Stylewise FixitsShortcuts aren’t always the best solutions.

Once, I shrunk a pair of contact lenses because I didn’t store them the right way. That’s right, shrunk them.

It was a packed workday. I’d been sitting in front of my computer for hours, and judging by the amount of articles yet to be written, I would be parked there all day. My contacts were starting to irritate my eyes—probably because I hadn’t cleaned them the night before. In exasperation, I plucked them out with the thumb and pointer of one hand, while the other fished around inside my purse for their case. The lenses were already resting in my palm when it dawned on me that I had left the case on my dresser, along with the hydrating solution they needed to soak in.

Great, I sighed to myself. What now? I contemplated running to the nearby drugstore to buy another case and a small bottle of solution. But then I’d have to get up from my chair...

Rummaging some more, I found a small plastic container of questionable origin in one of the pockets of my bag. Aha! Gleefully, I rinsed it, plopped in my contacts, and poured in a little water—they needed “hydration,” right? Then, I put on my glasses, got back to work, and forgot all about it.

Cut to nighttime. I’d just gotten home, all tired and hungry and itching for some couch potato action, when I suddenly remembered the little plastic container. As I kicked off my shoes and bemoaned the lateness of the hour, my fingers found the makeshift case and pulled it from my purse. But it was only when I heard the strange clacking noise coming from inside the container that I finally turned my attention to it.

Surprise! All the water had drained out of a little hole that I hadn’t noticed earlier. And my contacts? They were desiccated and clackingly brittle, and about a fourth of the size they were supposed to be. I tried to reverse the process by storing them in their proper case with their proper hydration liquid overnight, but in the morning they still looked like two tiny half-eggshells.

I wore my glasses to the office for a week, muttering under my breath, as I waited for the costly replacement lenses to arrive.

The moral of the story is, like I said, shortcuts aren’t always the best solutions—especially when you have a choice, like my lazy butt did.

On the other hand, when you don’t have a choice, a shortcut is sometimes the only thing standing between you and sartorial humiliation. And if you have a foolproof shortcut—one that should get you through the day until you can do the real mending at home—well, there’s really no harm in trying.

Below, find 10 quick tricks for thwarting fashion emergencies, from fallen hems to stocking runs to willfully disobedient zippers. I’ve tried them all, and don’t worry—you won’t have another case of crispy contacts on your hands!

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(Flashbox photo from The Devil Wears Prada courtesy of 20th Century Fox)

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