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How to Handle Wardrobe Malfunction Without Feeling Embarrassed

You just arrived at the venue. You’re strutting to your seat and smiling to yourself as you sense other guests staring at you. And as you’re about to sit at the position the usher assigned to you, you hear a sound from behind your pants. “Lord, don‘t let this be another wardrobe malfunction,” you pray.

You run your hand around the back of your pants and you feel it— a split that runs from the top of your waist to your crotch.

You sit immediately in shock. How would you move around with your underwear sneaking out of your split pants?

That’s how embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions can be. 

It could be your pants tearing, your zipper breaking, or a button falling off giving strangers a sneak peek of your chest.

man suffering wardrobe malfunction when his jeans tears showing his underwear

The sickening part of it all is that these malfunctions happen without notice. Probably when you’re having a good time or when you’re a moment away from an important occasion.

But when you experience any of these wardrobe disasters, remaining stuck in one position out of embarrassment isn’t the way forward.

You have to do something about it to salvage the situation or at least prevent it from happening next time.

And that’s what you’ll learn if you consume this piece to the end. You’ll see what to do when your cloth messes up and leave a vital part of your body bare.

Let’s get to it.

What is a Wardrobe Malfunction?

celebrities suffering wardrobe malfunctions

It’s an embarrassing situation that happens when a vital part of your clothes slips out of position and exposes an intimate part of your body.

We have Justin Timberlake to thank for introducing the term to the fashion world.

Back in 2004, he tore at Janet Jackson‘s costume’s right breast pocket during the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime performance. The results? 

Her bare breasts got exposed to a live television audience of nearly 100 million people.

While explaining the incident to MTVbase, he said:

“I am sorry if anyone was offended by the wardrobe malfunction during the halftime performance at the Super Bowl. It was not intentional and is regrettable.”

Justin Timberlake on MTV

Unlike flashing parts of your body or dressing indecently, this never happens deliberately. As the name implies, it’s a malfunction. And like every other malfunction, this one comes with its consequences too.

For instance, during Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake’s case, despite the celebrities’ apology, Janet suffered for it.

According to Intouch Weekly:

“Janet faced the fallout. She was banned from attending the 2004 Grammys, and the aftermath of the incident negatively affected her career for years to follow.”

Intouch Weekly

This goes without saying when celebrities experience this, they make headlines. Fans and trolls would drop hot takes on the incident, making them trend for days (or even weeks).

man shorts sagging

And random citizens? Well, another random individual would probably take a picture of them as content for the Internet. And other users would drop hot takes while laughing or expressing their derision. 

A wardrobe malfunction isn’t something to be proud of.

Your best bet is to prevent these incidents from happening to you at all costs by double-checking your outfits before you leave home.

But how do these embarrassing closet malfunctions happen?

Let’s find out together.

Types of Wardrobe Malfunction

lady in red dinner dress suffering wardrobe malfunction

If we didn’t have to wear clothes, life would probably be easier. We wouldn’t have to worry about our nudes getting stuck in the eyes of unauthorized people. Because, well, we’d all be naked and there’d be nothing to hide.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. We have to deal with clothes for as long as we live. And with getting clothed, comes these embarrassing situations:

  • Your zipper breaks with your underwear poking out.
  • Your cleavage or belly peeking out of your shirt.
  • A muffin top from your tight jeans.
  • Going out and realizing your clothes are see-through and the world can see your underwear without trying.
  • Your heels break.
  • The wind blows your dress to reveal your underwear.
  • Bras slipping off your clothes.
  • Pants split like the one in the introductory story of this piece.
  • Visible panty lines
  • Clothes that accentuate your belly budge.
  • Your pants dropping off your waist.
  • Your pants slip off to reveal your butt cleavage.
  • And lots more.

Celebrities have had their fair share of wardrobe malfunctions either when performing on stage, on the red carpet, or anywhere else. 

lady having a muffin top

And because these incidents happen impromptu, some try to make adjustments when they notice. Others simply brush it off their minds and carry on with their activities as though nothing happened. And some other celebrities go on social media to share their experiences with their fans. 

Some don’t even notice until paparazzi come calling and they see themselves on different blogs.

This begs the question: what is the best way to handle a faulty wardrobe in public? Here we go:

How to Handle Wardrobe Malfunction

Kanye West suffering wardrobe malfunction as he steps out of the car

These wardrobe accidents can meet you anytime any day whether you’re at work or walking on the street. Since almost nothing can be done when these incidents happen, your best bet is to avoid them with all your heart.

But if you can’t avoid them and they happen, do any of these:

1. Try to Cover Up

Lil Nas suffering wardrobe malfunction on stage

Once you see something is off with your outfit, cover up immediately.

Say you notice your pants are giving you a muffin top. Just drag down your top to cover it up. And if you notice your zipper is torn, you can untuck your shirt to cover it.

Covering up is a great way to salvage your wardrobe disaster. And if you wanna do so, do it without calling attention to yourself.

2. Stay Calm

lady suffering wardrobe malfunction when breeze blows and lift her gown to show her panties

Don’t fret or panic when experiencing a wardrobe malfunction. It’s not your fault. Just stay calm and try to think of a remedy to the problem. 

If you don’t stay put, you may bring unnecessary attention to yourself. You don’t want that, do you? So, stay calm and try to prevent more people from noticing what’s wrong,  

3. Ask for Help

couple at the beach with the lady suffering wardrobe malfunction

Once you’ve noticed there’s a problem with your wardrobe choice, ask for help from a friend or any kind person nearby. 

Who knows, they may have an extra piece of cloth that can help to reduce your embarrassment.

So, don’t go trying to fix the patch on your behind all by yourself. Ask for help to avoid wreaking more damage.

4. Maneuver the situation to your benefit

Say your button fell off and exposed your cleavage. How about you unfastened another button so everything blends in like you deliberately chose not to button up.

It’s still fashion, you know.

Some fashion trends were once regarded as mistakes. Who knows, you just may be the next trendsetter.

5. Own it and Laugh it Off

lady talking on stage with enormous cleavage showing

If you can’t do anything to salvage the situation, just own it and laugh it off. Not a nervous or forced laughter though but genuine laughter. 

Sure, having a wardrobe accident is embarrassing and everyone else may laugh at you. But it’s not your fault and even if it were, as Black Sheriff sang in his hit song, Kwaku the Traveller:

“Who never f**k up hands in the air. No hands!”

Black Sheriff

In other words, let who’s never had a wardrobe malfunction raise their hands in the air and cast the first stone. 

So, own the incident and don’t feel awkward. In fact, laugh at yourself before anyone else does. Accept the situation, compose yourself, and handle it with class, not nervousness.

And you’ll see others will take it as though nothing happened and forget about it sooner than you expect.

If it’s happened to your favorite stars, it can happen to anyone— including you and me.

Never Experience Wardrobe Disasters by Using Fashion Hacks

smiling lady's cleavage showing at an award show

Yes, fashion hacks don’t just prevent a closet malfunction from happening. They also solve the problem.

Having stuff like safety pins or paper clips in your bag can save you on the day your button falls off. Also, wearing a fashion tape keeps your bra strap from popping out. Or is it super glue? It can keep your shoes together when they separate from the sole.

Keep these items as your emergency fashion kit. They’ll always come in handy to save you when you get stuck.

Above all, in all you do, avoid wearing undersized clothes or bad underwear. Most times, they are the causes of wardrobe malfunction.


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Victoria B. Willie

Writing has always been a part of me. From writing stories as a young child to studying Communication Arts in the university, it has always been more than a medium of expression to me.

And then one day, I found myself toeing the path of an entrepreneur and becoming a fashion enthusiast. This made me develop an interest in content marketing and copywriting which I've been chasing alongside my fashion career.

That aside, when I'm not sharing style articles, selling with stories, or sketching fashion-forward pieces for Ria Kosher, you'll find me telling wild stories that always come with a twist.

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