Off Brand is a three times a month column dedicated to trends in fashion and beauty.

WEDDING EQUIPMENT Get all the attention – from bespoke suits to bespoke dresses to unconventional but no less strategic statements like jumpsuits, army uniforms and Renaissance Fair costumes.

But the nasty stepsister of the wedding style, the divorce look, is gaining momentum in the zeitgeist. When Mary-Kate Olsen and French banker Olivier Sarkozy finalized their divorce through Zoom last month, screenshots of the trials conducted by court reporters went viral. Ms. Olsen, whose The Row brand is synonymous with calm sophistication, wore a chic black turtleneck that was instantly disassembled and memorized. With her long, wavy hair that was unkempt in some sort of pandemic, she looked unique herself. And was that a hint of a smile?

In a popular screenshot of Mary-Kate Olsen’s divorce proceedings, she wears a black turtleneck.

The enthusiastic online response to the screenshot was reminiscent of the glory days of divorce in Hollywood, when plebes watched in awe as stars like Elizabeth Taylor (eight marriages) and Zsa Zsa Gabor (nine marriages) made series breakups glamorous. When Marilyn Monroe divorced Joe DiMaggio in 1954 after nine months of marriage, she famously wore a little black dress, high pumps and white gloves to the courthouse. She was filmed beaming and waving in front of the chambers – a scene that would have fit seamlessly into one of her films.

No formula dictates what to bear in a divorce proceeding, whether it be in the form of mediation, litigation, or now a video call. Still, few would deny that how you look plays a role in the outcome, with so much at stake: money, home, custody. Family law practice websites often contain lengthy treatises that advise men and women on what to wear in court, with an emphasis on classic silk blouses, prim dresses, and sober suits. Some law firms go further: Claire Samuels Law, a family law and divorce mediation firm in Charlotte, NC, offers the services of a high-end stylist and posts style ideas like Prada pumps and minimalist Valextra handbags on her Instagram account.


“I think a divorce or separation is, in a way, a reclamation of who you are outside of this relationship, and I think you can see that in clothes. The outfits are very specific. ‘

Janice Meredith, a Toronto personal stylist who has conducted workshops for divorced women, recommends comfortable, confidence-building clothing. “Obviously nothing too tight or noticeable, but also no parts to pull or adjust that can appear weak and unsafe,” she said. For the zoom procedure, she prefers a Mary-Kate turtleneck sweater because of its flattering abilities.

The hands do not end with clothing. An article on the ESME (Empowering Solo Moms Everywhere) website patronizingly reminds women to “visit the ladies room to check your makeup, brush your hair and assess your overall appearance”.

Despite all the advice floating around, many women use their divorce proceedings to communicate more emphatically that they have started a new chapter in their lives. Bay Area writer Aubrey Hirsch recently sent out a call for women to share their divorce dresses in a cheeky response to the widespread Twitter trend of sharing photos of wedding dresses. Women interfered eagerly: a tight red power dress; Running shoes; a white lace wedding dress; a strapless jumpsuit; a shimmering tank top; A suit and a kawatte; a feathered mini dress; pink corduroy jeans; a glowing kitten headband; a lot of red; lots of high heels.

Ms. Hirsch said to me: “I’ve seen a lot of people in bright colors that make them feel sexy and feel good. I think a divorce or breakup is in some ways a reclamation of who you are outside of this relationship and I think you can see that in the clothes. The outfits are very specific. “

When Chicago life coach Carly Grace Herrera, 35, got divorced in a courthouse a few years ago, she deliberately chose a gray dress for the top, a gold jacket, and a wide floral skirt over the dress (“because I’m blooming, honey,” like her To her, the cozy, colorful combination felt both safe and hopeful. “Regardless of the outcome of this marriage, my prosperity is mine and my happiness is mine,” she said.

A 2018 New Yorker Will McPhail cartoon showed a smiling, fit woman standing in front of a mirror surrounded by her friends. It reads, “This is the one, folks. This is the suit I’m going to get a divorce in. “The joke still lands; no one goes out to get a divorce. But with more progressive conversations around the couple (thanks, Gwyneth!), The concept of flaunting a divorce look feels a little more believable. As Ms. Hirsch said: “A divorce, like a wedding, is a big life event and it enters your new life … We talk about one of these things on one and the other and why aren’t they both kind of a celebration? ”

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