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What I Bought After My Breakup

Sometimes all you need is a little retail therapy.

Photo: Julia Stotz for Racked

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

After Jen Doll wrote about the pair of clogs she bought after her relationship ended, we asked our newsletter readers what they’ve treated themselves to after breakups. Have a story to share with us? Email and we’ll add yours, and sign up for the Racked daily newsletter here!

After my divorce I realized that all my [pieces of] jewelry were gifts from my ex, and I needed some new energy in my life. I went to a friend who makes beautiful pieces and bought myself a divorce ring. I wear it on my right hand, and it cost more than my rent but I love it and look at it and smile every time I see it. It's a symbol and strength and grace and beauty. —Tamara

My ex-boyfriend got me a super expensive purse while we were still dating — which was dumb, because I don't even like purses that much. Shoes, yes. Big purple bags? Meh.

Anywho, we broke up and it was my first big breakup and I was devastated. We'd dated for almost two years and he ended up cheating on me. BUT something good came out of it, because I had never used that hideous purple bag he got me, so I returned it to Macy's and got three hundred dollars (which I was like, oops, heh heh, maybe I should have appreciated this more) worth of store credit. I used that to buy myself, among other things, a whole lotta new workout clothes, which was great because he was a Crossfit coach at the box I worked out at and I got to show off my #revengebod in tiny new neon shorts.

There really was something cathartic about exchanging this giant bag o' symbolic love in to buy clothes that benefited my fitness and general well-being though. And like the Racked "breakup shopping" article says, it's not about the clothes or what you buy, it's the fact that you do something for yourself. It feels empowering and slightly selfish--but in my opinion, there's no better time to be selfish than when you're learning who you are without somebody. I was really, really sad during that period, and buying myself clothes that made me feel good to be in them... felt good. It felt good to shop and wearing new clothes felt amazing, in a time where everything else sucked. Oh, breakups.

Plus, that purse...just, ugh. I'm better off with someone who has better taste in accessories. —Kelsey

The day after my live-in boyfriend and I broke up, I went to Best Buy and bought a 43" Samsung flatscreen TV for my studio apartment, because I knew I'd be watching a lot of TV in the coming weeks. It was almost double the size of the TV he was taking with him. My friend came with me to carry it, and we had to hail a handicap-accessible taxi to get it home. Years later, it remains one of the best purchases of my life. —Laura

I lived in Texas with my then-boyfriend of five years and hadn't​ had a car in about seven years when I reconnected with my high school sweetheart in South Carolina. I broke up with my boyfriend (who was emotionally abusive), moved in with friends, and saved enough money in five months to buy a car that could get me and my stuff halfway across the country. Definitely worth every penny. —Crystal

My college boyfriend, who I had started dating a month into our freshman year, had dumped me the first week of our senior year for another girl. True to Sex and the City wisdom, it took me half the time I dated him to get over him. In the meantime, I didn't shop. Well at least in the beginning. I didn't get bangs, I didn't spend boatloads of money on clothes (which is normal behavior). I cried at night and in the morning, I got dressed. Rather than redirect my feelings into the nearest clothing rack, I made an effort to wear the clothes I already owned. Like meal planning, I'd think about which clothing combinations I'd wear for the week and challenged myself not to wear the same outfit twice. While it didn't help me get over him, I figured if he saw me on the campus, at least I looked good. —Amanda

My boyfriend and I were long distance for the entirety of our (short but meaningful) relationship. We broke up over the phone one night a few years ago. The next morning, I made a pit stop at the Apple Store in Grand Central before heading into work and dropped $$$ on an Apple Watch. This was back when Apple Watches were still a newer accessory and not that common beyond Silicon Valley and tech startups. Knowing how expensive it was, and what a dent it'd put in my bank account, I walked out wearing it with the caveat that "I'll just see how it feels and return it within the two-week window."

Two years later, I still wear it everyday. Best break-up purchase ever. —Kristina

Besides the typical mani/pedi/massage/I NEED THIS $14 SMOOTHIE, I bought this Madewell sweater pre-sale. Ouch. Though to be fair, I still wear the shit out of it in my freezing office. And to be double fair, the location was literally across the way from Sir Doucherson's overpriced ~loft apartment~ so the proximity lent extra oomph to the fuck-you of it all. —Beca

Many years ago my mom told me that whenever you have a major breakup, you should get a new mattress, to get rid of the sex ghosts. —Helen