5 steps to Dopamine Dressing

by | 17 Jan 2022 | colour, style

photo of colourful clothes as a step to dopamine dressing

Written by Moira O'Toole

I am a part time milliner and colour and image consultant with an interest in all things fashion related.

Dopamine dressing has been everywhere in the fashion world over the last two years. There is no sign of the trend wearing off, but can taking steps to wearing colourful bright clothes really make us happy?  Maybe canary yellow or shocking pink don’t suit you, so how will this enhance your mood?  Read my 5 steps to dopamine dressing here to help you find the best way you can introduce this craze to your everyday looks.

“Dopamine” is a happy hormone.  It is very important to keep our levels optimal in natural ways, to keep us motivated and enthusiastic. There are certainly associations between moods and colours.  Orange for example is supposed to make you happy and energetic. Yellow is uplifting and illuminating.  However what feels good for one person won’t necessarily feel the same for another. We all have our own associations with colour and this is where our personal style kicks in.  It is really about wearing colours you feel good in.

Happy Associations

If you are unsure where to start why not think back to what your favourite colour was as a child or a colour you wore at a time you were really happy.  Add more of these favourite colours to your wardrobe.  Your clothing should spark joy, so figure out what colours do this for you.

“Any colour can be utilised to dopamine dress as long as there’s a past memory or past experience associated with that colour that brought about a happy disposition.”                                                    Dr. Dawnn Karen (theface.com)


Colourful Accessories

Another way of introducing colour to your wardrobe is by wearing bold accessories. You can start with a bold coloured bag or scarf to add new energy to an outfit you already have.  Zalando, Mango, Kurt Geiger and Ted Baker are just a few places with bags in fabulous vibrant colours. If you like wearing neutral coloured clothing there is nothing like a statement collar,  colourful neckpiece or earrings to bring life and fun to your whole look.

Monochromatic look

Once you have confidence wearing colour through accessories you may be brave enough to introduce a bolder colour to your wardrobe.  How about choosing one bold colour for a whole monochromatic look, if colours of the rainbow do not fit with your personal style. You could choose a pink that you like and wear different hues or shades.  Keeping with tones of the same colour creates harmony. You can adapt the dopamine dressing trend to suit your own styles and preferences.

Flattering colours

Another factor to take into account is choosing a colour that flatters your skin tone.  If the bright vibrant colours do nothing for you, maybe the rich jewel tones, warm hues of autumn or the pastel candy shades will bring out that inner radiance and happy feeling that we all need after all the restrictions.


You can also wear slogan tops with happy messages if that’s your style. This will make your audience smile, which in turn causes you to return the smile.

Dopamine dressing can even be about textures you like wearing.  The result is always about how it makes you feel. This was also the finding of a study published in European Journal of Social Psychology (Elliot et al.).  It found simply wearing the colour red makes men and women more attractive to the opposite sex. Initially the participants could see the colours that they were wearing. However when the colour they were wearing was blanked out, the participants of the study still rated those wearing red as more attractive. Certain colours like red, because of our associations with it, have the power to change the way we feel.

However as Forbes- Bell (a fashion psychologist) says, “the link between colour and emotions is tricky because cultural interpretations of colour impact the emotions that arise when wearing them.”  She suggests a better way to think of dopamine dressing is in relational to personal rather than universal associations.  So yes whether it’s your favourite colour or a happy association, your clothes should spark joy with every wear.  It appears this type of dressing is here to stay. Pinterest predicts “from rainbow dresses to electric blue outfits, 2022 fashion will be all about feel-good fits with an electric kick.”

I hope you have found these 5 steps to dopamine dressing helpful. I would love to hear if you incorporated any of them into your everyday style.


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