This article originally appeared on VICE Serbia.
Unless you're one conversation away from dumping someone right now, it's often easy to overlook how painful ending a relationship can be. Being dumped is heartbreaking, but at least you don't have to spend days, weeks, or months mulling it over in advance—worrying about what to say, how to say it, and how crushed and pitiful the person you once loved will look.
They say you should dress for the job you want—so can you dress for the type of breakup you want? What do you wear to a last date when you want your future ex to truly suffer, or when you want to make the blow as soft as possible? To find out, I asked several people to pose in the clothes they wore when they broke up with their last partner, and explain why they chose that outfit.
"We met through mutual friends, so when the time came to end the relationship, I knew that I had to do it in a compassionate way because we would still have to hang out together with those same people. It was really important for me that we remain on good terms, so to make it as painless as possible, I planned the breakup carefully. I chose this look because it's extremely neutral—I didn't want to send any messages apart from that I was being serious."
Bruna Daria, 20
"I saw dumping him as more of a business meeting. I planned it like that and fixed myself up accordingly. I arranged to meet for coffee, told him what I had to say, then got up and left. He just sat there like a log, not saying a word. One of the reasons I broke up with him was that he was unbearably quiet."
"I hadn't planned on breaking up with her before it actually happened. I was taking a shower, and she got into my phone and found some Instagram DMs where I was sort of flirting with other girls. So she confronted me in front of the bathroom and we got into a fight right away. These clothes aren't really what you would plan to wear for a breakup, but it was just the first thing I saw to put on."
"I was in a relationship with a guy for two years, but even after all that time, I still didn't know where we were at. He acted like a fuckboi a lot, which drove me crazy. One night, about a month ago, I decided to sit him down to get all the answers I was looking for. I didn't specifically plan to break up with him, but I was ready to. I decided to look my best just in case I ended up feeling my worst. We broke up that evening."
"I'd been living with my then-boyfriend for a few years when I felt it was time to end things. I didn't really know how to approach it, but I think I picked this horrible outfit to make it easier for him. It was my way of saying that I'm not that great and he's better off without me. It's my classic stay-at-home outfit—a stained t-shirt and torn pajama pants. Normally, I wouldn't even dream of wearing this to the corner store."
"It was a very painful breakup and the one and only time I've worn this dress. It just sits there now in my closet, though it's by my favorite designer. In my mind, this dress is strongly associated with what happened. I wore it because it was brand new and I wanted to look good, but things didn't go well because my ex is an idiot." Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.