Your At-Home Tailor: The Bobby Pin

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I have yet to come upon a bobby that I don’t like.

There was first Bobby Fischer, who got me into chess, and then there was Bobby Moynihan, who got me into drunk uncles on Weekend Update. There is also Bobbi Brown, who taught me about the merits of facial brushes and there is my brother-in-law, Bobby, who is a decent human being.

Most pertinently, though, there are bobby pins, which have proven themselves an incredibly useful styling hack for the kind of woman who can’t sew, is too impatient (and hypocritically cheap) to wait on a tailor and believes enough in herself to set a change in motion — enter the below.

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What you see in addition to a white poplin blouse layered over a black cotton turtleneck, paired with pants that both canonize and destroy the female fupa is an issue of length — one I wouldn’t go so far as to permanently adjust but that requires the aid of something in order to execute a crop. Enter the bobby pin. The mere placement of one on either side of the dedicated area I’d have liked to tuck into my pants but couldn’t because they were so damn tight, achieves the edit.

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Amelia did this cool thing last week where she stole her male roommate’s pants (in order to maintain ownership, I suggested she tell him she got her period in them which I think worked famously but she will either confirm or disprove) and came to work looking like a shrunken car salesman who rides horses. It only got worse when she attempted to roll them up, rolled too high and therefore looked more like an outgrown car salesman who has just landed a role as an extra in Downton Abbey. Until, that is, I bobby pinned her. At this point, she looked like the satisfied Goldilocks equivalent of said car salesman.

This trick works effectively anywhere.

Say you’re layering a feather peplum under a button down a la Esther: crop the button down with bobby pins.

Sleeves too long? Flare leg too wide? Hair in your face? Bobby pin. It’s like the New York equivalent of Portlandia’s bird, only Fred Armisen has nothing at all to do with it.

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  • Both bobby and safety pins have “saved” me a thousand times over. They are the little metal tools/fairies social order is made of.

    • Caro

      Yes, same! I’ve pinned so many belts that had floppy ends. It’s also nice when you’re in desperate need of a bobby pin for your hair and all of a sudden find one.

  • And who could forget JLo saving that bridesmaid from flat-chested/gaping bodice ignominy in the opening scene of the Wedding Planner by bobby-pinning her a sweetheart ruche!
    Gotta say I was pretty mind-boggled when I discovered that (at least in hair) bobby pins are meant to be used crinkle-side down. Woah.

  • I am going to have to try this. I could use some quick fixes and yes, I would say the period in the pants thing might work =)

  • Kimm

    Diese Apotheke ist echt günstig! Kein Risiko mehr in den Internet-EInkäufen – die Medikamente von sind qualitativ und effektiv!

  • This is a step up from turning all my tank tops into razor backs…but definitely going to try this out since I look like the dad in ‘All in the Family’ when i roll my jeans -_-

    • “All in the Family” was such a good show.

  • andrea raymer

    I can’t say I’ve ever done this, because I am one of those people that knows how to sew. Shocking, I know, but we do still exist. Though I will still do a strategically placed safety pin to temporarily crop a top.

  • TRUE LIFE THE ONLY THING I’VE EVER GOTTEN TAILORED IN MY LIFE IS A BRIDESMAIDS DRESS CAUSE I’M LAZY AND CHEAP AF. I love bobby pins because they help me pick locks when I want to pretend I am a spy kid or thief.

    • Kandeel

      TRU AF, i live off safety pins and bobby pins…I know how to sew but i havent done it in years bc whats the uSE

  • parkzark

    I used to take the rubber part off of bobby pins and use them as dirt under the nail cleaners when I was little. One jab too deep taught me to never do that again. I shall have to try them for my pants now.

  • As a survivor of the ballet competition circuit, I can attest that bobby pins have saved many a life. They can help create makeshift arm gloves from stockings because I may have left my real gloves at home.

  • double-sided tape, (duct tape for less-temporary, yet not permanent tailoring needs), safety pins, etc., all do the trick. or, if you’re in a jam, a pair of scissors will turn a crew in a boat neck, and a t-shirt into a frock. my dyeda, the lifelong tailor, would not have been amused. //

  • Love this post, i have to try this too!

  • Caro

    OMG, I just remembered that I also tailor with earrings sometimes. It’s sweet because it’s like a brooch but it’s also holding your shirt that you’re wearing as a skirt together.

    • Leandra Medine

      that’s a great one

  • Anna

    This post is enormously useful for people who try to look neat and nice all the time. It’s a way to make our life easier. Thank you for this. =) I would love it if you check my photo aggregation project at and evaluate it. Cheers!

  • Aapa

    Bobby pins are also great to ensure neat pleats without a flatiron. Just put bobby pins on the pleats you want to maintain in place while your clothes dry and voilà!

  • You first realize how much you need Bobby pins when you stand outside with your hair all messed up by the wind, and you hair is stuck to your lipgloss like it’s life or death..

  • Aditi Mayer

    Genius indeed. To the brother’s closet I shall now go.

  • We’ve been using this trick on our school uniform for years!

  • fashionokplease

    Wow! Now that’s something i need to grasp in for my life! .

  • I use to do this all the time in high school. People thought I was crazy but you know what, it worked and saved me from mucking up the bottoms of my pants with my non-sewing abilities. Cross-stitch? More like Crap-stitch. Rock on bobby-pin tailoring!

  • Keri Blair

    Great ideas. I would have never thought of this. Thanks.