6 Office Wardrobe Malfunctions to Avoid

A wardrobe fail doesn’t have be as spectacular as a popped zipper to affect how others view your work. Even loose threads can raise suspicions of loose ends on your report.

Photo by Serge Bloch


Loose Threads

Buttons and buttonholes are notorious. Also snip away stragglers at the hem.

Scuffed Shoes

No time to bust out the shoe polish? Give the leather a quick buffing with the microfiber cloth that you use for dusting.

Run-Down Heels

Bring them to a cobbler. Meanwhile, disguise nicked areas with a permanent marker of the same color.

Dingy White Shirts

Don’t try to get a second wearing out of anything white. “Any residue of perspiration, lotion, or perfume easily discolors the fabric if it sits too long, so launder immediately after wearing,” says Steve Boorstein, the founder of TheClothingDoctor.com. To return a yellowed garment to its former glory, wash it in a sink in the hottest water that the fabric will allow using an ounce of oxygen bleach (such as OxiClean; $8 at drugstores) for every gallon of water; let soak from 30 minutes to two hours.

Sweaters With Fuzz Balls

Target the high-abrasion areas (underarms, cuffs, the sides of the torso, and wherever the strap of your handbag hits) with an electric fabric shaver, which will work better than the manual options. (Try Evercare; $9, amazon. com.) “Place one hand underneath the sweater and depill with the other hand,” says Boorstein. “That way, you won’t apply too much pressure and thin out the knit.” In a pinch, use a single-blade razor—gently, please!

Beat-Up Bags

Wipe dull or scratched leather with a clear leather conditioner (like Leather Spa; $10, leatherspa.com). Also check for frayed stitches, which tend to start on the handles.