There's a small, simple item that can smooth a collar, keep your shirt from gaping and catch a falling hem. Can you guess what it is?

No, no, it's not a safety pin. Guess again.

OK, here's a clue: It's what Hollywood stylists use to keep starlets from suffering wardrobe malfunctions.

Yup, it's fashion tape. And we mere mortals can use this versatile, double-sided, fabric-friendly tape, too.

You can find fashion tape at drugstores, boutiques, chain stores and online. While you may be tempted to cheap out and try plain old double-sided tape, don't. True fashion tape is designed to hold stronger for longer without leaving residue or marks. So pony up for the real deal. And when you save yourself -- or someone else -- from a flopping belt or sagging wrap, you just might end up feeling like a fashion superhero.

Rein in a belt

There are plenty of ways to deal with a belt that's too long. In fact, tucking a loose, floppy belt-end under the belt itself is very trendy. (There are even online tutorials on how to knot a belt.) But those techniques won't work for every belt or outfit. You can use fashion tape to tack down the loose end of a belt. The tape most likely won't harm most leather, plastic or cloth, but with an expensive belt you'd be wise to test the tape in an inconspicuous spot.

Corral a collar

If you machine-wash your oxford shirts, you've likely seen your fair share of collars that even a hot iron can't tame. Likewise, if you've got a necklace that you'd like to keep visible beneath your silk blouse or a stiff collar that's crowding your face, fashion tape can help. Just apply small pieces of tape to the undersides of the collar points. Determine how much of a Y-shaped neckline you want to create, then tape the collar to the shirt.

Don't pop your top

Button-front shirts were originally designed for men. That's why so many of these shirts fight the female form. Women with large breasts often struggle to prevent button-front shirts from gaping, but even a small bust can create a gap. Fashion tape to the rescue.

First, put your shirt on, button it and look to see which segments of the shirt placket are pulling apart. Place fashion tape where the placket is gaping and seal shut. The tape should hold up against moderate pulling for a full workday. (If the gaps are too large, you may have to go for a permanent solution, such as sewing snaps between the buttons.)

Give it lapels

Say you've managed to nab a cardigan in your favorite shade of orange, but it features a crew neckline and you prefer a V-neck. It's easy to fold the top flaps backward to create the look of lapels. Tack small triangles of sweater to the body of the cardigan using fashion tape.

Secure a wrap

Wrap-style tops and dresses can sag sadly, especially on a small-busted frame. Unless the material is extremely thick and the sag too pronounced, a bit of tape can be a quick fix.

Gather the fabric where the wrap swoops and pull it taut before applying the tape. Taping fabric to fabric works best, but sometimes it's easier to tape fabric to your breastbone. (It's not really uncomfortable, just a bit odd at first. After a few minutes you'll forget the tape is even there.)

Go for modesty

Many plunging necklines have a bit of slack fabric that can be tightened to decrease the plunge. Fashion tape is more effective at making a more modest neckline than safety pins, because it holds more fabric and holds it flat.

Quick fix a hem

If the hem of your skirt or dress begins to unravel unexpectedly, fashion tape makes a fix that holds better -- and looks better -- than safety pins. You can make it through the day with confidence and get out your needle and thread once you get home.

Sally McGraw is the Minneapolis-based author of Already Pretty (, a daily blog about the intersection of style and body image.