We all know that breaking up is hard to do — and once you’re legally tied to your partner through marriage, it becomes even tougher to end the relationship. But we also know that 40% to 50% of all marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. And like it or not, those separations tend to bring about big changes.
For some people, that may mean a new haircut or an improved set of teeth. Although you may not feel much like smiling right now, the fact that one in five orthodontic patients are over the age of 18 may serve as enough motivation for the future. You might also focus more on self-care by adding relaxing baths to your routine or revamping your skincare. Since pharmacy-based creams can lose 50% of their antioxidant capability after six months, you might be well overdue for some new products anyway.
The post-divorce makeover is a pervasive idea. While it might seem insulting to insinuate that you need one, the reality is that something as innocuous as your makeup application or your hair color can have a big impact on how you feel and how you’re perceived. That’s the same reason why many recent divorcees will take this opportunity to overhaul their wardrobe after their separation.
There are many benefits to shedding your former fashion identity post-divorce. You may have gained or lost weight due to the stress of your relationship, so you might no longer feel comfortable in your old clothes. You might also be looking for a fresh start that allows you to put yourself first. In so many relationships, particularly when children are involved, women tend to sacrifice their sense of style because they put themselves last. This selfless act makes it difficult to feel self-assured when you suddenly find yourself on your own. In some cases, you might want a new wardrobe to feel like yourself again; in others, you might want to embrace clothes that make you feel like someone else. Either way, fashion can provide a sense of comfort or of escape, allowing us to express our personalities without ever saying a word. So it’s really not so surprising that you might be eager to switch out the old for the new.
Despite the fact that well-made garments can be an expense, they’re often worth investing in. You may also be able to finance those new additions by clearing out some other items that would otherwise continue gathering dust in your closet. Regardless of your budget or the circumstances of your separation, here are a few tips that can help you say “I do” to a new sense of style.
Get Rid of What Doesn’t Spark Joy
Borrowing a popular concept from Marie Kondo, it’s important to separate what’s in your closet by whether or not it makes you happy. If you’re holding onto a dress from 20 years ago because you hope to wear it again someday or you’ve invested in 15 pairs of leggings out of sheer laziness and desire for comfort, it’s time to reassess your style reasoning. Figure out what you’re keeping out of sentimentality, sadness, or convenience and differentiate that from pieces you actually love and feel great in. Realistically, you can get by with fewer pairs of leggings — and your old dress might be better loved by someone else! You can sell or donate the items that don’t bring a smile to your face and replace them with pieces that you’ll cherish.
Dress For the Life You Want
You’ve probably heard the adage, “dress for the job you want.” That often rings true after divorce, particularly if you’re heading back into the workforce after a long absence or you’re looking to make a career change while you’re at it. But even if your employment status isn’t going to shift at all during this time, it still makes sense to envision your ideal circumstance and dress the part. At a job interview, you might be asked to picture your life 10 years down the road or you might have to “fake it until you make it” in order to get in the room. You can apply those same principles to your style. What kind of life do you want to lead in the future and what kind of person do you want to be? Do you want to go for a promotion at work? Are you looking to get back out into the dating scene? Or do you just want to emulate another stylish woman in pop culture? No matter what your fashion goals are, you need to identify them first and then find pieces that align with those aims. You could stand to be a bit playful here — and remember to have fun with your wardrobe!
Slowly Create a Capsule Closet
While you should have some fun while you reinvent your sense of style, that doesn’t mean you have to go overboard or spend money you don’t have. You can slowly replace pieces you’ve gotten rid of to save money and ease into your new aesthetic identity. A great strategy is to buy pieces that are versatile so you can mix and match them with what you already have. Steer clear of cheap-and-trendy items here; the idea is to invest in classic, high-quality pieces that will work for any number of occasions. A fantastic blazer, a great-fitting pair of jeans, or a beautiful skirt that can be dressed up or dressed down are excellent examples of items you should have in your capsule wardrobe. The beauty of this is that you can build your collection over time and practice mindfulness when you shop. That way, you’ll always feel put-together and won’t worry about impulse purchases that don’t go with what you have at home.
Navigating post-divorce life will never be easy. But having the opportunity to reinvent your sense of style can be one small perk. By following these tips, you’ll be able to feel more confident in what you wear and have fun with fashion after a personal crisis.