12 Outfit Mistakes That Make You Look Messy

On ordinary days, we'll let these mishaps slide. But when you're trying to make a good impression—a job interview or a date—avoid these sloppy outfit moves before you head out.

Haphazard ironing and wrinkles


Pay special attention to the collars and buttons of dress shirts for job interviews and special events. These features frame your face and are generally made of cotton, a fabric that is notoriously unforgiving when it comes to wrinkles. Remove cotton shirts from the dryer while they're still moist and set your iron to high. Begin with the collar and iron both the inside and outside. Add steam to make the collar extra crisp. If any wrinkles form, push them toward the base of the collar. Iron sleeves by unbuttoning the cuff and following the seam on the shirt. Remove any arm creases by steaming the shirt. Iron and steam other items of clothing with the same amount of care. The one piece you can be more casual with? Anything made of linen—this summer fabric was made to be worn with minimal effort. Here's how to properly care for all your summer clothing.  

Off-white whites


Diligently sort your laundry by color: Whites must be washed in their own load. Any other way and you'll wind up with dingy grey whites. Additionally, if your towels and sheets are white, wash them separate from your everyday wear. Towels are more likely to give off lint, which could stick to items made of corduroy, permanent press clothing, and velvet. Plus, it just feels better to have an entire load devoted to linens. Try one of these handy tricks to eliminate underarm sweat marksthe bane of a white shirt's existence. And avoid making these surprising laundry mistakes.

Hair-tie bracelets


Remove hair accessories from your wrists before you leave the house. Stash a few in your purse in case you need hair help on the go.

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Chipped nail polish

istock/Bonnie Ingersoll

No nail polish is better than some nail polish. As soon as your manicure starts to chip, either fill it in, file it down, or remove the polish completely. For low-maintenance nails, try a coat of clear polish. This is what your nail color reveals about your personality.

Pants that drag


This one can be tricky, especially when you don't have the time or budget to hem and re-hem pants based on every heel height in your closet (and quite honestly, who does?). Decide which shoes you'll wear with a certain pair of pants most often, and bring them with you to the tailor. If you're worried you might go too short, ask your tailor to leave a bit of room on the hem. That way, you can always drop it later. Ask about these surprising alternations tailors can make.

Discolored clothing


Faded black pants are a common culprit. Wash them inside-out on a short and cold wash cycle. “The colder the temperature, the better, since warm water tends to break down fibers and fade clothes faster,” Steve Boorstein, author of The Clothing Doctor’s 99 Secrets to Cleaning and Clothing Care, told Real Simple. Other discoloration issues include runny patterns on silk, tinted lights that got put in with a bright load of laundry, and run-of-the-mill stains. Before heading out for a big event, do a careful once over to check for anything funky.

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Too many bags


Don't pack for work like you're leaving on a two-week trip. Find a structured bag that's big enough to fit your essentials, whatever those may be. If you tote your laptop back and forth to work, look for a bag that can accommodate it. If you like to carry a large makeup bag inside your purse, make sure it fits. The goal is to make your outfit look deliberate. Carrying a plastic bag with you everywhere shows that you tried to fit everything into your purse, but fell a bit short. Steal these style secrets from women who always look put together.

Pulling and prodding at your outfit


If you know you'll spend an entire day hoisting a strapless dress up or repeatedly tucking in your shirt, look into another option and figure out why the original piece didn't work. Can you take it to a tailor to remedy the problem? Do that. Is it in a state of disrepair? Toss it.

Noticeable lint


Take your lint brush outside: in addition to making this touch up the last thing you do before heading out (and therefore preventing new lint from accumulating), the natural light will give you a better picture of your outfit's lint situation.

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Poorly fitted shoes


When you fall in love with a pair of shoes at the store, it's tempting to buy them even if they're not your exact size. Unfortunately, a too big or too small pair of shoes will wear out faster than ones that fit well. The result? A disheveled look. Here's how to keep shoes looking great.

A pilling shirt or sweater


Nothing feels better than a well-worn sweater. But when fuzzy pills take over, it's time to take action. Use a disposable razor to remove pills from fabric. Simply stroke pills with the blade and watch them disappear. Here's how to extend a sweater's shelf life.

Frayed cuffs and hems


While this could be the result of a poorly tailored item, it's likely the result of routine wear and tear. For a quick fix, tame tiny flyaways with a brush of clear nail polish. Try these uses for nail polish that have nothing to do with manicures.

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