I was chatting with the female CEO of a large Canadian corporation who shared her most embarrassing wardrobe malfunction.  She attends many gala events and at one particular function she wore a brand new slim fitting, sleek ‘mermaid’ style dress.  She was feeling pretty glamorous right up until the malfunction.

Uh-oh I feel a breeze


Oops a wardrobe malfunction

While seated for dinner she suddenly felt cold. She reached around to touch the back of her dress and instead her finger tips touched skin. Uh-oh! To her horror, her zipper hadn’t just come unzipped, it had broken and no matter how hard she tried she couldn’t do it up. She couldn’t leave her seat to fix it as this would expose her entire backside to the room.

Quick thinking

Thinking quickly she wrote a note to her male colleague sitting across from her explaining the situation.  She asked if she could borrow his jacket to make her escape and then slipped away, she hoped, unnoticed. She wasn’t looking at anyone in the eye so it’s hard to say. Lesson learned: now she always brings a shawl or pashmina wrap with her.

Ooops, me too

Something like that happened to me with a new, oh-so-soft cashmere knit skirt. I wore it proudly to deliver a keynote presentation at an Edmonton women’s conference. But following the presentation, I decided to go furniture shopping. As I walking around the show room, I felt a draft on my behind.  When I turned around to see if the door had been left open, I noticed this woman’s face register a look of shock.

Around my knees

I looked down and… my skirt was down around my knees. I turned beet red and swiftly hiked my skirt back up to my waist and I didn’t let go of it until I got home. I examined the skirt waistband and because it was made of knitted material, it didn’t have enough structure to stay in place. Lesson learned: try new garments on at home for a while before venturing out. Thank goodness it didn’t happen while on stage delivering my keynote or end up on YouTube.

Stuff happens

Wardrobe malfunctions happen to all of us, they rarely kill you… but they sure can embarrass you. What’s more important is how you recover from them and learn from them so you don’t repeat them (hopefully). My tip is to expect the unexpected, but like the scouts, be prepared.

So what about you? Ever had an “Oops!” moment? Feel free to share your embarrassing clothing experiences and tips with us so we can all have a laugh and know we’re all human.

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Posted by Joanne Blake – the Canadian corporate image consultant and sometimes embarrassed person

About the author 

Joanne Blake

Canadian speaker, corporate image consultant & business etiquette expert. If you're interested in booking a presentation, keynote or coaching, contact me. Based in Calgary / Edmonton, Alberta in western Canada.

  1. One time at work one side of my jeans ripped, thankfully it was above the knee, so nothing was shown. So I bought a sewing kit ( I work in a store) and changed into rain pants, I had in my locker. Then I headed into the break room to sew jeans up, my coworkers were surprised I could sew. I sewed my jeans back up and changed back into them and resumed working once more. So good thing my limited sewing skills saved me from a further wardrobe malfunction.

  2. Hi JB

    Thanks for your comment.

    I always say there is a time and a place for everything, and flip flops are best worn on our personal time, away from the workplace. And in many offices they may pose a workplace hazard.

    I was recently interviewed for an article on summertime dressing faux pas and the subject of flip flops came up as it always does. I will post it when it goes live later this week.

  3. Hi Joanne:

    I am currently at a job centre. A staff member is donning those annoying flip flops. What is your opinion on flip flops in the office ? Personally I find them annoying. I know in my line of work (health care) we are not supposed to wear them.


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