The Fashionista is in: The Seven Stages of Break-up Apparel

From solitude in sweats to soirees in silk and every inch of chiffon in between.

by Shannon Ryan

We already know the seven deadly sins, the Seven Wonders of the World and the seven dwarves; it’s time to familiar ourselves with the seven wearable emotions of mourning apparel.

At the risk of sounding trite, breaking up is hard to do. Regardless of which end you find yourself on, the giving or the receiving, you feel trapped in a syndrome of sorrow and sweatpants, reluctant to escape and digging to do so. Let your wardrobe be the shovel.

Each time you get dressed, your outfit functions as a window into the private sphere of your emotional galaxy. When post-breakup emotions are in full orbit, your mind becomes an amalgam of doubt and despondency. It is your wardrobe that has the opportunity to be its visual representative. There is room to play with your emotions in an artistic way.

Clothes allow you to represent the adversity of existence — i.e., getting dumped and feeling miserable — with wearable art. We often represent this vulgarity almost too exact in our two-week wallow wear of the ex’s sweatpants and coveted high school tee — the essence of glum.

Why not tweak this adversity with a sewn-up relationship face lift and impart a refined spin on the humdrum wardrobe routine of the post breakup victim?

Stage 1: Feeling Blue

The color has never assumed such expression until now. Wear it. Douse yourself in whites and blues to create the perfect periwinkle, or bathe in shades of cerulean and sapphire to translate your feelings of sadness into readable attire.

Stage 2: Feeling Confused

The sweatpants of stage two are getting major liposuction and morphing into leggings, a fitting alternative. Try a grisly printed pair to mirror the abstract reality you’re presumably living in. Draping a wooly cardigan around your arched shoulders may help soothe your wooly mind, too.

Stage 3: Feeling Hurt

This stage has a 1:1 ratio of feeling to color, both assuming shades of black to be the answer. Ditch the melancholy mindset of the gray scale and channel a deep crimson as your monochrome of choice. Add a whisper of carmine-soaked cashmere to emulate the softness of the stage.

Stage 4: Feeling Vexed

Take a cue from the current style doyenne, Anna Wintour, and disguise your venomous gaze behind a pair of oversized shades. Opt for a lavishly sized frame steeped in retro splendor to stay on trend and assume the façade of a femme fatale. Apply an ominous shade of scarlet to the lips for that extra dash of caustic intention.

Stage 5: Feeling Generic

You’ve reached a plateau. Nothing is new, and you’re uninspired. So choose old. Do as the vintage aficionados do, and rev up your wardrobe with inspiration from the ’50’s. Channel your inner Grace Kelly, and dig for a bodice-cinching dress to defeat your feelings of boredom.

Stage 6: Feeling Curious

You feel ready to be unleashed back into society during this stage, however, dismiss the literal connections between leashes and collars and oppressive stripes and choker necklaces. Think daring deep “V” necklines and sheer or backless bodycons instead. Add a piece of costume jewelry dipped in a poppy hue for a playful element.

Stage 7: Feeling Anew

You’re back, and you need a statement piece. Splurge. Get those quilted leather metal-capped booties you’ve been coveting. That asymmetrical two-tone shearling coat, too? Go get it, and rock the city streets anew.