Have you heard of the latest “trend”? Dopamine fashion is about dressing with intention and wearing clothes that spark joy. After surviving a global pandemic and switching to shapeless joggers, we could all do with a bit of re-energising.
We say “trend” because dressing in a way that makes you feel confident can never really go out of fashion. In some ways, dopamine dressing is inherently sustainable; by curating a wardrobe that makes you smile, you’re more likely to care for your clothes and style them again and again. Accumulating memories with every new wear, your clothes become time capsules, historic artifacts of happy times.
Dopamine dressing is personal, so you can participate in this trend by wearing muted tones or rediscovering what you already own. The good news is that you don’t need to buy new outfits to boost your mood. Retail therapy, in fact, might have the opposite effect. Fashion Revolution note that “with each new item comes a novel experience, a burst of dopamine and a rush of excitement; but the crash afterwards hits harder. Fashion connects us with our emotional expression, and clothes can foster our needs for affection, identity, and creation. If these needs are being met by impulse buys and short-lived satisfaction, we become stuck in the endless cycle of shopping, desperate for the next hit of happiness.”
We’ve compiled some of our favourite ways to dress for your mood sustainably, from sourcing bright prints second-hand to digging out that sentimental jumper. But first things first, what is dopamine dressing?
When that good mood kicks in!
What is dopamine dressing?
Let’s start with defining dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that sends messages between nerve cells. Lecturer at the London College of Fashion, Maria Costantio, explains that “It has many functions: it is involved in reward, motivation, memory, and attention. When dopamine is released in large amounts, it creates feelings of pleasure.”
Applying that to how we dress, dopamine fashion is about wearing the colours, styles and textures that make you feel like your best self. Studies have shown that our clothing alters how we think and act, influencing the way we perceive and present ourselves.
Can colour really impact your mood?
The short answer is yes! Colours have always held meaning and are often associated with specific feelings and memories. While some colours have universal significance (yellow tends to evoke happiness), what colours feel good differs from wearer to wearer. There’s no one-size-fit-all approach to dopamine dressing; you don’t need to follow a universal code or wear bold, bright outfits. You just need to start dressing in a way that triggers the feel-good neurotransmitter for you.
When you find that feel-good outfit
Shopping your wardrobe
But how? The best place to start is in your own wardrobe by flicking through the clothes you already love. A wardrobe that inspires confidence and contentment should be full of clothes you’d wear any day of the week.
At first glance, you should be able to work out the types of patterns, fabrics and colours you reach for. You’ll also spot the items of personal significance, the ones that make you feel nostalgic, such as a graduation dress, your favourite band tee, or that scarf your grandmother knitted for you. Once you’ve figured out your style, you can identify gaps and slowly build a wardrobe designed for maximum wear and happiness.
At Wild Clouds, we’re big believers of putting second-hand first. By prioritising items already in circulation, you’re giving a new lease of life to a pre-loved garment and helping to offset its environmental footprint. There’s something really special about styling a unique vintage find, or wearing clothes with memories stitched into their seams. Plus, these days there’s so many places to find new-to-you items, like swapping and rental platforms, resale apps, vintage stores, charity shops, car boot sales and local selling pages to name just a few!
Ethically made clothing guaranteed to brighten up your wardrobe
Supporting small businesses
When you are looking to buy new, there’s no better feeling than supporting a small sustainable business. Your purchase makes somebody dance with joy, and is planet-friendly too.
Our mix-and-match separates are guaranteed to brighten up your mood and wardrobe. We make working from home fun again with our weird and wonderful designs. Looking at colour theory, our Green Clouds print can help you feel more relaxed and less anxious, while our Blue Beasts print is really peaceful and calming. Both fabrics are sustainably and ethically made, which is bound to put a smile on your face!