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By Betsy Greer on November 24, 2021
You know that feeling when a piece of clothing or color makes you really happy? This would describe one of this year’s biggest fashion trends: dopamine dressing! Meet some of the influencers leading this trend, Katie Kortman, Geri Berman, Carmen Christine and Romy-Krystal Cutler, and learn how they make dopamine dressing work for them through their top wardrobe tips.
(Please note that all information, content and material in this blog post is for informational purposes only and not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.)
Dopamine dressing is all about fashion that brings joy. There are no guidelines: Everything you like is allowed! Because studies prove it: People who wear bright colors and clothes that make them feel good all over are in a better mood. This is due to the neurotransmitter dopamine, which, together with serotonin, is one of the “happiness hormones.” And when we feel good, our posture, voice and facial expressions automatically change. This is because people absorb colors through the eyes into the part of our brain where our emotions are located.
That’s the beauty of this trend. Every bright color is a dopamine color! The main thing is that it makes you happy. That’s why it’s also been called happy dressing.
The effect of clothing on one’s own psyche was already proven in 2012 in an experiment by Hajo Adam and Adam Galinsky. The two scientists had their study participants put on white coats. One half was told they were wearing a doctor’s coat and the other half was told they were wearing a painter’s coat. And, lo and behold, the subjects in the supposed doctor’s coat automatically exhibited more self-confidence. This shows that clothing (especially in bright colors) can really give us self-confidence and just put us in a good mood.
Dopamine dressing has now already completely convinced us. Gaudy blouses, fancy shirts, pants, and bright jackets and coats. Bright colors are definitely the new black. But what do others say about this trend?
Others benefit from this trend—when you wear a colorful outfit, you only see yourself in the mirror, but other people perceive the colors and project the good mood back in turn. A win-win situation for everyone!
We asked four dazzling personalities who live and breathe dopamine dressing what they think of this trend and what they love most about it. Read on for exclusive tips on how to incorporate this trend into your everyday life (how to dress). Plus, we’ll introduce you to colorful designs so you can get started right away.
About Carmen: Carmen is the designer and maker behind the brand Carmen Christine. A fun, feel-good fashion handcrafted in genuine vintage cloth. Size-inclusivity and sustainability are at the heart of this energetic, colourful brand that makes limited batches of garments and accessories for groovy babes. There truly are no limits!
Carmen: “Dressing joyfully; bold colors, loud prints, full skirts you can swish around in! Basically, wearing what makes you happy.”
Carmen: “Spreading joy wherever I go because of what I’m wearing. I’m often met with surprised looks and big smiles from a passerby. Children especially are amazed to see a grown-up wearing such a playful outfit. I usually catch them staring in awe as I walk by. It’s magical.”
Carmen: “Don’t be afraid to wear “that” color, “that” shape, “that” print. Give it a go! Even if it’s just on your way to the local supermarket, you will feel liberated.”
Head over to your local charity shop and grab the first item that truly excites you and makes you feel happy. Incorporate this into your next look.
Pull out an item from your wardrobe that you no longer wear and rework it. Think cheerful, sunny, energetic; this could be painting florals onto it, adding rhinestones, sewing Spoonflower fabric patches onto it, or all of the above!
If you’re new to dopamine dressing, start with accessories. Coloured tights, chunky jewellery or a funky headband are an easy way to begin your dopamine dressing journey.
Katie: “Dopamine dressing is wearing clothes that excite you and being joy! Whether it’s the style, the color, the newness, or trying something you have tried before, it can create happy feelings!”
Katie: “I’m a huge advocate for “wear happy color,” because I have found in my adult life that so much color is missing in clothing. Children already are drawn to and wear color, but why not adults? We want to match the brown, beige and black surroundings? We want to blend in? It’s far more joyous to glance down or look in the mirror and see a bright color thank it is to look and see khaki. Promise! Color has psychological effects. I’d rather dress like spring and summer than winter!”
Put new colors together and use a color wheel to help.
If you want to wear a color you love, but don’t think it looks “good on you,” then wear it on the bottom or as an accessory.
Wear something “daring.” This can mean a style that’s not your norm, a color you’ve never worn or even just bright lipstick. See how it makes you feel.
Additional Tip: You can find a guidebook and online class about how to “wear happy color” on my website.
About Geri: Geri is a sewing addict, and often finds herself lost in stitches. In addition, she is obsessed with different ways of manipulating fabric and creating garments and content on how to build a handmade wardrobe.
Geri : “I get a huge dose of dopamine making my own garments, then another dose whenever I am wearing and styling them. This is why I am excited about promoting DIY fashion. It’s a fabulous creative outlet, and in the process, we learn to love our bodies as they are. We also begin to understand, and create our own style, and how to express ourselves through what we choose to wear. I’ve discovered that my personal style involves lots of color, and pattern mix-and-matching. Before making my own clothes, I used to wear lots of black, grey and neutral colours, and I think it reflected my old mentality of needing to blend in, and not wanting to be too loud, or to make mistakes. Those colours were “safe”. In contrast, I now wear bright colours and loud prints. Some garments border on the theatrical, and most of them make me stand out in the crowd. I take risks. I don’t really care what other people think anymore. And that attitude, when expressed through my clothes, is dopamine inducing.”
Geri: “What I like about dopamine dressing is that our garments can affect how we feel. So during the times when my mood is lacking, or the outlook is shifting towards the negative, then I can lean on my garments to keep me optimistic and positive-thinking. The garments help in “faking till I make it”. They work like emotional or spiritual protection, a kind of armour that wards off energy-draining inner thoughts or outside influences.”
Figure out what works for you, and don’t cave to another’s opinion of what you should wear.
Remain flexible and keep an open mind. Often, we are set in our preconceived notions of certain colours or prints. And I say, try that neon green or hot pink blazer. You maybe surprised that you like how you feel while wearing it.
Love your body, and get to know the different cuts of garments that highlight what you love about it.
Romy-Krystal Cutler is a data analyst turned stay-at-home Mama. She comes from a mixed-race home of Fijian Indian/Argentine-Uruguayan ancestry, born and raised in Sydney, Australia, and now residing in UT, USA. She’s a self taught sewist whose makes are constantly evolving, influenced by her life experiences and culture. Colour and prints are not just her aesthetic, they are an extension of her and her story.
Romy: “Dopamine dressing to me is about wearing clothes that you have a connection with emotionally, or wearing something you hope will evoke a certain emotion. Like wearing something that reminds of you happiness on a day when you’re not feeling particularly cheery. I dress depending on my mood and how I want to feel that day. I love colour and think of it as a natural mood booster.”
Romy: “I love how it can change my mood or change others’ moods around me. It can start conversations with strangers and it can make people smile. The connection between clothing and our mental state is very real and I love that dopamine dressing encourages people to wear what truly speaks to them as an individual. Dopamine dressing isn’t just about colour. It’s about wearing what feels right for you in colour and style. It’s unique just like each person is unique. It’s a movement that allows people to be free with expression and in tune with their emotions. “
Wear colours that you connect with.
Choose styles that you are comfortable with. Nobody has time for uncomfortable clothes, and that varies for everyone.
Don’t forget how much a look can transform, or go to then next level, once you add shoes, jewellery and/or belt.
Hanna is part of Spoonflower´s Brand Marketing team in Berlin since 2021. In her free time, she spends a lot of time in nature with her English Setter dog lady Maja or being creative for her small business.