Retail Therapy: The Best Splurges That Came Out Of My Breakups

Illustration by Anna Sudit.
There's nothing like heartbreak to reveal sides of ourselves we're not always keen to discover. But, thanks to a bevy of dating apps, economy tubs of ice cream, and a few best friends, it's just as easy to get back into the game as it is to get knocked out of it. My go-to cheer-up move has always been to replace something old with something new — and I'm not talking about dates.

I'm a firm practitioner of retail therapy. When I broke onto the dating scene in the fifth grade, kids were pretty much just as vicious as they are today, but rejection was not as hard to cope with and the Do you like me? Check yes or no paper airplanes were pretty easy to get rid of. Heartbreak then meant a night at the roller rink on my parents' dime. But, then as now, when it comes to my relationships (and my shopping habits), if it isn't love at first sight, it's probably not my style.

From the guy who resented my spending habit to the one whose own wardrobe consisted of stolen garments from boyfriends past, it sometimes feels like I've been through it all. And, as for the guy who stops talking to you after the second date, it's easy to pretend he just woke up one day and died or something. But, I like to turn negatives into positives and commemorate endings with designer duds. When I look back on relationships gone wrong, I see frustration and betrayal and sadness, for sure, but I also see that moto jacket that makes me feel like a star every time I put it on.

Read ahead as I recount every purchase that my closet — and my heart — will never forget.
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Illustration by Anna Sudit.
The Modelizer Recovery Trench
Shortly after moving to New York, I somehow found myself hanging on the arm of a dirty-blonde, six-foot-something politico playboy, going to events, three-day weekending at other people's houses in the Hamptons, and watching him drool over my shoulder at every model that passed by.

It didn't take him long to realize staying with me meant missing out on the next best thing. Fast-forward to one, two, and three breakups later, and it was the end of our run (and the end of the season), so I paid a visit to rag & bone on my way out.

A beautiful, leather-sleeved trench coat had gone further on sale, and I just had to have it.
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Illustration by Anna Sudit.
The Patch-Me-Up Pants
These pants were another great sale find. It was the middle of July, and I'd just rekindled a romance that sparked early and burned fast. Despite all the hiccups, that was the best summer I've ever had.

He was the type of guy who'd say "we" got invited to a party, but then tell the doorman I was his "plus one." I can't remember a time he ever showed up on time to anything we ever did together, honestly, but the final straw was my birthday.

After a week of soul-searching, I gifted myself these 3.1 Phillip Lim patchwork-denim pants and considered my ego repaired. And, now, when I think back on it, I was much happier seeing these pants stroll down the runway for the first time than I was watching him stumble in 45 minutes late.
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Illustration by Anna Sudit.
The That-Stung Wallet
I fell for an even lesser-than-commitment-phobe when I studied abroad in Paris. During those nine months of constant push and pull, my misfortune led me in and out of every boutique Paris had to offer just about every time something went wrong.

I never bought much because of my student budget, but even a walk-through of my favorite designer's section was all it took to get my mind off of this guy's waning capacity to fall in love.

And, since it was Paris, after all, my trip wouldn't have been complete without me getting my wallet stolen at least once, so I bought this Alexander Wang stingray trifold after the city knocked me to my feet one last time. That was the best boyfriend I never had.
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Illustration by Anna Sudit.
The (Di)stress-Reliever Tee
He decided to get back together with his ex after our relationship ended, which, at this point, has ceased to surprise me. My best friend was in town when I got the news and helped me pick out this Iro Paris distressed T-shirt. Since then, it's seen the most wear out of all the things in my wardrobe.

I'm thankful my BFF was there to witness the text-message breakup, because otherwise, I would have spent much more than I needed to, but how else would I have this Kendall Jenner favorite if he hadn't left me so unceremoniously?
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Illustration by Anna Sudit.
The No, It's Actually You Jacket
An essential part of every bad breakup is regaining your sense of self. And, it's no secret that the more apparent our weaknesses are, the more susceptible to manipulation we become.

The guy behind this BLK DNM biker jacket, which was the most splurge-worthy of them all, was an avid player of the blame game. When he cheated, it was somehow my fault. When he forgot our anniversary, I somehow made it "too big a deal."

This jacket is the essence of me. It signifies my reclamation of who I was before our relationship. I was awesome. And, every time I put it on, I feel it.
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Illustration by Anna Sudit.
The All I Got Was This Necklace
Perhaps the most significant out of the lineup, this yellow-gold Helen Ficalora necklace has taken on several meanings.

At first, it signified my only connection to Karlie Kloss, my favorite supermodel of the decade, because she owns the K version. Then, after my now ex-boyfriend gifted me what he dubbed the "masculine" version, I returned it and used his credit card to pay for the "feminine" upgrade.

Lastly, after he cut me out of his life via email two weeks after he promised me he never would, it now feels like something I bought for myself. I've since added an evil-eye charm to it in the hopes it will guide me down the streets of New York that are ex-boyfriend-free (which is better than any diamond, if you ask me).
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