Whether you have mentally planned an intentional run-in for weeks, or just happen to attend the same concert, seeing an ex can you make your heart race. It’s dramatic enough to make even the strongest person question the relationship and their sanity, and that's even before you figure out what you'll be wearing for the fated occasion (if you've planned it). What to wear to see an ex in the wild isn't an unsolvable mystery, though, and I've got answers to help get you through it.
First: Wear literally whatever the hell you want. Seriously. I'm not even going to put this little zinger at the end, like some big, juicy surprise — because screw that noise. It’s 2017, and acting like female empowerment and choice are new and edgy is part of our culture's biggest problem. So sport your power-suit, or the thing that makes you feel the most like yourself — be it cut-off shorts handed down from your best friend, a decidedly extra bodycon dress from the runway of Forever 21, or a pair of jeans and your most beloved top.
It is a profoundly beautiful thing to see a woman comfortable in her human skin, whether she's eating tacos and laughing with her best friend, or tucking her hair behind her ears as she unlocks her car door. But if you’re looking for some ideas, I live for this. Fashion Under Duress is practically my middle name, and currently up for grabs as one of the best shoegaze band names on the market.
Here, some well-intentioned-but-largely-abstract inspiration, depending on who the ex is/was to you.
Try Tina Fey-esque glasses like these from Warby Parker, because at least you can un-focus your eyes from their face when you're overcome with annoyance. When you make a joke, it's like WOW. JUST LAUGH! It’s not even something you have to learn, like changing a tire! It happens all the time, and at inopportune moments. My blood pressure is sky-rocketing just typing this.
Still can't figure out if this ex is SO intentional with their words that it's meta, or if I'm just the rudest person alive for twitching every time they nod their head and say "that's funny" instead of LOLing, but it's probably the latter.
You can pair the fake glasses with a turtleneck so when they do that other thing, that "wow, you’re so smart," you’re prepared. Also, pepper spray, because they might be a murderer.
Stomp around in sharp heels to pierce their heart, like these Just Fab Delphyne Booties. For people who operate like Voldemort, with secrecy and the devastatingly bland winky-face emoji, I recommend a bright color palette to counteract their unimpressive soul. Although I’m pretty sure they only see the world in black-and-white and sepia tone, so if you go with a bleeding-heart red, they might not even see you. Millennial camouflage.
(PS: Do not give them ANY IDENTIFYING DETAILS because they will find you and text you. They'll invite you to some dark-lit warehouse party and tell you they miss you. It’s all a trap, and they want to turn you into a horcrux.)
Wear an athleisure outfit from Demi Lovato x Fabletics so you can run away quickly before they spot you. The stakes are high. If they see you, you’re guaranteed a 10-minute cringe-convo where you both nod enthusiastically over nothing and repeat "that’s GREAT" over and over on a loop until one of you dies.
However, if you're decked out in the Maren Cropped Hoodie and Meritt Short, you can dash away AND snag a sporty babe AND always be ready for your Intro to Kickboxing class.
If you dated this person when you were still in a grade, you should probably hit 'em with a walk down memory lane. Try 17 layered Hollister tank tops and a pair of striped shorts that are two sizes too big and held up via sheer force of will. #Fashion. Up the ante by drowning yourself in whatever cloying body splash you poured on and try not to puke when you inhale it for the next 72 hours.
You can also harken the days of homeroom flirting with a classic pair of Abercrombie Low Rise Slim Boyfriend Jeans. It’ll make 'em remember old times, like when you accidentally slammed your face into the car door when y'all tried to make out sophomore year.
Adolescent T-Shirt, $26, ASOS
A sassy tee that questions their mental health for dumping you while still managing to appear nonchalant because honestly, it could be directed towards anyone. This Adolescent Clothing T-Shirt, in a color called "warm yellow," is cheery enough to neutralize the passive-aggressive query. You will feel fearless and unscathed, and those are exactly the emotions you want to convey to this heartless criminal.
But regardless of what you wear to see your ex, even if the stars align and you Look Perfect — you must confront the possibility that you won’t receive the moment of absolution you’re looking for. No outfit or painstakingly applied smokey-eye can change the past, although a steel-toed boot to the groin could definitely change your (and their) future.
We are all just doing the best we can, even our sh*tty exes who sometimes model the emotional maturity of a toddler. But that’s actually pretty freeing. We’re all here, loving and hating, and misunderstanding each other in a vortex of just trying to be understood.
You'll just happen to look exceptionally fabulous when you do it — and that's exactly what you are.