Avoiding wardrobe blunders

Take your incorrectly hemmed jeans to a good tailor and avoid a serious wardrobe blunder.

Story highlights

  • Take incorrectly hemmed jeans to a good tailor
  • Use Velcro to keep your blouse from gaping
  • Open vents and pleats with a pair of scissors or a seam ripper
Here are nine common (and commonly ignored) dressing oversights -- and easy ways to fix them.
Problem: Incorrectly hemmed jeans
Solution: A good tailor
Don't cut off the extra length and at the same time lose the nice crisp hemline (marked by the recognizable yellow thread). "A good tailor should be able to preserve the original hem," says Guillermo Molina, owner of Guillermo Couture, in New York City. With very long pants, your tailor may have to cut off a bit of fabric above the hemline and reattach the original hems (with barely noticeable blue thread that matches the denim), but the task can usually be achieved by folding a hem up accordion-style and sewing it in place, so the original finished seam is in plain view.
Problem: Peds in plain view
Solution: Partial peds
Your secret weapon against blistered toes is a pair of Peds. But make sure they're truly a secret weapon. "Visible Peds are a classic faux pas," says Leah Feldon, author of "Does This Make Me Look Fat?: The Definitive Rules for Dressing Thin for Every Height, Size, and Shape" (Villard, $15, amazon.com). To avoid peekaboo nylons, skip the skimpy stockings altogeter or try Hue Toe Covers ($15 for three pairs, barenecessities.com), which cover only the front half of the foot. A bit of padding on the bottom provides a cushion and keeps the cover from sliding and scrunching into the toe of your shoe.
Problem: Unopened vent
Solution: Scissors
Jackets, blazers, and skirts often come with vents that are tacked together with thread. "Don't forget to snip the string once you bring your item home from the store," says JoAnna Nicholson, author of "Dressing Smart for Women: 101 Mistakes You Can't Afford to Make...and How to Avoid Them" (Impact Publications, $17, amazon.com). Besides being a potential source of embarrassment, a tacked-together vent may also increase your chances of ripping your garment when you take a large step or reach for something on the top pantry shelf.
Problem: A gaping blouse
Solution: Velcro
Your favorite shirt was dried once too often, and now it's a bit snug, with buttons that appear to be hanging on for dear life. "You don't want your coworkers staring at your chest, waiting for a button to pop off onto the conference table," says Clinton Kelly, cohost of TLC's "What Not to Wear." To avoid this scenario, sew a small piece of Velcro between the buttons or use a piece of double-stick tape. That way your shirt will stay flush against your skin, buttons will remain attached, and your assets will be tucked away from Bob in Accounting's sight.
Problem: Cropped pants with boots
Solution: Taller boots
Once considered a summer-only staple, Capri pants are now available in thicker, fall-friendly fabrics, such as wool and tweed. But don't wear them with your lowest pair of boots. "Low ankle boots paired with cropped pants look dowdy, because they break up your silhouette," says Stacy London, cohost of TLC's "What Not to Wear." "Wearing high boots that completely cover the calves and a few inches of skin underneath the pants has a more elongating effect," she says.
Problem: Peekaboo lingerie
Solution: A nude bra
White underwear may seem demure and understated next to that rack of red lace skivvies in the department store, but it screams "Look at me!" when worn under white clothing. If you want your unmentionables to be unnoticeable underneath a favorite white T-shirt or blouse, wear a bra that is close to your skin tone (this holds true for all underwear).
Problem: Visible tag
Solution: Seam ripper
Your Sealy Posturepedic mattress may have come with a DO NOT REMOVE label, but your brand-new scarf didn't. So throw needless caution to the wind and snip the tags on scarves, sheer blouses, and any other wardrobe piece with an unsightly label. Use a seam ripper in lieu of scissors to easily remove stitches holding the tag in place, but beware of tags sewn directly into a seam, says Audrey Smaltz, founder of the Ground Crew, a backstage-management company for fashion shows. For these use a small pair of scissors to cut the tag just below the seam (so the tiny bit of tag is barely noticeable).
Problem: A bare midriff
Solution: Layering
Pant rises have gotten lower (and lower), but shirts, sweaters, and blouses have stayed the same. The result? An exposed midsection that leaves you looking like a teen pop sensation. Rather than banishing your favorite―and most flattering -- pair of pants to the back of the closet, layer a lacy tank top underneath a sweater. A hint of added color and texture keeps your tummy hidden and creates a more interesting, modern look. Another benefit: Um, how about warmth?
Problem: Visible panty line
Solution: Smooth briefs
You want all the attention on you, not your tush. A visible panty line draws attention to your backside (making it look larger), but don't assume a lifetime of wearing thongs is your only option. "Panties are more demure and chic, and they are also a lot more comfortable," says Simon Doonan, creative director of Barneys New York. Jockey No Panty Line Promise briefs ($9.50, jockey.com) have flat seams that are only 1/8 inch wide, preventing them from cutting into your skin. These full-coverage briefs end below the curvature of your bottom, completely covering (not bisecting) the area where pants tend to be most snug. Bonus: The spandex briefs are as soft as your most lived-in T-shirt.