Divorce Makeover Ritual

The New York Times has an article in their Fashion and Style Section, After Weiner’s Sentencing, Abedin Opts for ‘Divorce Jeans’ — that proposes women go through a fairly regular ritual after starting through a divorce:

  • changing their wardrobe to brighter, livelier, celebratory company — pink, florals, ‘out of control’ fashion
  • let hair go natural rather than straightened — again, during an unhappy marriage, you might exert more control over your appearance. But once you have decided to get divorced, a woman might try to get in touch with what she ‘authentically’ is”

Ms. Wright wore her hair bone-straight in her marriage; after the breakup she let her hair go natural. In her marriage she wore pearls and silver; after the breakup she wore rose-gold bangles stacked up her arm and oversize hoop earrings.

“I didn’t make the conscious decision to say, ‘I’m not wearing these clothes anymore,’” she said. “It was about me getting in touch with the core of who I was.”

Why focus on appearance-changing rituals? During this huge transition in your life, there could be a few undercurrents of motives and hopes.

  1. Mark the entry into a new era of yourself, and a new version of who you are — by literally changing how you look to others
  2. To take the attention off your interior emotions and thoughts, and focus your own attention (and others’) on your exterior
  3. To abandon some of the control and rules that you established for yourself during your previous era, oftentimes when you were unhappy and out of control
  4. To define the emotions and character traits that you aspire to be living, and may feel that you aren’t quite there yet. But you use your ritual makeover to help make it real, even if you don’t feel it yet.

Celebrities might do this more obviously than people out of the public eye — bolder hair-dye jobs, dramatic changes in what kinds of outfits they wear.

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