Dressed for disaster: How to cope when your gown lets you down
It's every woman's fashion nightmare: the red wine spilt on the white dress, or in the case of IFTA winner Sarah Greene, the frock that never came. Our reporter on what to do when your wardrobe malfunctions
Published 13/04/2016 | 02:30
Cork actress Sarah Greene may have scooped a gong for her role as Hecate Poole in Penny Dreadful at the IFTAs at the weekend, but it was her last-minute change of wardrobe that caused the real drama ahead of the star-studded event in the capital.
The rising star turned heads in an unusual red jumpsuit at the Film and Drama Awards at the Mansion House.
Speaking to reporters on the red carpet however, she confessed she only wore it because her real gown went AWOL: "I had a disaster with my dress. I don't want to talk about it or I'll start to cry.
"I got this jumpsuit at 4pm in 'A Store Is Born' on Clarendon Street. It's been a very stressful day."
Forty-eight hours on, the 29-year-old can at least take solace in the fact that she's in stylish company after suffering the ultimate wardrobe malfunction.
Sofia Vergara, for one, is sure to offer a shoulder to cry on after her skintight Zuhair Murad frock famously split at the seams twenty minutes before she took to the stage at the 2012 Emmys.
Tweeting a cheeky snap of the dress disaster, the actress was literally in stitches as she thanked her wardrobe for helping to save the day: "This happened 20 min before we won!!!!Jajajajja. I luv my life!!!!"
Both offer a salutary lesson to girls everywhere to plan your outfit well in advance of big events and always stash a safety pin or two in your clutch bag, just in case, says Dublin-based stylist Laura Nolan.
"Fortunately I've never suffered a wardrobe malfunction," she tells, "but it's bound to happen at some stage!
"I've been to a wedding where the zip on the bride's dress broke moments before she was due to walk down the aisle, and I was quickly shimmied into the back room to fix it." Quick-thinking Laura, who runs fashion and interior styling service LNH Image International, reveals she always carries an emergency kit including double-sided fashion tape, safety pins and a needle and thread in her bag or car.
And she urged other fashionistas here to have their own "Plan B" too: "So many people now order dresses online and are banking on it arriving on time and being right. "I don't know how many times I've heard horror stories of people getting dressed in cars on the way to a wedding and hems falling down or zips breaking.
"If you're going to an event that's away from home, my biggest tip is to be prepared by trying on your outfit beforehand - and always bring a spare dress in case something goes wrong."
Sarah isn't the only one left struggling with the eternal 'what to wear' dilemma at the 11th hour. After Valentino released a statement that Anne Hathaway and Jennifer Aniston would be wearing similar-sounding "embroidered tulle" dresses by the designer to the 2013 Oscars, it's believed that both women donned something completely different to avoid the ultimate red carpet frock-up.
Inadvertently rocking the 'twinning' trend is one thing, but most frequently it's red wine that's leaving women red-faced.
Just ask Keira Knightley, whose dreamy Chanel wedding dress was wrecked with wine after she famously wore it again.
"It's now got red wine spilled down the front because the last time I wore it, my friend went like this," demonstrated the actress with her elbows, "and now it's everywhere.
"I didn't quite realise the extent of it until I got home. But, hey, a good night is a good night and when a dress has had its time, maybe it's had its time."
Self-confessed fashion victim Justine King of Opsh.com admits she feels Keira's pain, but warns against tackling tricky stains yourself: "I'm the worst - anytime I wear white I spill everything down it.
"With red wine, the best advice is to change straight away and get the item to the dry cleaners as soon as you can. Any rubbing will only spread the stain and lead to it becoming permanent."
As for dousing it with white wine, Laura Nolan adds that the DIY method of stain removal is a "complete myth": "White wine does not work and salt will only make it worse, especially if it's silk. You just have to grin and bear it and get it professionally cleaned as quickly as possible."
Humble baby wipes, on the other hand, work a treat for less serious disasters such as muddy high heels and makeup on your neckline, both advise.
But to avoid doing an Amy Schumer, and embarrassingly snapping your high heel altogether, try a plastic heel protector, explains Justine. "It's a clear perspex tip which protects your heel and stops it from sinking into grass.
"I also nearly always have clear nail varnish in my bag if I'm wearing tights, but some people go so far as bringing a spare pair in case they get a ladder.
"And I swear by camera tape, which you can buy in any camera shop, and is better than any fashion tape I've ever tried. If you rip a seam or the soles of your shoes start talking to you you, you can also use it to keep everything together until you get home."
It's advice that's sure to resonate with Dakota Johnson.
The actress was left Fifty Shades of red when the zip on her dress broke as she lifted the gong for Favourite Dramatic Actress at the People's Choice Awards earlier this year.
But the 26-year-old didn't let the wardrobe malfunction ruin her night, quipping: "Well, it's not like nobody here hasn't already seen my boobs."
Urging girls here not to stress over their dress either, Laura adds: "I've seen girls at weddings with their husband or partner's jacket around, and it's not that cold - obviously something is going on underneath. "These things happen so there's no point in letting it ruin your day. If you get a big rip or stain, throw a jacket around you or tie something around your waist - do what you have to do.
"At the end of the day, you'll laugh about it later."
DON'T PANIC! HOW TO FIX SARTORIAL SLIP-UPS
When it rips:
A stitch in time saves nine, but if it's far too late for all that, use a few sneaky safety pins or even camera tape to hold the offending split together from the inside until you make it back to the sewing machine.
When you spill red wine:
Tempting though it may be to start dabbing furiously at the stain with white wine, sadly you'll just have to live with the shame as the notoriously tricky stain is best left to the professionals.
When it's gaping:
Double-sided fashion tape is the secret to not making a boob of yourself at a big event, just ensure that your skin is completely moisturiser-free first or you could end up flashing the tape as well.
When you've got a make-up stain:
Telltale streaks of foundation on your neckline and unsightly white deodorant marks under your arms disappear instantly with a swipe of a baby wipe so there's no need to hog the hand dryer.
When your heel snaps:
Help avoid a real-life Cinderella moment by stashing a tube of superglue in your handbag ahead of big nights out, but if all else fails, just embrace the barefoot look on the dance floor.