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Post-Divorce Style: How to Build a Confidence-Boosting, Date-Friendly Wardrobe

After a divorce, you may feel like your self-esteem and confidence have taken a bit of a hit. It’s normal to feel exhausted and doubt yourself, and these effects aren’t just limited to the mental and emotional side. Many people find that they lose or gain a significant amount of weight during and after their divorce, and this could leave you feeling like you have nothing to wear for a date. The good news is that the post-divorce period is a perfect opportunity to do a style reboot and shop for new clothes that show off who you are now.

If you’re someone who is all about fashion and loves to shop, you have a great head start, but for those who are hard to fit, aren’t sure what style they’re looking for or just plain don’t consider a day at the mall a good time, it’s a different story. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone, but there is help.

Talk to friends and family members whose style you admire and ask them how they pick out clothes, which stores are their favorites or if they know a great tailor. You may find out that your friend who always looks pulled together works off a capsule wardrobe or that the best place to get suits altered is the little mom-and-pop shop downtown. You can also look to celebrities whose styles you’d like to emulate. Look up pictures of their everyday looks to see how they put outfits together. You may not be able to find that exact $2,000 jacket, but you can probably get the basic look down for a fraction of the price.

Another great option if you’re still trying to figure out your post-divorce style is to consider partnering with a fashion consulting company that sends you clothes based on your style, budget and occasion requirements. You try them all on, keep and buy what you like, send back what you don’t and after a few passes: instant wardrobe. Popular services like this include StitchFix and Trunk Club, but there are dozens to choose from based on what you’re looking for. Before you decide to go all in, look at reviews from other customers and pictures of example shipments and make sure to find out the average price point (or if a variety is offered) and how hard it is to cancel.

Getting Practical

It’s common knowledge that divorce — and making it off a single income after — can be a pretty big hit to your budget, but this doesn’t mean you should always scrimp when it comes to clothing. While basics like tanks, tees and anything else you’re likely to have several of and wear often are usually safe bets for mass market stores, price does impact clothing quality. It’s a good idea to invest in staple pieces like a well-fitting suit or high-quality jeans. While you may pay more for these items up front, they’re likely to last longer and maintain their shape and color better than cheaper quality items.

Keep in mind that high quality doesn’t have to mean high price if you’re willing to put in some extra effort in the bargain hunting department. Gently used — and sometimes even new — brand name clothes can often be found at discount prices at clothing resale shops, discount outlets or consignment stores.

Be Aware

When you’re shopping for new clothes or taking stock of what you already own, how you feel in something is just as important as how you look. While that trendy top or super skinny jeans may be on point when it comes to style, if you don’t feel comfortable and confident in your clothes, that can spill into your date.

Remember

It’s normal to feel like you’re in a bit of a style slump after divorce, but having clothes that fit great and feel right can increase your confidence for any outing — romantic or otherwise. It may take some time to define (or redefine) your style, but there are lots of people and services out there specifically designed to help you figure out your personal fashion and help you build a wardrobe that is perfectly you.

Take Action

Schedule a date with yourself and go through your closet to take an honest inventory. Get rid of things that don’t fit or that you just don’t like anymore to make room for new pieces. Consider making a list of things you would like to add like a white button-down shirt or little black dress so you have a specific goal in mind when you go shopping.

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