Dopamine dressing is the fashion trend that will energize you

Dopamine dressing is the latest fashion buzzword but what does it really mean? After two years of lockdowns and anxiety, slowly the world is reopening. To express this joy, designers leaned in heavily to brightly-hued outfits for their spring/summer runway shows, which has since been coined

the ‘dopamine dressing’ trend for its mood-boosting abilities. It’s time for us to have some fun with fashion again.

Dopamine dressing is one of the biggest fashion trends 2022 has to offer. The runways were full of bright looks, from hot pink at Versace and vivid blues at Stella McCartney to acid green at Valentino, the spring/summer shows were full of color and optimism. Many designers went for statement, head-to-toe block color looks, while others simply injected hints of brightness to lift their collections for the season ahead.

When it comes to the Dopamine Dressing trend, expect this look to seep into every aspect of your closet, giving a new season boost to your capsule wardrobe basics. While we don’t expect this trend to dissipate anytime soon, after all, we all need a little fashion boost right now, if you’re not someone who wears a lot of bright color clothing, opt for more straight-to-market options to trial the trend without investing too heavily. While all bright hues are welcome, runways were filled with bright greens, pinks, yellows, and orange tones, making these the most popular to buy into this spring/summer. You can also consult our what color suits me guide, for some added tips. 

Why is dopamine dressing a good idea?

So why should you try the dopamine dressing trend? Because it’s an incredibly simple way to boost your mood. As Shaikila Forbes-Bell, fashion psychologist and author of the forthcoming book Big Dress Energy, explains, “Essentially, dopamine dressing is psychological grounding to the ‘look good, feel-good’ concept. When you wear something you associate with happiness, you embody that emotion and feel happy.”

Dopamine dressing isn’t just limited to shopping bright colors though—it’s also about existing pieces that you own and have an emotional connection to. As Forbes-Bell explains, “An easy way to engage in dopamine dressing is by looking at your wardrobe and identifying the pieces that remind you of a particularly happy or rewarding time in your life. Next, see how you can style these items in a new and improved way—that way, you’re experiencing both the psychological benefits of dopamine and novelty. Dopamine dressing is a guaranteed mood booster so it’s a recommended practice at every stage of life.”

Can dopamine dressing really improve your mood?

It may be hard to believe that a brightly-colored skirt or sweater will make your feel happier, but there is science behind it. Shaikila Forbes-Bell explains what happens inside our heads when we wear bright colors or pieces we love. “Happiness stems from the chemical dopamine that mediates pleasure in the brain. It occurs in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) which is located in the midbrain and is an integral part of our brain’s reward system,” Forbes-Bell explains. “From there, it is released into the nucleus accumbens and the prefrontal cortex—the area of the brain that is linked to attention, memory, and our ability to think flexibly.”

And there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to back up the theory, too. w&h’s digital fashion editor Rivkie Baum is known for her love of colorful outfits. “While I’m as guilty as everyone else with having too many dull colors in my wardrobe, nothing cheers me up than wearing a bright color,” she told me. “I’ve recently invested in a red wool winter coat and, even when the sky is grey, I can’t help but feel an instant burst of energy every time I slip into it. I think brighter colors make you look and feel more approachable too, and it always suggests and gives confidence, even when you’re not feeling 100%.”

Dopamine dressing is a great trend for women over 40

Dopamine dressing is a particularly good trend for women over 40 to follow. Bright colors can actually boost the appearance of your skin, making you look—and likely feel—youthful. All too often, we are led to believe that after a certain age we should stick to a monochrome palette. However, dark hues can look harsh, particularly in winter when we are at our palest, and thereby wash out skin, leaving us looking grey, tired, and older. 

Bright, bold colors will not only offer cheer on the dullest of days, but, if chosen well, they’ll enhance and warm your complexion, giving your visage a new radiance that a black polo neck certainly won’t.

How to wear the dopamine dressing trend

While it may seem daunting, there’s the perfect bright color for everyone. Brunettes and those with olive skin will look great in every color including yellow and orange, which many shy away from. Blondes, redheads, and those with paler skin should experiment with vibrant blues, greens, and pink to brighten up their everyday looks. 

The key is to start slowly—add one of the best cashmere sweaters in a bright hue for a spring-ready outfit, or, dip a toe in with a brightly colored accessory. Injecting color into accessories is an easy way to start working the dopamine dressing trend into your wardrobe and a color pop bag adds interest to even the most basic t-shirt and best jeans combo—the top handbag trends 2022 are full of zingy shades. As with many of the best trends, straight-to-market brands have been quick to embrace brights, meaning that you don’t need to spend a fortune for some feel-good fashion—from Mango and Finery London to Reiss and New Look, there’s something for everyone at affordable prices.

Best dresses for dopamine dressing

© Provided by Woman&Home

Zara Green Slip Dress

RRP: $49.90 / £29.99 | Make your friends green with envy. The wrap-style draping is flattering across tummies and green is a color that works with every skin tone and hair color.

© Provided by Woman&Home

New Look Red Dress

RRP: $39.99 / £25.99 | Not only is red an instant mood booster but the retro collar detailing as well as the fit and flare cut of this New Look dress is highly flattering.

© Provided by Woman&Home

Mango Yellow Dress

RRP: $99.99 / £59.99 | This deep yellow dress is bound to bring some sunshine into your life. Try teaming with tan leather accessories for a spring-ready look.

Gallery: The Best Celebrity Hairstyles of All Time (Woman&Home)

The Best Celebrity Hairstyles of All Time

Whether you’re looking for inspiration for a night out or a new cut, or you just love to traipse down the memory lane of beauty moments, we’ve got a slew of hairstyles for your viewing pleasure. We couldn’t pick our number one favorite … can you?

Kate Bosworth, 2010

We first saw the side braid trend start at Alexander Wang’s fashion show in September 2009. Kate was the first starlet we saw wear it oh-so perfectly.

Angelina Jolie, 2009

Angie often opts for simple styles on the red carpet. But we love when she does a little something extra like with this half-up ‘do — complete with the perfect earrings.

Halle Berry, 2011

Spiky, short ‘dos are a Halle signature. It doesn’t hurt to have that face either if you’re going for a cropped cut.

Anne Hathaway, 2011

Anne changed styles many times over the course of Oscar night as one the hosts. But none topped this loose, low bun at the nape of her neck as she walked the red carpet.

Audrey Hepburn, 1961

Breakfast at Tiffany’s came out in 1961 but Audrey’s iconic updo looks just as chic today.

Beyonce, 2008

Beyoncé is one of those lucky women whose hair looks good up, down, curly and straight. This refined, side swept bun at a Grammy after-party is especially lovely.

Blake Lively, 2010

Blake’s hair is the envy of many. It’s at its most fabulous when she goes total California girl and lets it hang long and loose.

Bo Derek, 1979

Perhaps the most iconic movie hairstyle ever? Bo’s Ten braids started a serious trend.

Cameron Diaz, 2002

Cameron stepped out in a chic side pony at the Gangs of New York premiere and made it okay for the rest of us to do the same

Carey Mulligan, 2010

If ever you’re growing out your hair, look to Carey’s tiny twist as a way to get through any awkward phases.

Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, 1999

CBK’s minimalist chic style applied to her hair as well. A simple bun is sometimes all you need.

Cassie, 2009

Never would we have thought shaving one side of your head could look so fashionable.

Victoria Beckham, 2007

We regularly refer to almost any asymmetrical bob as the “Posh”. Seriously, she owns it.

Charlize Theron, 2004

Charlize has opted for a retro wave quite a few times. But never did she do it better than at the 76th Academy Awards, where she also took home a Best Actress statue.

Cher, 1970

Old-school Cher hair makes us very happy indeed.

Emma Watson, 2011

We’ve all watched her grow up on screen, and this slicked-back pixie proved Emma was not a kid anymore.

Amanda Seyfried, 2009

Amanda busted out the big guns, or should we say curls, at the Academy Awards. We’d give just about anything for hair that healthy.

Keira Knightley, 2010

Keira’s angular cut suits those cheekbones magnificently. And it couldn’t be more modern and less period.

Eve, 2000

Long before Riri went bright red, Eve was making a major color and cut statement.

Gisele Bundchen, 2008

We’d be smiling like that too if our hair looked as amazing as the Brazilian supermodel’s. It’s no wonder so many women request her look at the salon.

Grace Kelly, 1955

Grace Kelly’s sweet Oscar hair was fit for a princess, well before she actually became one.

Gwen Stefani, 2002

No one’s done more for the popularity of the pompadour than this lady.

Brigitte Bardot, 1960

If only our hair looked like this classic Bardot ‘do when we tossed it up after a long day at the office.

Jennifer Aniston, 1995

The “Rachel” launched too many copycats to count and pretty much epitomized the mid-90s.

Jennifer Lopez, 2010

Love it or hate it (we happen to love), this hair is making a statement. Say yes to the modern day beehive!

Jessica Alba, 2008

Braids as headbands are always in style — and don’t have to make you look like Heidi.

Jessica Simpson, 2003

Say what you will about her singing or her acting, but Jessica’s hairstyle rarely fails her.

Julia Roberts, 2001

We love when a star steps out of her comfort zone, as Julia did the night she won the Oscar with this super coiffed style.

Kate Middleton, 2011

Bridal hair done right. Well played, Duchess.

Kate Moss, 2001

Kate Moss can basically do no wrong style-wise in our eyes. Who else could make this bowl cut look so incredible?

Kate Winslet, 2010

Old Hollywood glamour meets modern day charm. Perfection.

Katie Holmes, 2009

Joey Potter grew up and became Mrs. Tom Cruise … and it was reflected in this blunt bob.

Gisele Bundchen, 2010

High ponytails aren’t just for the gym, they work at the Met Gala, aka the fashion Oscars, too.

Keri Russell, 1999

Keri’s pile o’ curls at the MTV Movie Awards looked fresh, easy and gorgeously natural.

Kim Basinger, 1998

A regal style on a big night (she won the Oscar!) for the former Breck girl.

Lauryn Hill, 2005

The former Fugee proves that sometimes bigger is most certainly better.

Marilyn Monroe, 1953

This classic Marilyn style is used at least once as inspiration at pretty much any event thrown in Tinseltown.

Meg Ryan, 1995

Meg Ryan’s shag even launched her hairstylist Sally Hershberger into superstardom.

Mia Farrow, 1968

Mia Farrow’s pixie cut is making a comeback in young Hollywood. See: Michelle Williams, Carey Mulligan, Emma Watson

Michelle Obama, 2010

The FLOTUS has a style that is no-muss, no-fuss. But that doesn’t make it any less chic.

Gwen Stefani, 1999

Pink hair streaks are currently having a major moment. It can all probably be traced back to the No Doubt frontwoman.

Michelle Williams, 2006

Michelle at the Oscars was picture perfect in a low side bun with perfectly placed tendrils. We didn’t think she’d ever top it…

Michelle Williams, 2010

…And then she showed up in Cannes last year with this incredible short platinum ‘do. We all wanted to chop our hair immediately upon seeing this style.

Nicole Richie, 2010

Nicole’s come a long way since her days on The Simple Life with streaky colored extensions. This just-above-the-shoulder bob is perfect for any mom on the go, celebrity or not.

Penelope Cruz, 2009

Penelope’s hair just looks like luxury, doesn’t it? We covet it, intensely.

Princess Diana, 1989

The late princess had a flip all her own. And the world loved it.

Priscilla Presley, 1967

Big hair’s been back on the runways the past couple seasons. Perhaps a pic of Priscilla made it onto the inspiration boards.

Rachel McAdams, 2005

If we had a live-in hairstylist, we’d probably wear our hair like this at least twice a week all spring and summer long.

Reese Witherspoon, 2007

Nothing says “Divorce, what divorce?” like a pop of color and some kicky bangs. When Reese hit the Globes carpet, no one was talking about her recent split with Ryan Phillipe.

Salma Hayek, 2006

This look from Salma makes us want to invest in a set of hot rollers.

Sarah Jessica Parker, 2008

SJP has rocked many a look but this one—showing the best of what extensions have to offer—is our favorite.

Sharon Stone, 1998

Sharon went short when no one else was doing it. And you know we love a ballsy broad.

Veronica Lake, 1941

We know you’ve heard the phrase Veronica Lake waves … well, these are them. And they’re fabulous.

Zooey Deschanel, 2010

The hipster meets hippie look can’t be done better than Zooey does it on stage here.

55/55 SLIDES

Best tops for dopamine dressing

© Provided by Woman&Home

Reiss Blue Boho Blouse

RRP: $240 / £148 | Workwear doesn’t have to be bland. Not only will this bright blue blouse brighten your day, but it’s also smart enough to be seen in the boardroom.

© Provided by Woman&Home

River Island Satin Blouse

RRP: $60 / £32 | Dip a toe into bright-colored waters with this satin tie-waist blouse. The jeweled buttons give this sleek shirt some added luxe.

© Provided by Woman&Home

Next Coral Crew Neck Jumper

RRP: $23 / £16 | Team this simple coral crew neck jumper with white jeans for a spring style that will see your confidence blossom instantly. 

Best bottoms for dopamine dressing

© Provided by Woman&Home

Kitri Apple Green Slip Skirt

RRP: $198 / £115 | A classic slip skirt won’t ever date—this apple green refresh from cool-girl label Kitri will give you a get-up-and-go mood boost.

© Provided by Woman&Home

Finery Blue Tailored Trousers

RRP: £49 (UK only) | These Finery trousers in French Blue sit high on the waist for a flattering fit. Try adding a silky camisole and blazer for a stylish evening look.

Dopamine Dressing was the bright color clothing trend shown on the catwalk © Provided by Woman&Home Dopamine Dressing was the bright color clothing trend shown on the catwalk

Jacquemus Pink Flared Trousers

RRP: $565 / £355 | You don’t have to wait until Wednesday to wear these pink trousers. Pair with a crisp white shirt and the best designer heels for a head-turning look.

Best shoes for dopamine dressing

© Provided by Woman&Home

Kate Spade Pink Shoes

RRP: $218 / £215 | Let your feet do the talking with these stylish flats from Kate Spade. They’re a great starting point for how to style straight leg jeans—just add a white shirt and blazer for a pulled-together look.

© Provided by Woman&Home

Kurt Geiger Sandals

RRP: $196 / £169 | Ever wondered how to dress like Carrie Bradshaw? These sequin Kensington sandals from Kurt Geiger London wouldn’t look out of place in Carrie’s wardrobe. We love the glitz for all-year glam. 

© Provided by Woman&Home

Vans Red High Tops

RRP: $70 / £75 | Dopamine Dressing is great for casual style too. Wondering how to style Vans? These bright high tops are a great alternative to your best white trainers—wear with a bright midi dress for nonchalant cool. 

Best bags for dopamine dressing

© Provided by Woman&Home

Coach Pillow Tabby Bag

RRP: $395 / £395 | One of this season’s most sought-after handbags, you’ll want to hug Coach’s Pillow Tabby bag. The modern squishy take on a 1970s archive classic is available in five sugary pastel hues.

© Provided by Woman&Home

Boden Mustard Velvet Bag

RRP: $110 / £80 | We challenge you not to have your mood lifted by this gorgeous handbag from Boden. Mustard velvet? Yes. Pink Tassel? Yes. Sign us up. Ideal for special occasions, uplift your favorite little black dress.

© Provided by Woman&Home

Gucci Marmont Matelassé Bag

RRP: $1,550 / £1,200 | Looking to invest in the best Gucci handbags? You can’t go wrong with Gucci’s Marmont family. This timeless shoulder bag gives us full-on spring feels with this sky blue colorway.


By fashonana

Fashonana is a fashion blog for the fashionable woman of this era.

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