Fashion / Style

The kaleidoscopic new trend that is dopamine dressing and why you’ll be trying it this year

In a year that came and left us without so much of a grey cloud of emotion – COVID-19, climate disasters, political gaslighting to name a few – our hunger for finding more colour in our life has been lingering in the distance like an omnipresent oasis. Ever anxious to dip our toe into a pool of wild experimentation, we are finding new ways to enhance what little joys we have left in this world. In this case, anything that can play tantalising games to our senses; be it taste, smell or of course style. As a consequence, there is a new trend gaining traction, one that teeters between style and wellness. The concept of course, better known to us now as dopamine dressing.

dopamine dressingImage via @jacquemus


We know, the idea of drawing strokes between science to the world of fashion seems a little far fetched. But in theory, it is a very real concept. The notion comes from a branch of colour psychology that looks at the links between how colour deeply effects our moods and areas within our daily life. So, just what is dopamine exactly? And how does it tie in here? In the same vain as serotonin, dopamine is one of the "happy hormones" and acts as a vital messenger in the neurons – the working compounds that make up your brain – that let you know what's keeping you elevated and motivated.

In essence, the vibrant sensory input (colour, shape, texture) of your own style can fire off those neurons in the brain that give you an instant dopamine boost. Of course, there are a few common misconceptions here, one being that dopamine dressing is strictly related to the vibrancy of colours. On the contrary it is just, simply put, what makes us feel good, which as we know can come down to our own individual taste.

The theory in itself is nothing new; a 2012 study looked at how clothing inherently effects our behaviour. It was shown through studies here that the symbolic significance of our clothing plays into our psyche considerably in something called "enclothed cognition". The idea of this experiment is that by wearing certain clothes loaded with certain meaning, we see ourselves differently.

So, will we start to see this trend rise significantly? All signs point to yes. We've seen increasingly on the catwalks how this style is leading with vivid purpose. We can see how social media is allowing us to find our own way here. For now, one of the best ways for you to see where you fit is by taking a fashion personality test. Failing that, you can always sift through your Instagram and take note of your most recent fashionable highlights to gain more clarity. In the meantime, we'll take you through what you can expect of the trend below. All the colours of the bow, en masse!

dopamine dressing

Image via Versace; image via Pinterest.

dopamine dressing

Image via Off-White; image via Pinterest.

dopamine dressing

Image via Valentino; Image via Pinterest.

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Images via Pinterest.