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Does Dopamine Dressing Really Work?

Color has a lot of power in the world of fashion, but does it really impact one's emotions? The trend of "dopamine dressing" encourages people to try on bright clothes in order to elevate their mood and explore their usage of color. This trend has always piqued my interest, and after stumbling upon a recent bout of depression, I decided to try my luck with dopamine dressing.

My wardrobe is full of pastels and powdery colors, which personally bring me joy, but don't quite follow the spirit of this trend. After digging through my drawers, I stumbled on a set of seafoam green pants, a gorgeous 80s ski sweater, and a few accessories to match. When I first put this outfit on, I'll admit that I felt a little silly. However, as my day progressed, my peers and even a few strangers stopped me to speak praise to my affinity for color.

"Your sweater is so dope!" was heard on 43rd and Lexington.

"I love the color!" a passerby said near the corner of Orchard and Canal.

"Wow!" someone mouthed at the intersection of Grand and Chrystie.

This trend isn't all about the perception of myself by others, however. The purpose of this was to discover if wearing these clothes elevated my mood. Personally, I love attention, so the compliments on the street certainly didn't hurt. That being said, I think that wearing the clothes that I typically would wear sparks more joy, as a compliment on my personal style is much more valuable than a comment on an outfit that I'm simply wearing that day.

The second day I tried dopamine dressing, I tried it a little more in my own style. The colors were still bright, but this time I tried out tones that are more typical of my personal wardrobe. Purple and pink pastels danced with one another in an outfit that made me feel truly myself without entirely throwing the concept of dopamine dressing to the side.

This day, I wore a pink pleated skirt with a pastel purple sweater and beret. I paired this with a pink bow bag and a Susan Alexandra Pet Pouchet. This outfit felt more quintessentially "me," and those around me that day really seemed to take notice.

"Those colors really are something!"

"I love both of those bags so much!"

The compliments heard walking around weren't much different from the first attempt at dopamine dressing, but they definitely felt better. Possibly because I was prouder of the outfit I was wearing, or maybe the colors really did do their job in bringing me the happiness I sought.

Perhaps the trend that we call "dopamine dressing" should be less about color and more about just wearing what makes us personally happy. While wearing a bright outfit engendered moments of pleasure and joy throughout my day, wearing clothing that I felt personally connected to had a much higher impact. While clothing can impact our emotions, an outfit that instills confidence and sense of self will have a much more significant effect than something that is simply visibly bright.

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