That Was My Veil: Sartorial and Cosmetic Constructions of Resilience in Divorced Women

A research exploration of fashion and resilience by MA Fashion Studies graduate Kim Jenkins

Rules for Resilience: “Stacy London Tells Us What to Wear After a Breakup”

Once again, has published an article on how women should dress themselves in the wake of a breakup. Pop stylist Stacy London was enlisted to offer a set of rules for how women can fashion, in my own words, a sense of resilience. I found it interesting that, much like my previous post on Marina Abramović, a need to feel “female” or like a “lady” was emphasized:

I want to craft a style that will allow me to look like a lady who is handling my breakup with grace and dignity.

The set of rules also falls in line with my hypothesis that there is some sort of circulation of pluralized recipes for successfully surviving a divorce or a breakup- a sense of crowdsourced resilience made accessible to women in hopes of attaining  what the article’s author desires: “a beautiful calm”. I refer to Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth in my thesis, noting the onus placed upon women to perform in a manner which falls in line with patriarchal ideals, and the role of the “women’s interest” magazine (as well as blogs and websites the likes of as a guiding hand in how women incorporate fashion into their complicated lives.

Two key sartorial and cosmetic cues I immediately noticed (which I include in my thesis) is the purchase and application of bright/red lipstick (item #2) and the wearing of leather (item #6)- a material that exemplifies strength, as Stacy London states, “You want to wear clothes that evoke confidence…I love leather for that.” “It makes me feel like a badass”.


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