At Sunday night’s SAG Awards, Jennifer Lawrence proved an example to us all. Not only did everyone think her dress ripped to her thighs as she went up to collect her award (and we’re still not sure if it was the design or not, thanks to Marion Cotillard’s shocked expression) but Jennifer barely acknowledged it. Behold the rules of torn shirts, shredded ties (don’t lean over the shredder guys) and accidentally wearing your other half’s T shirt that reads “TOWN DRUNK” (this happened to me). 

We can all learn from the poise of the Silver Lining’s Playbook star – she didn’t do what most of us would, i.e. get to the podium (or, say, stand up to present in a big scary meeting) and go “OH GOD I HOPE NOBODY NOTICED MY SKIRT AHAHA IT GOT CAUGHT IN A LIFT HAHAHAHAH.” Or not be able to concentrate on anything else, subsequently drawing attention to the offending rip/tear/inappropriate slogan by holding your hand/ringbinder/potplant awkwardly over it. 

Rule number one: Go into solve mode, rather than panic mode

It’s your first day of work experience, you catch sight of yourself in the elevator mirror and your top reads “dip me in honey and feed me to the lesbians”. Do not panic. Wearing a scarf? Cover the slogan. Wearing a jacket? Button it over the slogan. Can’t? Turn the T-shirt back to front. 

Considering it’s an important day, things will go wrong and your cufflink will get trapped in a train door and rip half the cuff off. It just will. Just roll up those sleeves and continue with a smile on your face – getting stressed solves nothing, unless aforementioned cufflink has blinded a passenger. In which case, run away. You can’t be late for your first day, regardless of the carnage left in your wake. 

Rule number two: Be prepared 

Yeah, safety pins are the last thing you think about generally, let alone in times of stress. That’s why you should go buy some right this moment and put them in your wallet because when your hem comes down or a pocket falls off, you’ll thank us. Other good preparatory items to have to hand include: full sewing machines, balls of wool (for knitting scarves to hide rips and tears in shirts), a shirt-making factory complete with three fairly paid employees. Or just buy some safety pins. Keeping a black cardigan/spare shirt in your office drawer can’t hurt either. And sticking a Vanish stick in there is also a good idea – especially if you have a habit of munching burritos at your desk. 

Rule number three: Be resourceful 

Use the environment around you. Sellotape is a good quick fix for most things, as it buys you time before you can slip away to the nearest shop and sort yourself out. 

Rule number four: Ignore Marion Cotillard’s side-eye and Style It Out

You’ve been confidently strutting around with a sellotaped suit for the last half hour before you can legimately make an exit when someone notices. Not only do they notice, they do a face in front of the camera that ensures (whether accidentally or otherwise) everyone else notices too. Refer to Jennifer Lawrence once more and refuse to let it bother you; laughing loads will draw further attention to the problem, not saying anything will make you appear embarrassed. See this as the perfect opportunity to rectify the problem and say, “Yes, I had to sort my hem out with a stapler before I can nip to the shops. I might run there now, if that’s OK?” They’re not going to say no are they? 

Rule number five: Don’t take unnecessary risks

OK so it’s fairly obvious advice really, but I once tried to suck my tea up through a flake during one work experience placement at quite a well known magazine, it went wrong and everyone saw. I walked around with chocolate on my jumper all day while the office secretly sent emails about me to each other (probably). 

To summarise, don’t worry. We’ve all been there and if your co-workers aren’t sympathetic to the fact your tights have ripped right up to your knickers, then they’re not worth working alongside anyway..