What is dopamine dressing?

Image of a girl in the snow wearing a fluffy pink winter hat and coat

Dopamine dressing is all about using clothing as a means to boost your dopamine levels and improve your overall mood. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in regulating mood, motivation, and pleasure. The idea is that by choosing and wearing clothes that evoke positive feelings and stimulate your body to release dopamine, you can brighten your outlook on even the gloomiest winter days.

How do colours influence mood? 

Shopfront window featuring colourful clothing and a window sticker saying: Happy Life

The science of colour psychology has championed this since, well, forever. According to colour experts, different hues can influence our feelings and behaviors. For example:

  • Red is associated with passion, energy, and excitement. Wearing red can increase your heart rate and make you feel more alert and passionate.
  • Yellow is often linked to happiness, warmth, and optimism. It can help you feel more positive and energetic.
  • Orange can stimulate creativity and enthusiasm, boost your mood and make you feel more inspired.
  • Pink is linked to feelings of love and compassion. It can be soothing and calming, helping to reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Blue is calming, and lighter blues can promote a sense of relaxation. Darker blues can be associated with stability and confidence.
  • Green represents nature and growth, helping you feel more balanced and at peace.

How can you incorporate dopamine dressing into your wardrobe?

Young woman on public transport wearing a colourful knitted winter hat

Choose your colours. Start by selecting colours that resonate with you personally. Stand in front of your closet and see which colours leap out at you. Experiment with various shades to find the ones that make you feel happiest and most comfortable.

Play with makeup. If you're not ready to commit to a full colourful ensemble, experiment with colourful makeup to add a pop of colour to your look. A red lip or bright blue mascara is my own personal go-to for instant colour boost. 

Layer with colour. Too many blacks and grays in your winter wardrobe? Start by acquiring one bright piece. Layering colourful items, such as scarves, gloves, or accessories, can add cheer to your outfit without feeling overwhelming. But who says you have to stop at one?

 

Stack of knitted winter scarves, mostly gray except for one in bright lime green

Mix and match. Get creative with your combinations. Combining different colours and patterns can create a visually stimulating and mood-boosting effect. The same goes for texture—incorporating different textured fabrics can add an extra dimension to your outfit and create a tactile sensation that enhances your overall experience.

Comfort is key. While experimenting with colours, comfort should always be a priority. Choose clothing that not only looks good but also feels good to wear, ideally of natural fibers—cotton, wool, silk—that allow your body to breathe when layered all together. 

While dopamine dressing is an excellent strategy for beating the winter blues, it’s versatile and timeless. Whether preparing for a job interview, a date night, or just a regular day, the right colours and clothing choices can help you feel happier and more confident—and why wouldn’t we want that all year round? 

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