Dopamine Dressing: More Than Just a Trend!

Kylie Corral
5 minute read

dopamine dressing; woman smiling in closet with colorful clothes

Dopamine dressing is a term that has been growing in popularity recently, following stress-filled post-pandemic times. The term might seem odd at first, but it’s an idea that has been studied since 2012 and has grown since then.

With global events creating an increasingly stressful environment, dopamine dressing might be the answer to better  moods and overall happiness! When you wear what you are comfortable with and what you like, it will make you happy, no matter where you find yourself.

But first, let’s find out what dopamine actually is.

What is Dopamine?

Dopamine, the “feel good” hormone that is responsible for the emotion happiness, seems to have nothing to do with dressing, and although it’s common knowledge that many things can affect the amount of dopamine a person can have, such as home and work environments, the way we dress can also alter our feelings.

Dopamine Dressing and Self Esteem

woman in bright clothing, yellow jacket, smiling

Self-confidence is something that the majority of people have struggled with during their time in the pandemic, especially with the spread of remote work and zoom calls. Studies note the negative effects that online meetings have had on the overall population when it comes to Zoom fatigue and changing self perception when finding themselves on screen.

As remote workers we tend to stay in pajamas or resort to t-shirts and leggings, but choosing an outfit that you will enjoy, without thinking about how you will look on screen, is a good mental health practice and a perfect way to start dopamine dressing.

Although some people feel more joy when wearing something comfortable, most tend to be unmotivated when they aren’t dressed for work. Having a routine and picking out an outfit, and doing your hair and makeup can have an uplifting effect on your self-esteem, motivation, and overall mood, benefiting your work and happiness together.

Trying new outfits outside of your comfort zone is something that will boost your self-esteem as well as your dopamine levels too. While zoom might be something that you dislike, it gives you the chance to explore new outfits from the comfort of your home, building up that self-confidence for the world beyond.

Dopamine Dressing With Colors

bright colored shirts hanging in closet

Another thing to consider is color. It may seem like something inconsequential when it comes to outfits, but studies have shown that colors can often affect our moods, and that each color has its own specific link to our emotions.

Here are some colors and what they might mean for your mood:

  • Red is an intense color, and therefore produces intense emotions in those who choose to wear it. Powerful emotions such as love, anger, or passion can be associated with the color’s hue. Since it is a color that is connected to energetic emotions, wearing red might elevate your mood with the help of higher energy levels, enhanced metabolism, and elevated blood pressure.
  • Blue is a color that is commonly thought of to be calming because of its regular presence in nature and cool tones. Unlike red, blue colors can actually lower pulse rate and body temperature too. It’s common for people in work environments to wear blue since it represents stability and reliability. Blue helps boost productivity as well.
  • Purple is a combination of the colors red and blue, often standing as a symbol for imagination, bravery and wisdom. Purple has long been a color that is connected to royalty and wealth as well. This color is rich in history, and these meanings can often have an effect on people who choose to wear purple.
  • Pink is a color that has been thought to be calming despite being vibrant. This color has often been associated with joy and happiness, and this is often reflected in the mood of those who wear the color.
  • Green is another color that is largely found in nature and that is what gives it its calming effect. Often connected to the ideas of safety and luck, green is known to relax those who don green clothes.
  • Yellow is known to be intense, much like red is. Although the color can reflect warmth and energy, it should not be over worn because it may cause visual fatigue. 
  • White is a complex color, and it can either mean peacefulness or emptiness, based on how you perceive the color. The color white might mean purity and fresh starts for one person, while another might find the color cold and isolated.
  • Black is a color much like the color white. For some it may mean boldness and power, but for other people it may mean unhappiness. It can also have the neutral meaning of mystery.

Colors, of course, can vary from person to person depending on different factors in their life. One thing that can affect how everyone perceives color is culture. Another thing that can affect what we connect color to is our own personal life and memories. When you are more aware of these connections you have to the specific colors of your wardrobe, you will be able to dress with the ability to increase your dopamine and liven your mood.

Dopamine Dressing In Your Routine

Always dress for the day that you are having. If you are having a stressful day, dress with calming colors like blue and green.

If the day has become cloudy and gloomy outside, dress in yellow or red, to bring out that color’s energy into your day.

Want to stay motivated? Find a color that makes you feel productive based on your cultural background and memories.

Dopamine dressing is the opportunity to get dopamine back on track in your life, allowing you to find joy in your wardrobe, energy in your day, and confidence in yourself!

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