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Why dopamine dressing is the feel-good fashion trend we need in 2021

Colourful clothes

Happy clothes, happy you.

When the pandemic hit nearly a year ago, we saw a sudden shift in the way we dressed. Our ankle boots were swapped for slippers, jeans gave way to joggers and our oversized blazers became oversized (extra cosy) jumpers.

Comfort dressing was in, everything else was out. However, as we ease into 2021, a new sartorial trend is taking over: dopamine dressing.

How dopamine dressing works is that we actively choose to wear clothing that makes us happy and brings us joy (yes, please!) – it’s part-fashion, part-mindfulness.

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Dopamine dressing is nothing new. In fact, a study released nearly a decade ago in 2012 found that when participants were asked to wear clothing that held some symbolic meaning, their perceived confidence increased.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, determined that clothing could have a direct impact on their psychological process.

“When we feel good in what we are wearing, we tend to be more confident,” behavioural psychologist and author of The Psychology of Fashion, Carolyn Mair.

“When we are confident, we are able to exert influence through our confidence alone. When we feel good, we are likely to be perceived as looking good too, as our posture, voice and other nonverbal aspects will be more positive.”

Another 2015 study from California State University, Northridge and Columbia University found that the outfits we wear can have a direct impact on how we think. The study of five different experiments determined that dressing in a certain way can influence the way we make decisions.

“What we wear is how we show ourselves to those we interact with – we are influenced by their reaction to it. If we are well received, it boosts our confidence and can ultimately affect our wellbeing,” Mair added.

So what exactly is dopamine dressing? Well, it’s different for everyone. It’s wearing the clothes that make you feel good. That could be joggers and a jumper, it could be your favourite pair of jeans or it could be that dress you were saving for a special occasion.

For some, bright colours is what boosts their mood. Colour psychologist Karen Haller told Who What Wear: “Colour is a great way to lift our spirits and boost our moods in an instant. Our confidence can be boosted when we wear colours that we love and feel good in.

“We instinctively feel and behave differently around colours because of how we take the colour in through our eyes and through to the part of our brain where our emotions reside.”

Ultimately, dopamine dressing is whatever makes you feel good. The most important thing is to have fun with it.

Image by Adina Voicu from Pixabay

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