Dopamine dressing: how to inject some color into your wardrobe

Go Bold this season with dopamine dressing

Influencer Fia Hamelijnck are seen trying the dopamine dressing trend, wearing a green knitted pullover by Knits by Dellie, green wide leg denim jeans pants by Baum und Pferdgarten, blue sandals with bows and crystals by Fabienne Chapot, a black and pink bag by Prada and handmade green glass beads smiley earrings by Taar Willoughby and influencer Amaka Hamelijnck wearing a purple patterned sweater and associated pants and a dark purple pullover by House of Funny, a rose colored Jeans Jacket by Rotate Birger Christensen, black boots by Bottega Veneta and a rose colored bag by Chanel, seen outside the TOMORROW DENIM show during Copenhagen Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2022 on February 3, 2022 in Copenhagen, Denmark alongside some colorful clothing
(Image credit: Getty Images / Street Style Shooters)

Fashion month is here bringing with it joyously bold street style inspiration from the boldest and most beloved street stylers on the circuit. Highlighter brights have been such a regular appearance both on and off the runway that the looks have earnt the moniker ‘dopamine dressing’ from Pinterest thanks to their mood-boosting ability.

After spending the past two years mostly indoors and isolated thanks to the pandemic designer collections have joyously captured an optimistic mood, banking on bright, playful dressing as the key trend to hope and plan for on the other side. So now seems the perfect time to incorporate colour into your capsule wardrobe

The link between happiness and bright, vibrant clothing isn’t new as the idea of  ‘dopamine dressing’ has long been the subject of psychological research into exploring whether colours and the shades we choose to wear have an actual impact on our mood and happiness. If like me, you can’t help but feel a little gloomy on those overcast grey days we endure over the winter months when sunshine is limited then a sartorially stimulated dopamine hit is something I heartily welcome. So much so that I could even be tempted to give up my neutral aesthetic. 

Sara Flaaen Licius seen wearing pink belted jumper, black skirt outside Jade Cropper during Copenhagen Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2022 on February 03, 2022 in Copenhagen, Denmark

(Image credit: Getty Images / Christian Vierig)

What is dopamine dressing?

Our bodies produce dopamine and our nervous system uses it to send messages between our nerve cells. Known as the ‘feel-good neurotransmitter’ it’s associated with pleasure and reward which motivates us to repeat specific behaviours—think, park runs and joyful jumpers.

Whilst studies so far haven’t specifically explored clothing colours the notion and belief that specific hues have therapeutic effects and qualities have been explored since time immemorial. With historians exploring the rich palette of the Romans and the symbolism, they associated with specific colours. 

Each year Pantone set the tone with 2021 anchored on pop colours like Balenciaga’s hot pink and Bottega’s signature green with ‘illuminating’ yellow acting as their light at the end of the tunnel. Whilst it might have been a little premature for the pandemic a sprightly and optimistic ‘very peri’ has taken over for 2022. But thanks to Pinterest, we're calling it 'Dopamine Dressing.'

With Pinterest sharing that search terms like ‘rainbow dress women,’ ‘vibrant outfits’ and Fuschia dress outfit’ driving the trend among Gen Z they’ve predicted that dopamine dressing will be the biggest trend of the year.

So, if the street stylers are anything to go by there’s never been a better time to soak up the joy in zesty hues and acid brights. From bold knitwear to tonal trousers, bright blazers and punchy footwear there’s never been a better time to get more adventurous with your wardrobe palette than as the world opens up and you can reunite with your friends and family.

Your dopamine dressing checklist:

This bright blue dress is the perfect way to tap into dopamine dressing

(Image credit: Pretty Lavish)

1. Pretty Lavish, Tabitha maxi dress

Designed with the dancefloor in mind this slinky maxi dress is an ideal choice for the impending wedding season. Elevate yours with a pair of fashion-forward lilac earrings.

This Christopher John Rogers blazer is the perfect way to tap into dopamine dressing

(Image credit: Christopher John Rogers)

2. Christopher John Rogers, Crepe blazer

Christopher John Rogers and color go hand in hand, the designer's Resort ‘22 collection is inspired by his joyful passion for clothes. This ‘Habanero’ hue blazer is cut for a slightly looser fit with padded shoulders and sharp notched lapels, take styling cues from the runway, and style yours with the matching pants for maximum impact.

The attico blue shirt is the perfect way to tap into dopamine dressing

(Image credit: The Attico)

3. The Attico, Lily shirt

Made in Italy from fluid satin the Lily shirt is cut for a slim fit to temper its playful proportions. A signature of The Attico, expect elongated cuffs a pointed hemline, and a sharp collar. Inspired by the 80s this truly joyful shirt is perfect for pairing with straight-leg trousers to the office and white denim on days off.

These Balenciaga trainers are the perfect way to tap into dopamine dressing

(Image credit: Balenciaga)

4, Balenciaga, Phantom low-top sneakers 

Sunshine yellow, tick. Chunky rubber sole, tick. These Phantom low-tops tick all the boxes. Style yours with zesty tonal separates.

This Manu Atelier bag is the perfect way to tap into dopamine dressing

(Image credit: Manu Atelier)

5, Manu Atelier, Mini kesme shoulder bag

Finished with a chunky detachable gold-tone chain, Manu Atelier’s bag works with everything from a tonal top-to-toe green look to a contrasting color blocking set-up. Carry yours in the crook of your arm.

These Amina Muaddi shoes are the perfect way to tap into dopamine dressing

(Image credit: Amina Muaddi)

6, Amina Muaddi, Begum crystal-embellished slingbacks

Instantly recognisable thanks to the Art-Deco inspired crystal brooch that adorns their toe, Amina Muaddi’s signature Begum pumps are having a real moment. Go bold and make yours pop with this exclusive red hue. Wear with everything from denim to tailoring and party dresses.

This Victoria Beckham jumper is the perfect way to tap into dopamine dressing

(Image credit: Victoria Beckham)

7, Victoria Beckham, Cashmere-blend turtleneck sweater

This rich red jumper is spun from super-soft cashmere for a loose fit making it ideal for styling over slip dresses and partially tucked into tailored pants. Clash your colors by opting for pink or green hues to pair yours with.

This Raey skirt is the perfect way to tap into dopamine dressing

(Image credit: Raey)

8, Raey, Recycled tulle midi skirt

Responsibly made from 100% recycled polyester, Raey’s playful skirt looks just as good styled with a tonal coral-pink sweater and slides as per the brand’s look book as it does with a colour-blocking yellow sweater. 

Sarah-Rose Harrison

Sarah-Rose Harrison is a London-based celebrity stylist and Contributing Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK. 

No day is ever quite the same for her but the one constant is that she’s always looking for the next big thing and the newest style. 

From ways to be more sustainable to up-and-coming brands, she’s got you covered.