It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. Let’s set the scene, shall we? You’re rushing to get ready for a highly-anticipated date or an informational interview with that guy who has the job you want. Everything seems to be perfect: your cologne smells extra musky (without being overbearing), you’ve properly man-scaped, and your shoes just came back from the cobbler. And then it happens. After grabbing for your “lucky” dress shirt or pair of pants, you notice the problem: a button is missing. Or perhaps you accidentally spilled coffee on the cuff while reaching over your nightstand.
Regardless of the official verdict, your shirt is officially deemed damaged. In high school, you probably tossed the tampered garment over to your mom, who happily fixed all your sartorial wounds while you went out to play video games with the guys. And let’s face it: now, you’re more likely to hide it in the back of your wardrobe instead of fixing the problem. Relax, we don’t blame you: as easy as fixing a damaged piece of clothing may be, you maybe never learned how to iron your shirt or sew on a button. Thanks to these five style tricks, we have a sneaking suspicion that your next fashion blunder will be far less tragic.
1. Iron your shirt
We’re going to let you in on a little secret: The verdict on whether you look sleek or sloppy all rests on the level of wrinkles on your dress shirt. Nothing says, “I just rolled out of bed and am wearing the shirt I wore to the bar last night” quite like an unkempt top. We’re happy to admit that over the course of the day, your shirt is bound to inherit a few wrinkles. However, unless you’re wearing a linen shirt, which tends to be a bit more forgiving, you should never start your day with a top that looks like its last known address was the bottom of your hamper. But rest assured, dear reader, fixing this is as easy as borrowing your mother, significant other, or neighbor’s iron and ironing board.
While you may have heard of terms like “starch” and “board nose,” make this process quick and easy with GQ’s quirky instructional video, which is ideal if you’ll be wearing a jacket all day. Instead of constantly filling the iron up with water, empty the iron entirely of water and spritz your shirt with a mist bottle. Flatten one part of the piece onto the ironing board, and use your dominant hand to guide the heated iron and the other to pull the garment. The result? A smoother shirt. Take Jim Moore’s advice in the video and iron your collar underneath and the inside of your cuff. Not wearing a jacket? Simply line each sleeve up along the seam, douse with water and press away.
If you’re already anxious about accidentally leaving the iron on when you’re at the office, opt for a steamer. The trick to flattening out any crinkles with a steamer is similar, but with fewer chances of getting burnt.
2. Rub away deodorant marks
Unless you’re one of those guys who prefers to go, um, au natural, deodorant is a must for any well-groomed man. But be warned: one false move and tugging on that cool new black T-Shirt can lead to deodorant-induced skid mark. HowStuffWorks points out controlling your sweating and body odor tends to come at an unfashionable price. Before you toss your marked garment aside, grab your socks. Um, what?
According to About’s beauty section, simply use a clean pair of cotton socks to rub the smear off. It makes sense: The smooth fabric and friction is bound to help lift that pesky fashion faux pas. If you don’t have a pair of cotton socks, go ahead and rub any other fabric — a different piece from your marked garment, of course — for a deodorant-free piece. Now you won’t be anxious the next time you throw on a dark or colorful outfit.
3. Add a button
If you’re looking to pick up a replacement button or two, bring the wounded shirt along to your corner convenience store to match the color, size, and sheen with the garment’s original. Replacing all of the buttons? Opt for a small to medium size in a semi-matte like a white or black. As for thread, find a color that best matches your buttons. Keep these pieces handy in your medicine cabinet. After all, you never know the next time you’ll need to change a button. Having the supplies is half the battle. In fact, Real Simple has broken down this necessity into a few easy steps. First, double thread your shirt. Um, what? Relax, according to Instructables, it’s not as hard as it sounds. Simply slip your thread through the eye of the needle and double it up so the end of the thread that was already looped meets your spool. The website advises knotting the two ends to secure your thread.
Next, place the button on the outside of your shirt while the double-threaded needle will push through the fabric from the inside to the outside. Snake your needle through one hole of your button and bring the needle back down through the garment via a second hole — Real Simple advises you do this six times with a pair of button holes. Next, move on to the second pair of holes — typically, buttons have four holes. Once you’ve fastened it on, create a knot by wiggling the needle through the stitches made on the inside of your garment. “Pull the thread through, but stop short to form a loop,” Real Simple writes. “Insert the needle through the loop and pull tight. Repeat.” Quick, affordable, and easy to do while you’re watching your favorite show.
4. Remove lint and fuzz
Sure, cozy turtlenecks and wool trousers will keep you nice and toasty. The downside? Your favorite fuzzy sweater tends to leave pesky fuzz and lint all over your ensemble. Not so chic. Normally, this style blunder calls for a lint roller, but what’s a guy to do if he’s has five minutes to spare and no roller in sight?
Use packing tape instead. We know you have some around from the last time you sent your grandma a present. Simply cut a generous size of packaging tape and loop it around so the adhesive side is facing out. Pat your tape loop on your lint-adorned garment for a quick and easy fix. After 30 seconds of patting down your garment, you’ll be ready to leave the house in an outfit that’s lint-free and significantly more polished.
5. Remedy your coffee stain
We don’t mean to sound dramatic, but we have a feeling that coffee is the true eighth wonder of the world. It gives us hope (and energy) and saves our butts when we haven’t gotten enough sleep. Plus, it possesses a unique taste and aroma that all coffee addicts have come to love. The times that we don’t like coffee? When you accidentally spill it all over your shirt (and hopefully for you, we’re referring to the iced variety). Instantly, two equally frustrated thoughts run through a caffeine-deprived spiller: “I need a refill” and “there goes my shirt.”
Luckily, the latter doesn’t always have to be true. With a couple rinses and several kitchen necessities, you can easily fix this fashion blunder without throwing your shirt in the laundry. Actually, according to Cleanipedia, it’s best to begin the road to recovery when the stain happens. While the coffee is still damp, blot the shirt with a paper towel to remove the excess liquid, which will ultimately reduce the spread. Next, run cold water through the back of the stain a few times and gently rub the stain. Need something strong to fix this spill? Cleanipedia suggests leaving detergent or a mixture of water and white vinegar on the spot for a couple minutes and then rinse the piece. If the stain has yet to subside, don’t worry. As a last resort, try leaving a stain stick on the garment for five to 10 minutes.