There’s a new fashion trend that’s got us interested: ‘dopamine dressing’. So what is it? In short, the idea that bright clothing can boost mood. It’s less positive thinking, more positive dressing, like putting on a La La Land yellow dress or wearing encouraging mantras on your gym tee. Is this BS or can it actually work? We checked with Women's Health Emotions Expert Alice Boyes.
Sceptical? It’s not as silly as it sounds to think adding a pop of colour to an outfit could impact your day. Swapping black pants for orange jeans, or perking up your work-day look with a red lip or statement-making purple-framed glasses, may potentially provide a mood boost. If everyone around you is in head-to-toe beige, your colourful interlude could brighten their day too, and any positive feedback you get will keep the positive spiral going.
And science confirms this happiness cycle. People who wear brighter colours appear more cheerful and extroverted, and others will react to them this way. This is similar to how people respond to smiley or attractive people differently than sad sacks. Of course, it’s also possible for statement dressing to backfire. There will be a line where it starts to seem to everyone around that you’re just looking for attention.
In fact, some believe that regularly using your physical appearance to draw attention like a magnet can be a symptom of Histrionic Personality Disorder. The moral of this story? Dress for yourself, rather than for approval from other people. Also, keep in mind that if you wear bright colours every day, the mood benefits will likely wear off – a phenomenon known as Hedonic Adaptation. More into monochrome? Add instant colour to your workspace instead of your wardrobe with bold artwork or accent pillows for your office sofa. Easy!