The Best Revenge Dresses Of All Time

How a Revenge Dress Can Help You Get Over a Breakup (and 8 Celebs Who Proved It)

Breakups are a bitch—your eyes are red and puffy, you haven’t moved off the couch for days and sweats or leggings are all you can muster in your weakened state. For the record, I’m not talking about conscious uncoupling à la Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin (an approach that seems to work for these exes, though I cannot understand how—no jealousy or wine-fuelled fights? Mystifying). I’m talking about getting jilted. It sounds outdated, doesn’t it? Jilted—the title of a country song. But whether it plays out in Hollywood or real life, the tune leaves you empty, like the ice cream container beside your bed. Here’s where the Rocky theme song comes in. After all, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. And women know looking good is the best kind of revenge.

Khloé Kardashian’s new reality series Revenge Body may be a hot topic, but revenge dresses have been burning a path in Hollywood (and IRL) for a long time. Back in the ’90s, Princess Di was the poster girl for the revenge dress—she wore a smouldering off-the-shoulder LBD by Greek designer Christina Stambolian to an event the same day Prince Charles confessed to having an affair with Camilla Parker Bowles. Let’s pause a moment for the mic drop.

This week, Jennifer Garner stunned on the red carpet at the 88th Academy Awards—her first big appearance since splitting with hubby Ben Affleck. Yes, I know, I know: She says in her Vanity Fair interview that he wasn’t with their children’s nanny while they were together, but for some reason it still feels like she was left out in the cold. Showing up at the Oscars in an off-the-shoulder black Versace number made me think of Princess Di. Like the late Royal, Garner looked super sexy and poised. She didn’t need a plus-one; she owned it on her own. (In my mind, though, her plus-one was her middle finger.)

The revenge dress is a powerful tool; you must use it wisely. Is it vain? Hell, yes! But that’s the point: When your heart is ripped into a million pieces, the only Band-Aid strong enough to hold it together when you see your ex out for the first time (and you want to run or vomit, or both) is a revenge dress. Think about Hervé Leger’s iconic bandage dress—it’s like first aid for the heart. They don’t have to be pricey; we’re going for fierceness. For me, it was all about legs. I found a black LBD with a way too short hemline. It was perfect. I wore it once, then put it at the back of my closet and moved on—in every sense. Funny how a dress has the power to heal.

Looking for a little inspo? Click through to see 8 celebs who’ve rocked revenge dresses.