My Life As A Perpetual Clothes-Ruiner (& The Kit You Need If You’re One, Too)

There are two types of people in life. There are clothes-preservers — those who manage to wear their possessions carefully, take them off carefully, store them carefully, and generally breeze through life with creases in all the right places. They are the ones who can buy expensive sunglasses and actually call them "an investment," confident they won’t sit on them or accidentally leave them behind on the subway. They’re the people who can wear white pants while on their period — and casually order meatballs for lunch.

And then, there are people like me: the clothes-ruiners.

We have the best of intentions, but the snaggiest of nails. We spill. We tear. We bust zips. We do DIY alterations with superglue and kitchen scissors, five minutes after we were supposed to have left the house. We forget to cut off the tags, but always lose the spare buttons. We follow washing instructions to a T — yet still end up with a dress only a doll can wear.

Ever since I put my heel through the chiffon hem of my high school prom dress before I'd even arrived at the party, I've known my fate was sealed: the fate that I will buy beautiful things, and I will, without fail, accidentally fuck them up. But there is hope (I've found), thanks to a few handy gadgets. Ahead, you'll find a list of essentials every clothes-ruiner should have on standby. Next time you look down at a stain, remember: With these in your pocket, a clean-shirted future is yours.
1 of 8
Safety Pins
If I had a dollar for every time I needed a safety pin and didn't have one, I could…well, buy a skirt with a working zipper. For all we know, Elizabeth Hurley’s iconic 1994 Versace dress was just the work of a clothes-ruiner in a red carpet emergency (though all the white jeans of her later years would suggest otherwise).

To be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to stockpile not just the tiny, bendy kind, but also a good, solid safety pin that could sub in for a button or hold an entire skirt together in dire straits. Amazon can sort you out with all sizes and colors, while brands like John Lewis offer decorative bejeweled pins for fancy occasions.

John Lewis Decorative Safety Pin, $57, available at John Lewis.
2 of 8
An Emergency Sewing Kit
As well as being handy for patching your own wardrobe back together, an emergency sewing kit will always make you friends. You might have to wait a while, but one day the cry for help will come — maybe a split seam at the office, maybe a broken strap at a party, maybe a weeping bride, hiding in the bathroom — and you will be there to save the day, like a total hero.

This particular one has everything you need, and is small and discreet enough to stash in your bag without advertising to the world that you’re a disaster zone. Let's just say you’ll walk a little taller just knowing it’s there.

Merchant & Millsrapid Repair Kit, $21.42, available at Liberty London.
3 of 8
A Sweater Stone
When you’re a clothes-ruiner, sweaters and wool coats tend to pill before you even get them home. Somewhere along the way you might have heard that the way to deal with this is to shave your knitwear with a razor. Do not do this. You’ll end up turning your cashmere to Swiss cheese and your razor into something that gives more fluff than it removes — and if it sounds like I’m speaking from experience, that’s because I am.

Instead, invest in this life-altering sweater stone: It’s made of pumice and meant to exfoliate and smooth out tired clothing the same way it would your face. (But do not use this on your face.)

Sweater Stone Pill & Lint Removing Sweater Stone, $7.95, available at Nordstrom.
4 of 8
Delicates Bags
While Bob Dylan asked how many roads a man must walk down, I ask how many of her favorite bras a woman must accidentally ruin before she finally gives in and starts washing them in a delicates bag. Seven? 12? 32?

Anyway, get yourself one, and never jab yourself with an exposed underwire again.

Hanes Care Lingerie Wash Bag, $4.99, available at Hanes.
5 of 8
Stain-Remover Wipes
Because there is no thrill closer to time travel than being able to erase a Sriracha spill from your crotch like it never even happened.

Shout Wipe & Go Stain Remover Wipes, $29.91, available at Walmart.
6 of 8
A Wundaweb
For everyone who has ever sighed over an unravelled hem or an awkward-length top and thought, Why can’t I just stick it up with tape? I am here today to say: You can. Meet Wundaweb, the lazy girl’s tailor. Just tuck it into your hem, iron on both sides, marvel at how it costs approximately 50 times less than a sewing machine, and then sing your newfound anthem: “Because maybe, you’re gonna be the one that saves me… I’m a sewing pleb, you’re my Wundaweb.”

Wundaweb Extra Strong Hem Tape, $6.99, available at Amazon.
7 of 8
Embroidered Patches
Thanks to the current '70s revival, patched denim is a legitimate style choice once again. That, of course, is excellent news for those of us who can't keep our clothes in check, as iron-on patches allow us to cunningly conceal that nail polish stain while also subtly advertising how much we really, really want world peace (or support #girlpower, or love Justin Bieber).

ThatNoiseGallery Don't Text Him Embroidered Patch, $10, available at Etsy.
8 of 8
A Clothes Steamer
While we can all agree that ironing will soon go the way of the fax machine (seriously, any chore that demands setting up its own special little table is a chore you can live without), there will always be those items that just look better without wrinkles. Steaming is the quickest, easiest way to get rid of them — as well as the fragrant memories of Friday night, for when the label says "dry clean only" but your bank balance says "nope."

You can buy portable travel steamers for as little as $20, but for real fashion cred, invest in the Fridja. You can tell people it’s an at-home spa treatment, if that helps.

Fridja Coco Professional Garment Steamer, $141.36, available at Fridja.