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So, What's Dopamine Dressing?

So, What's Dopamine Dressing?
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Over the past year, we had to try a little harder than usual to “spark joy.” While in the past, many relied on nights out with friends, concerts, and travel (the list goes on, really) for a mood boost, COVID’s restrictions made that seemingly impossible – but what’s life without joy?

So, it was time to get creative, and one of the results we as a society subliminally created was “dopamine dressing.” It’s exactly as it sounds: dressing in a manner to, well, spark some much needed joy and actually feel good. And what’s even more interesting about this concept is that it looks a bit different for everyone; it can be as classic as quite literally wearing a bright color to chemically cause a shift to happiness in your brain, sporting the logo of your favorite coffee shop that needs some support, or pulling out that fabulous little dress you haven’t worn in years.

Even with vaccine distribution and a sense of normalcy slowly returning, this notion of dressing isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s only getting stronger as now we can finally show off that ‘fit in real life rather than just on the ‘Gram.

Read on as we explore three notable ways to convey this newfound approach to dressing.

Brighten Your Day

The exploration of how color affects mood is nothing new; from the phrase “feeling blue” to yellow having a connection to positivity, and so on. In an interview in Harper’s BAZAAR UK, Shakaila Forbes-Bell (a fashion psychologist, consultant and founder of Fashion Is Psychology) goes on to explain color interpretations, “There are some interpretations of colors that are universal,” she says. “...but happiness is too subjective an experience to be pinned down to one color.”

So, we may not be able to pin happiness to one color across the globe, but there is a notion that bright, punchy hues equate to a sense of playfulness, the spirit of sunny seasons, and undeniable joy –– and this has certainly been reflective in our purchasing decisions as of late.

For example, interest in shades of green have rapidly risen throughout the pandemic. In the past year, the sold-out percentage of green apparel has gone from 10% in May 2020 to 25% in May 2021. Other buzzy colors this season have been hot pink (currently at a 24% sold-out rate) and shades of yellow (just below the others at a 21% sold-out rate) that have been performing at trendsetting retailers and making a statement per the influencer set.

Make it Meaningful

Another form of dopamine dressing incorporates prints, graphics or details that the wearer relates to on a meaningful level. This can mean supporting local businesses with your purchasing decisions and repping it on a tote bag, wearing a nostalgia-sparking graphic of your go-to vacation spot, or promoting a band you love.

We can also look at this approach through jewelry; charm jewelry has been on the rise and is the perfect way to showcase personality and materialize a wearer’s interests in a high-visibility manner. Currently, charm jewelry is being introduced at a rate of 15%, while in May 2020 it only made up 3% of the assortment. If you’re a StyleSage subscriber, you can also check out our recent trend report on this for Men’s and Women’s here.

Feelin’ Good

Look good, feel good, right? It’s actually a valid statement. While “looking good” can be notably different from one person to the next, the sentiment remains true. We all have that perfect outfit combination or piece we never get to wear quite enough that puts a little pep in our step.

As consumers continue to reignite their pre-pandemic shopping habits, they will be opting for pieces that spark this mindset. For one wearer, that might be a feminine dress a la Regencycore and for another, that may be investing in “going out” apparel that makes them feel sexy and confident for their first appearance back at a bar.

For example, renditions of the Cult Gaia Serita dress are currently sweeping Instagram – with its flattering silhouette and flirty cut-outs, it only makes sense why this would be a fast favorite. Across the board, apparel with cut-outs are performing at a 15% sold-out rate in May 2021 while they were only at 11% in May 2020. Other indications of this mindset are the interest in crop tops, platform heels, corsets, and midriff floss which we’ve outlined in the Trend Reports section for StyleSage subscribers.

Don’t know about you, but we’re looking forward to our “hot vax” summer (wardrobe)!

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