Taylor Swift has had a lot of breakups. Like, a lot. As somebody who is also 23 and has had too many breakups and tries her best but usually fails at smizing (seriously, I always just look queasy), I can sympathize with wanting to look good after yet another end to a relationship. As somebody who is not remotely famous, I can’t exactly empathize with all of my post-breakup outfits being construed as “revenge dresses.” Yet the Taylor Swift revenge styles, including last night’s Golden Globes gown and last week’s artfully examined People’s Choice Awards dress, have continuously been the source of speculation for people wondering if she’s wearing a fancy gown to a fancy event where people are expected to wear fancy dresses just to, um, make her ex feel bad, because women always dress for their past lovers.
And she’s not the only one: other women — because you and I both know no guy’s suits are considered vindictive in any way — and their sexy gowns have received attention after the dissolution of their relationships. When Liberty Ross, wife of Rupert Sanders, stepped out for the first time after her husband’s now-infamous affair with Kristen Stewart broke, numerous outlets named it her “revenge outfit.” Why? Because she looked amazing and wasn’t wearing her wedding ring.
Selena Gomez, too, has had a dress she wore out called a “revenge dress” because that’s apparently how she “chases the Bieber blues away.” She’s even had hers compared with Swift’s to see who wore the lofty concept of vengeful fashion better.
So, is this how women are supposed to get “revenge” on our exes after they’ve screwed us over (or the relationships simply, y’know, ended as they tend to do)? Are we supposed to look damn fantastic because that’s the means by which we prove our post-breakup worth?
When love disintegrates, there is definitely an urge to look awesome for a variety of reasons. Perhaps after being in a relationship for a long time, you had not really done the “getting fancy” thing in quite some time and feel like breaking out your sexiest outfit once again. Perhaps you want to revitalize your dating life by looking your best while searching for a new partner… and if your ex just happens to be at the same bar you’re looking for love at, that’d be just dandy and totally unintentional. Ahem. Or maybe you just genuinely hate your ex and want to remind him that you’re infinitely better looking than he is. Whatever the reasoning, looking awesome may be the subtle middle finger you’re looking for, but I wouldn’t called them “revenge outfits” because they don’t really hurt the other person, at least not in ways I understand well. I, too, have admittedly dressed up to look better than usual because my ex had been a terrible partner and I wanted him to see me looking snazzy, even if it was just in passing or in photos on occasion.
But of course, we all know that every time you step out of the house post-breakup, you’re not just dressing for your ex.
Taylor Swift is expected to look nice at events, so obviously she’s going to have her prominent stylists pick out expensive gowns from famous designers that are tailored to fit her body. And that aforementioned kinda angry squinty look she’s got in lots of red carpet photos? Well, she’s always done that. It’s just how she rolls. In all likelihood, she is not just arching her eyebrows to say “fuck you” to Harry Styles. Or maybe she is, I don’t know. But the way that Entertainmentwise hilariously says she “can’t get enough of herself” and “can’t stop posing” in last night’s Donna Karen Atelier gown is pretty ridiculous; FFS, she’s posing because she’s on a red carpet in front of 100 cameras and I should hope she can’t get enough of herself because she has to live with herself every day.
In any case, this whole “revenge outfit” thing is silly and a bit presumptuous unless we’re talking about ourselves and are positive of the intent. I have certainly partook in this bizarre idea by dressing up particularly nicely when exes are around, but I’m also pretty sure that Swift, Ross and Gomez all look fancy when they attend awards shows, anyway. If I were them, I would likely be donning “revenge dresses” left and right, regardless of my relationship status. As far as I can tell, these gowns are just really pretty garments that are given a circumstantial attitude.
Photo: Adriana M. Barraza/WENN.com