlfriend and head to the washroom for “Operation Fix-My-Dress” suggests Brugel.

Strategically spilled
The problem:
You’re energetically talking to a friend about the latest BROSE collection when your overly animated hand knocks over a glass of red wine or a plate of food (sending each’s contents all over your very-fall crème brûlée-coloured gown).

The solution:
Everyone will have a food/drink mishap at some point or another. The only reason you never see celebs with a stain is because they leave the moment it happens. But why be like a celeb when you can just use some handy at-a-party basics to remedy the disaster? If you spill red wine, both McInnes and Brugel suggest drenching the stain in salt. Another clever trick? Soak the stain in white wine (it will help the salt soak into the material). Grease can be trickier. “Run to the bathroom and try and soak up as much as you can with a damp paper towel,” says McInnes. And never rub a grease stain, says Brugel. It will only make it worse. If all else fails, give the dress to an expert cleaner (McInnes and Brugel trust Creeds in Toronto).


The multi-talented Amanda Brugel and Gail McInnes recently co-founded The Style Box, a trendsetting organization that promotes Canadian Style Culture and puts Canadian fashions into the hands of high-profile personalities in entertainment, politics and business. Their services are available across the country. For more information, please visit: thestylebox.ca.

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Wardrobe malfunctions: How to fix a fashion mishap