What is ‘dopamine dressing’? Does it really improve your mood?

A fashion trend created to spark joy, dopamine dressing is the latest way fashionistas are lifting moods.

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Dopamine Dressing” is popular on TikTok and Pinterest. The term was initially coined by fashion psychologist Dr. Dawnn “The Dress Doctor” Karen. In her book Dress Your Best Life, she asserts that wearing upbeat outfits can release a rush of the mood-boosting neurotransmitter dopamine.

Watch this Brooklyn bedroom go from drab to fabulous in one day:

What is “dopamine dressing”?

Dopamine dressing is all about using clothing as a means of self-expression, but bold and bright colors are central to its ethos. Neons, rainbow fashions, loud pinks and electric blues are all up for grabs.

The idea here is to dress how you aim to feel. While not everyone has the same responses to colors, and cultural traditions and attitudes shape how we react to them, dopamine dressing is personal, so nothing is a barrier.

Is the science behind “dopamine dressing” real?

Experts believe there is a scientific link between dressing a particular way and how we feel. According to Dr. Karen, colors like yellow elicit positive feelings that make us feel good.

“During the pandemic, there was a shift that occurred. Since no one was around to tell you what to wear, you gave yourself permission to find styles that make you happy,” Dr. Karen told TODAY.

Behavioral psychologist and author of The Psychology of Fashion Dr. Carolyn Mair told Well and Good, “Dopamine motivates us to seek a reward. So, scientifically speaking, dopamine dressing refers to a person’s motivation to dress in a way that will result in a positive outcome, like feeling more confident, competent, or happy.”

Examples of “dopamine dressing” on TikTok

Fashion guru Thalia Castro-Vega was all smiles while sporting her monochromatic lilac outfit with big, baggy whimsical pants.

TikToker @misscandyholic posted a video as a “sign to wear what you want” while sporting a pink, flowing cottage dress.

“If you don’t like the way I dress or the clothes I wear… I’m going to continue to wear what makes me happy,” @glamingotham said in a caption, showing off her eclectic looks.

The user @cybr.grl revealed her different styles throughout the years, going from Lisa Frank-inspired looks to more K-pop and street style-influenced outfits.

Watch this tiny NYC apartment living room get a gorgeous makeover in just one day:

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