Rebranding, Part II

Pro advice on shaping your look, attitude, and budget.

divorce guide rebranding look

Photo by Joyce Lee. Styling by Anna Lee Wallack/Anchor Artists. Shot on location at Neiman Marcus Copley. Left: Tom Ford suit, shirt, and tie, Emporio Armani watch, and John Varvatos shoes, all Neiman Marcus Copley. Right: Rebecca Taylor dress, Manolo Blahnik shoes, and Alexis Bittar bracelet, all Neiman Marcus Copley.

Into the Closet

“Buy yourself a foolproof date outfit. For a woman, that’s a pair of well-fitting jeans (don’t cheap out), a tank top, a blazer, and a lightweight scarf to give it some style. For men, the look is a casual button-down and a pair of jeans that fit. You can wear denim just about anywhere, so a new pair of dark jeans is all most people need to bring their look into this decade.”—Kerry Epstein, personal shopper,

Burn Books

These page-turners offer just the sort of gentle guidance and kick-in-the-pants anecdotes you’ll need.

It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken, by Greg Behrendtand Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt A frank slap in the face for those moments when sadness and doubt creep back in: Some things can’t, and shouldn’t, be fixed. Ever.

I Remember Nothing, by Nora Ephron The twice-divorced film legend doesn’t pull punches when writing on the topic. “One good thing about divorce is that it makes clear something that marriage obscures, which is that you’re on your own. There’s no power struggle over which of you is going to get up in the middle of the night; you are.”

The Ex-Mrs. Hedgefund, by Jill Kargman The novel’s heroine, a socialite turned scorned woman, discovers the most destructively fun ways to spend her alimony.

Sex, Love, and Money: Revenge and Ruin in the World of High-Stakes Divorce, by Gerald Nissenbaum and John Sedgwick A Boston divorce attorney shares his clients’ war stories.

Eat Pray Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert Worth the read, even for those without the time or cash for a transcontinental voyage to find husband #2.

Housing Initiative

“Here’s the best news: no more need to compromise! If you’re staying in the same home you lived in with your ex, toss anything that you feel zero connection with, and give the walls a new coat of paint. But wait to make major purchases or overhauls until you figure out your style. Except for bedding. Buy new bedding immediately.” —Holly Gagne, interior designer, 

Wallet-Size Advice

“I’ll assume you’ve already canceled all joint cards, closed joint accounts, and changed all passwords. After that, be sure to retitle assets appropriately and redo all estate documents. For example, if you got the house, get it in your name and your name alone. Also make sure your ex is removed as a beneficiary to any assets, like life insurance or your 401(k). Now it’s time to establish a new household budget and long-term financial goals.”—Leigh Bivings, financial adviser, 

Actually, Diamonds Aren’t Forever

The ring, the wedding bands, the anniversary gifts—they’re not doing any good sitting in a drawer. Then again, they’re not worth anything close to the original price you paid for them, says Persona Jewelry owner Margarita Druker, who sees a few divorcees a week. Druker encourages her clients to “commemorate their independence” with a redesign using the gems. One divorcee gave new life to a three-stone emerald anniversary ring by transforming it into a pair of earrings for herself and a pendant for her daughter. But for those of us who want it outta here, melting that sucker down is always an option, and most jewelers will buy it back.

Check out the rest of our divorce primer: Welcome to Splitsville.