The healing power of fashion and how personal style can elevate your mood after a break-up by Mary Cate Smith.

I’ve kept shtum on my blog for the past few months as I’ve been falling ferociously in love and simultaneously watching it all fall apart. At no point in the last three weeks have my eyes been dry and snot has become one with my face now.  Most of the time in this period, I dressed like a male member of The Royal Tenenbaums (replete with curly mop and constant mope) or one of the Italian mob (Pussy Hands could cut it) in It’s Always Sunny – full Adidas tracksuit (my Christmas pressie) and Nike Air Max. My exterior shell (hard, wind-resistant and culturally unacceptable for a woman of my ilk) betrayed my inner thoughts (soft, sensitive to unnecessary journeys or treacherous roads and culturally avant-garde enough to enjoy The Square). Perhaps I craved the thug lyfe strength a full blown athleisure look would afford; a sartorial knife in my pocket so to say. In the first week, I had to leave the house for an appointment. I wore my worst looking jeans and some Ugg boots. It didn’t do anything for my mood. Fast forward three weeks and I decided to go to the adult kid’s size keyboard player, David O’Doherty. I knew I had to go to the ball and I would be refused attendance in a head-to-track tracksuit. All of sudden, something magical happened. Ripped AF topless goblins (like little green Chris Hemsworths) jumped out of my tea and started getting me ready. Man, those goblins could sew. No rhyme or ditty was complete without at least a verse dedicated to me (no psychedelic drugs were involved in the making of new Mary) and how those ill-fitting jeans did nothing for my great figure. Ok, the goblins might be a storytelling device but the feeling my sartorial transmogrification gave me was not! I was not cured (for God’s sake, man, don’t be daft) but I was hot. And sure, sometimes, that’s enough. Read on for my guide on what/not to wear when you’re insides are as toxic as your dog’s farts (sorry Finn).



You are not a goose. Neither silly, one in a harem of wives (fun goose fact) nor about to eaten. You are a strong, empowered woman who can (barely) dress herself. However, forget Charlie’s denim chicken dreams – that bird was not comfortable. When you’re heartbroken or anxious, chances are your tummy is in turmoil. Forget the leather leggings and the spray painted skinnies, go flowy and and conquer. Apply this mantra: What would Florence wear? Maxi dresses are floaty and flirty and oh so comfy. H&M, Topshop, &Other Stories and ASOS all have great long sleeve versions.


You can’t beat a sexy black spaghetti strap top with some leather jeans or a slinky black dress (Oooh-er, think I need to be alone for a while) on a night out but during the day? At work? Honestly, donning that inky cloak only prolongs the misery IMO so forget the black and go bold or go home. Florals, stripes, a jumper with Frida Kahlo’s face on it, wear something bright and life-affirming. Something that makes you smile, even out of silliness. Wear a dress with a cape, a jumper with wings, trousers with a tail. Be your best, bright, beautiful self in a pair of bumsters. The one you were before him and the one you will be again. But this time, in bumsters.


Why do we automatically go for the bear/lamb/rabbit onesie or the Ugg boots and fleecey top when we’re going through a breakup? Because now, we’re our own snuggly bear. This season, we’re in major luck because teddy tops and jackets are everywhere (even a man I dated last winter wore a faux fur fleecy top with pink pants to our date). Think soft, sustainable fabrics like cashmere and wool, or organic cotton. Envelop yourself in a cosy, statement knit and when you pass the mirror, give yourself a little wink. You got this. Put down the fleece onesie.


Images by Hayley K.Stuart.

Dress, SS18 Topshop, bag, Topshop, boots, Penneys.

Similar dress, boots and bag.


Click on the image to shop the item. Note: these items are affiliate links which means if you click the image, a small amount of money (1-30c) is banked into an account for me which can only be cashed if I have accumulated up to €100s worth).



Floral maxi from Anthropologie
Jungle print maxi dress from ASOS


Arket floral dress
Rixo floral maxi dress


Topshop Borg zip-up
Lovers + Friends Marianna sweater
M&S cashmere knit
Turtleneck from & Other Stories

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