'Dopamine dressing' is about using a colourful wardrobe to boost happiness


"Dopamine dressing" could help boost your mood thanks to colourful clothes. Photo: AFP

Feeling flat? Just like exercise or sex, fashion could also have the power to boost morale and mood, and to give us the energy that's sometimes lacking when it's time to start the day.

This is what's known as "dopamine dressing", and it's been top of the trends since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Music, exercise, sex and even food can have beneficial effects on the brain, as many studies have shown. But, although it has not yet been scientifically proven, fashion could also have an effect on a neurotransmitter called dopamine that's often called the happiness or feel-good hormone.

Basically, an outfit with bright colours could improve morale, give a boost to people lacking energy, or simply put the average person in a good mood.

Originating during the Covid-19 pandemic – a time characterised by prevailing gloom – this trend is known as "dopamine dressing", and could help you see the sunnier side of life more easily.

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Colour to lift your mood

Researchers at France's National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) have described dopamine as a chemical substance used as a neurotransmitter that produces a state of satisfaction.

While a lack of dopamine can lead to a drop in motivation, mood swings or significant fatigue, it is possible to naturally boost its production through certain foods rich in tyrosine, such as avocado, banana, and of course chocolate.

Exercise or exposure to sunlight, as well as enjoying certain activities like listening to music or simply stroking an animal, can produce the same effect too.

But chromatherapy – or colour therapy – could also promote happiness.

And this can potentially be achieved through fashion, through the colours and prints that we choose to wear each day.

The principle of "dopamine dressing" is quite simple to apply to everyday life since it simply involves mixing and matching colourful, bright and vibrant clothes.

Think pink, yellow, orange, red, blue, green and, if possible, neon or fluorescent shades – colour blocking in all its glory. No matter what combinations you choose – and feel free to go wild – the idea is to shun dull colours like black, gray or brown, which are much less fun and exciting.

It is also possible to pick all kinds of colourful prints, to add even more vibrancy and energy to your outfit of the day.

It's a riot of colours that many fashion fans are convinced can boost morale.

While no scientific study has established a link between our clothing choices and our mood, researchers have found a relationship between the colour blue and happiness.

A study conducted by scientists at the University of Sussex, reported by the Daily Mail in 2009, reveals that blue could, in fact, stimulate the happiness hormone, reduce stress, and even improve self-confidence.

Blue is reportedly a perfect pick-me-up for both men and women, even if the latter could also benefit from purple and orange.

Time for a wardrobe overhaul, perhaps?

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Using makeup for a boost

Colour could well and truly have an influence on the brain. And this has not escaped the attention of social media users, who have been quick to extend the concept of "dopamine dressing" to makeup.

As such, "dopamine beauty" is all about using colourful makeup to stimulate the production of dopamine, to boost happy feelings.

This could involve using eyeshadows in bold hues, for example, adding a touch of colourful eyeliner, or using a bright blush or a vibrant lipstick shade.

Without going overboard, this kind of beauty look could boost your energy and lift your mood to help you face each new day.

While scientists are yet to prove this hypothesis, social network users seem to have adopted the idea wholeheartedly.

On TikTok, the #dopaminebeauty hashtag already has several hundreds of thousands of views, while the #dopamine hashtag has more than 500 million, reflecting the interest people have in stimulating this happy hormone. – AFP Relaxnews

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fashion , trends , colour blocking


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