Astrid’s column this month about emergency fixes reminded me that I’ve been meaning to discuss “fixes” in this column. Not the where or the when, but the how. What do you use to make needed repairs, and maybe more importantly, what could you have done beforehand to avoid the need for mid-evening repairs? Or maybe it’s not even a repair that’s needed so much as a small tweak, like lengthening a necklace or refreshing a fabric.
Sometimes in the enjoyment of browsing through the clothing sections our readers overlook the equally important but admittedly less exciting “aids” and “helpers” sections – Lingerie Aids, Jewelry Aids, Shoe Helpers, and Wardrobe Aids. The items offered under these headings don’t normally come in satin or lace or 5-inch heels, and they’re not enticing to look at and dream about, but they deserve a place in your wardrobe nevertheless. No one looks good suffering with every step or rearranging a plunging neckline every three minutes, and it’s in these oft-overlooked sections that you’ll find the preventative measures to help you avoid limping through the evening or constantly clutching your neckline.
Most women know that some pieces of clothing require anchoring or that some shoes are unbearable without a little help, but that’s really just the beginning. There are many, many products out there now that can make bras more comfortable, hold clothing and accessories in place, temporarily shorten a hem (or hold it in place if it’s coming out), turn a favorite pin into a pendant, change the length of a necklace or bracelet, or make your clip-on earrings more comfortable, and this is just skimming the surface.
Below I’ve summarized some of the best helpers or aids to be found in these under-used sections of the Boutique.
Lingerie Aids No one looks ladylike tugging at her bra in public. If you have one that’s a bit tight, enjoy more breathing room by using an extender. There’s even a 13-hook one for longer garments. If you have some straps that dig in, check out the silicone protectors. And don’t forget about protecting your bras so they’ll hold their shape and last longer. This section has helpers to use while storing or washing them or while traveling.
Jewelry Aids There’s no reason to get rid of uncomfortable earrings or too-tight necklaces, especially when the solutions are so easy. This section has different kinds of extenders for your necklaces (or even certain kinds of bracelets) as well as silicone sleeves for the clips on your earrings that kill your ears. There’s also a key with instructions for loosening (every so slightly) the tension in the clip. By now you’ve probably seen the handy little tool to help you fasten your bracelets, but how about the converters to change fishhook or stud earrings into clip style? Or if you have a pin you’d love to wear as a pendant, there’s a converter for that too. For those who have 15 fingers when trying to fasten a necklace or bracelet clasp, how about changing to magnetic clasps? And of course don’t forget the all-important polishing cloth.
Shoe Helpers I recently read that 8 out of 10 women say their shoes hurt their feet. Stylish but uncomfortable shoes is a problem women struggle with from the time they spot their first to-die-for pair that was seemingly designed for an alien’s feet. The good news is that there are lots of ways to make painful shoes more bearable. Everyone knows about moleskin or gel pads, but how about a product that acts like an invisible shield on your skin to prevent rubbing? The Boutique has two such products, and while they sound too good to be true, both products have rave reviews from customers. There are also protectors for specific areas of your feet, like around a thong or along a narrow strap. Of course adding something to keep your heel from slipping in the shoe will prevent lots of uncomfortable rubbing, and there are also small pads to protect if just one particular place is causing discomfort. And don’t forget items to help you keep your shoes and boots looking good and lasting a long time.
Wardrobe Aids This is a very generic term and can mean everything from double-stick tape to the perfect hanger. Taping is an open secret of most well-dressed women. Whether it’s something as small as holding a scarf “just so” or as important as keeping a strapless top from slipping down, tape is the go-to answer for keeping your outfit looking the way it did when you left home. Slipping straps, sagging hem, or wandering neckline, there’s a tape or roll-on adhesive that will do the trick. There are even small purse carrier’s with bits of tape so you can make that emergency fix at any time.
Then there are the aids that help you care for and store your clothing. If you have pills, a fabric shaver will remove them easily, or if you have snags in knits or other fine fabrics, there’s a tiny hook to pull it to the backside. (Never cut a pull!!) There’s also a multi-tasking hand-held steamer with attachments to keep your clothes looking new longer. And for storing correctly, right-sized or right-shaped hangers are essential for avoiding unseemly hanger bumps in your clothes, while adding some friction to your hangers will keep even the sheerest little top from slipping off and landing on the floor.
It’s all well and good to have beautiful clothing, but that’s only the beginning. Knowing that your ensemble will stay in place while you’re out and about and caring for your clothes so they’ll look their best and last as long as you’d like is an equally important part of being a well-dressed woman. As with most things in life, what’s behind the scenes is just as important as what’s out front.
Have a fashionable holiday season and treat yourself well!