Breakup Style: Dressing Through the Stages of Grief

Well, here we go again with another long-awaited post. 3 months is a rather long pause for me between notes, but it's been a spectacularly challenging 3 months, y'all! Those of you who have worked with me this fall know that my 6-year relationship has ended, and it's been difficult balancing my responsibilities as a business owner with the need to process my grief, and get used to a whole new routine (#singledogmomlyfe). To those of you who have spent time with me in the past few months: THANK YOU for allowing me to be real with you, for giving me some much-needed purpose, and for celebrating this next chapter with me. I think it's going to be pretty exciting, honestly.

I try not to get too personal in these letters, but having had time to reflect, I've observed some interesting connections between style and grief. As a recovering hospice social worker, I have some insight into the 5-7 stages of grief, and know I'm working my way through each of them still (sometimes multiple stages in one day!). But what's become super clear to me is how my style proclivities have shifted with the different shifts in my emotions. Maybe you're suffering a loss right now, or are in that scary stage of pondering a big change, either way, I think our style can actually help us move through these stages mindfully and can give us a little sense of control when the power supply runs low.


The first few days of following loss can be the worst. This is when you're typically experiencing a lot of shock & disbelief but it's mixed in with some good ole deep sadness and depression. YUCK. You know that feeling when you wake up and think "ok hey, I'm awake!" and then remember everything all of a sudden and it's like the pain is brand new again?

Well, the only thing I wanted to do during this phase was swaddle myself in clothing that felt like hugs. I came across Stacy London's Instagram post wherein she's zipped herself up to her chin in a snuggie while she mourns the loss of her father, and it really resonated this point. When we are deep in the work of grief, we must find comfort any way we can, and for me, that comfort took the form of super soft sweatshirts. Replacing human contact is impossible, but wearing the most tactilely pleasing clothing you can find really does help. I recommend putting in juuust enough effort into the rest of the outfit to prevent multiple people from asking you if you're ok, though, so you don't have to explain your situation to everyone you see, running the risk of crying in public (but it's not the worst thing if that happens either).


One of the stages of grief which people often don't always recognize is the "bargaining" stage, where you're basically willing to do anything to prevent yourself from accepting this new reality. Bargaining can also be a strategy for trying to deal with the dramatic feelings of anger that can come up following a loss. It's sometimes easier (for women, especially) to think "If I had just done this thing differently 3 years ago, I wouldn't be in this stupid situation now," or to use magical thinking to somehow turn around what's happened.

I found myself searching for and relying on "magical" pieces of clothing when I was in this phase; magical pieces that could somehow help me express my anger in a positive, badass way, and help me to embody the stronger future self I was becoming. For me, this took the form of some pointy toed ankle boots and my leather jacket. If I looked the part of the confident, powerful, single female boss lady, perhaps my feelings would align and I would BE that woman.

Acceptance & Hope

Riding the waves of grief as they come has been my way of processing my loss, and letting the anger, depression, and lonliness wash over me has been excrutiating at times. As I've floated (or more like kerplunked) through these past few months, I've been intentional in allowing myself the space to explore my new identity as the waves become less intense.

Accepting my new role as a single lady has allowed me to imagine a new kind of sexy for myself, and I've been surprised at the style moves I've made as I let those hopeful feelings creep back in. I've been drawn to create a sleek outfit formula comprised of a fitted top, waist-defining bottoms, and an oversized jacket, but I find myself attracted to details I've ignored in the past, like animal print, bolder color, and tops that don't always completely hide my boobs. Just the fact of my trying to find my version of sexy again gives me hope, honestly!

I hope that this hasn't been a super depressing letter, and that if you've stayed with me this far, perhaps this topic resonates. Feel free to drop me a line if you feel compelled to share your experience of style and loss--what has been helpful or less helpful when it comes to dressing during the worst of times? Shoot me a note HERE

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There's still room to Celebrate!

While all of this unrest has been taking place in my personal life, my professional life hasn't been too shabby, and I don't want to forget to celebrate a little bit!

LKPS was featured in Austin Monthly AND Tribeza in September which was a huge milestone for me, so thank you to those involved :)

I also took my business to Seattle, worked with 4 incredible new clients out there, and gave a talk at Amazon HQ! I'm already planning return trips in January & March, so hit me up if you're in the area.

Don't forget: I have gift cards locked and loaded for the holiday season, and return clients can look for a special bundle sale come January, so stay tuned!

And as always, you can sign up for a Free Style Strategy call with me HERE, sign on as a new client HERE, or book a Return Client Session HERE.