What is dopamine dressing and why it should be your go-to trend for 2024

Give your wardrobe a happy makeover this New Year with this colour play.

Harper's Bazaar India

How often have you had to step out on a gloomy, not-so-happy day, when you would want nothing more than to slouch in the couch in your pyjamas? 

Even when you don’t wish to dress up, an outfit, a colour, a quick peek of that electric blue in your shirt collar can change everything. Your sluggishness melts away and you find yourself enthusiastic again, ready to take on the world. You owe this to dopamine dressing. 

Wondering what it is? Dopamine dressing is the correlation between colours and your moods; it is the idea that what you wear is capable of affecting your mood. This phenomenon isn't just about looking good; it's about feeling good—about choosing outfits that go beyond aesthetics to uplift your mood. 

Dopamine dressing is not just a fad but a lifestyle. It blends psychology and fashion to create a symphony of colours, patterns, and textures that works to cheer you up and make you feel that extra bit of good.

Frequently referred to as the "feel-good" neurotransmitter, dopamine is essential to our general well-being. When we choose clothes that are brightly coloured, have cheery patterns, and are made of materials that feel comfortable, our bodies release dopamine, which in turn sends "happy" messages to our nerve cells, providing that instant mood boost. 

With 2024 just beginning, and nerves about keeping resolutions and reaching new goals still reigning high, doing that extra something to help yourself be happy can go a long way, So, are you ready to hop onto the dopamine dressing trend? 

If we haven't convinced you yet, let's do a little visualisation...Think of a sunshine yellow dress or a deep red jacket or maybe a turquoise blue sweater? Sounds uplifting, doesn’t it? Now think of yourself starting your day in that tomato red A-line dress with cut-out details. We're getting you there, aren't we? The whole day seems better when you feel good about yourself. Now imagine the amount of vibrancy and mood-boosting these colours will provide when you include them in your wardrobe. And why just restrict to happy colours, you can try classy and chic new patterns or new materials, say velvet or silk perhaps. The idea is to enhance your overall personality and well-being, so reach out for anything works for you. 

How to incorporate dopamine dressing in your lifestyle?
The first step to incorporate dopamine dressing in your wardrobe is to figure out what makes you feel happy and zestful. Consider the colours, patterns, and styles that bring a smile to your face. It can be anything from a brilliant red colour to a playful polka dot print or a cosy jumper.  

Once you know what makes you happy, you can easily stock your wardrobe with mood-boosting items. This also means you can consider arranging your clothes in a manner that your favourite pieces stand out and, when you open your closet, it feels like your personal happy space. 

Now, if you're thinking you will have to conform to the rules of fashion while delving into this trend, know that dopamine dressing is majorly about expressing oneself rather than abiding by the conventional fashion standards. So, you can fearlessly experiment with different items to create outfits that make you feel happy. Because ultimately, it all revolves around your uniqueness and happiness. 

As you go off on your dopamine clothing trend, try to carefully observe the effects of your wardrobe selections on your mood and mental well-being. Take note of days when you have a bit more spring in your step and greater self-assurance. Since many of us are new to this trend, here’s a guide to the colours, prints, and materials that can prove the efficiency of this trend, however you can always customise and change these as per your preferences.

Warm colours

During winters, we all tend to wear neutral colour combinations like black or grey or beige or black. So, for a start, try to get rid of the dull colours and add a little warmth and sparkle to your wardrobe this season. Consider ruby reds, emerald greens, and sapphire blues to capture the shine of the winter sky. These bright colours can make each item of your clothing become a toast to joy against the winter chill.

Playful prints
Think about the timeless and playful polka dots and floral designs. These prints unfailingly offer a fun element to your outfit. You can also add more playful prints like hearts and stars to your closet. Consider colourful chequered tops or quirky motifs that give a sense of fun and spontaneity.

Think about it—doesn't velvet make you feel regal? Or silk make you feel lighter and luxurious? And because it's winter, wouldn't you choose a cosy knit over the sweater that pricks? Is there anything better than light cotton in the summers? While making your choices, think about how fabrics make you feel, too. 

For a final touch, you can add your favourite accessories—maybe sunflower earrings, a cute printed cap or beret to complete your winter outfit.

It is important to keep in mind that dopamine dressing is like your own little playground where it's all about wearing what makes you feel bright and confident. Try to let your imagination go wild, channel your inner fashionista, and build a wardrobe that will make you smile.