Confidence After A Wardrobe Malfunction (Embrace The Suck!)

Recently, I had a wardrobe malfunction. I wasn’t prepared for it. It caught me by surprise. I was on a date and static cling had dry locked a pair of underwear to the outside of my pants.

I was in line to order and I looked down and noticed the wardrobe conundrum and my undies by the counter. My confidence took a hit. What was I going to do to regain confidence at that moment?

I really didn’t know. I picked it up and stuffed it in my pocket. I went home and started doing research on the subject. Here’s what I found out.

So how do you have confidence after a wardrobe malfunction? The most appropriate way to regain confidence after a wardrobe-fail is to bolster a shy smile. The smile shows a connection to your own humanity and lets confidence resurface. Take a deep breath, keep it insignificant and let the emotions swell.

Dealing with embarrassment isn’t always easy though. It can feel like the wardrobe malfunction has just ripped away the shroud of your soul.

The exposure experience is a feeling of extreme vulnerability. I always tend to have a tickle-like feeling in my face and a hole in my gut when it happens to me. What can you do about it?

I like to take a moment to notice the body sensations. I think, “Oh look at that all of the blood just rushed out of my face and it’s about to rush back like a tsunami wave.” I’m about to feel really embarrassed and then I’m going to be embarrassed that I am embarrassed.

The dreaded blush. The moment when everyone knows you feel socially awkward. What’s the point? Actually, the involuntary response induces sympathy from the onlookers.

Corine Dijk, Peter de Jong and Madelon Peters -(paraphrased and embellished by me)

You can see this article to learn more about the evolutionary purpose of blushing.

So believe it or not, the blush can help you recover from a social infraction. You broke the rules, but thank god for the blush. It’s your get out of jail free card.

It’s okay. You are entitled to feel bad for a moment, and you are allowed to recover. So as your confidence drains out of your face with the blood, consider that it’s going to come back just as soon as the blush does. It’s the blush that lets you reconnect to how insignificant it all is.

Sophia Vergara thought she had a small tear in her dress at the 2012 Emmys. She thought that everyone her was overreacting until she saw the tear.

She said, “…I never thought it was like a curtain open; the whole thing (exposed)…”

She realized how bad it was, but later tweeted the worst of it with a picture to share her embarrassment with the world.

You might be thinking that she can handle something like this because she is a successful actress.

But, maybe she is a successful actress because she has been able to embrace her humanity.

Have you ever been able to be okay with yourself, just the way you are and the way you are not?

It’s a journey for all of us. So, even when you lose your poise and your rosy cheeks let everyone know that you are unhappy about what just went down, you can take it as an opportunity to “just be.”

You done messed up now A-aron!

Key & Peele

You probably never thought that being embarrassed is a perfect place to grow your confidence, but in reality everything else is in the vein of “fake it till you make it.”

The real growth occurs right there in the moment.

I was at a conference recently. The speaker, Monica, who is a great speaker totally messed up in front of a room full of people.

The first thing she did was look at the ceiling (realizing that she had skipped a major part of the information she was to cover, and now she had moved on so far that it was going to be tough to work it back in). She smiled and regained her focus on the crowd.

She said, “I just messed up.” Everyone just smiled back. Then she followed up by saying, “Oh my, I didn’t die.”

She began to share at that moment that when she was a little girl she got really embarrassed in front of a group and never wanted to speak or be in front of an audience again. In her later, years she decided to take on her fear of public speaking.

She said, “I didn’t want to get in front of people because I thought if I messed up I’d die.”


Bottom line, if you find yourself at a moment of wardobe failure, count it an opportunity to grow your self-esteem. Embrace it and grow from it. It’s okay, you’ll be okay.

What If You Can’t Stop Thinking About Your Wardrobe Malfunction?

If you find yourself ruminating (fancy word for reliving the moment in your head), you can do something about it.

If you can’t just seem to let it go, you might want to consider doing some of the following:

  • Write it down: Journal about the emotions around the experience. Write down what happened and what you think the whole thing says about you. It’s important to list the part you are most embarrassed about. You may have noticed an onlooker gave you a funny look or something that stands out vividly. Write these items down. For me, it was the way a guy looked at me when I leaned over to pick up my undies off the restaurant floor.
  • Time it: Schedule the time to rehash it. Tell yourself, “From 5 pm to 5:15 pm today, I’m going to rehash this old memory. Then at that time, just wallow in it. Write it out, scream it out. Do whatever you need to air the emotions. This will help you take control of the ruminating thoughts rather than being controlled by them.
  • Have a conversation: Discuss the incidence with a close friend that loves you. Don’t dismiss what they tell you. Let them bring the grace to you that you can’t seem to bring to yourself at the moment.
  • Seek out counseling: if you have done all of the above and you still feel you are locked into the vicious cycle of remembering the wardrobe failure, schedule an appointment with a licensed mental health counselor. A professional can help you navigate complex emotions and gain a sense of freedom around the experience.

Related Questions:

What are the best ways to prevent a wardrobe failure?

  • Keep a bag of safety pins with you. You might consider keeping them close. Great places to keep them handy are places like your car, desk drawer, purse, briefcase, backpack or anything you realistically take with you.
  • Scotch double sided garment tape to prevent slippage. This can come in handy when things won’t stay in position.
  • Camelflage underwear. This will prevent the print on the front of women’s pants (yoga pants, etc. aka camel-toe).
  • Adhesive nippies can prevent “high-beams” to cover nipples and reduce the appearance.
  • Wipe-out can get the white marks from deodorant off of your clothing.

What do you do if you feel fat in everything you try on and don’t want to leave the house?

First, you might ask yourself if you are feeling anxious about something. There can be a carry over. For me, if I have too much coffee or caffeinated beverages, I might be a little on edge about how I look.

If you are a woman, and it’s around that time of the month, understand that you may gain water weight. It’s not your fault.

Often the sense of being seen by someone important in public can lead you down this path. If you are trying to impress someone, you may need to mentally give yourself a break. Write down why you want to impress this person and what would happen if you couldn’t.

If you are driven by being liked and accepted, you may need to work on accepting yourself first.

Deep breath guys, it’s going to be okay.


Kat Clukey

I am so glad you are here, and have chosen to spend your time reading my blog. I'm a Life Coach through the Procter Gallagher Institute . Since 2013, I have been on an intense mission to read books, go to seminars, and generally turn myself inside out to find out why some people seem to feel good in their own skin while I've struggled with self-worth and low self-esteem most of my adult life. I hope you find insights that help you on your journey!

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