A sartorial trend building momentum that’s equal parts about fashion and your frame of mind, dubbed dopamine dressing, is set to take over in the next 12 months, according to US fashion psychologist Dawnn Karen.
Dopamine dressing is exactly as it sounds: it's based on actively choosing to wear clothing that brings you joy, drawing a direct correlation between your sartorial sense and happiness levels.
“Mood enhancement dressing is where you start from the internal, which is the attitude, and you proceed to the external, which is the attire, thereby creating an alignment between internal and external or attitude and attire,” Karen explains to Vogue.
Sceptical? Well, there is some science behind it.
A 2012 paper by Hajo Adam and Adam Galinsky, published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, discovered that ‘when some experiment participants were asked to wear clothing imbued with symbolic meaning—like a doctor’s coat—their perceived confidence levels and ability to complete tasks could increase.’ The researchers called it “enclothed cognition,” in that a person’s clothing could have a direct impact on their psychological processes.
The same results were seen in a 2015 study by psychological scientists from California State University, Northridge and Columbia University which revealed that the outfits we select can have a direct impact on how we think and make decisions.
“The formality of clothing might not only influence the way others perceive a person, and how people perceive themselves, but could influence decision making in important ways through its influence on processing style,” the researchers wrote in their study published in the Social Psychological and Personality Science journal.
So how do you do it? Simply wearing colours and styles that hit high on your personal happiness scale. “You might’ve had a bad experience with a colour but you may feel optimistic in the colour black, so it really depends on what resonates with you as an individual,” Karen explains.
Whether it’s activewear or a ball gown, do it for the dopamine.