After two long years of dressing down, we’re so ready to tear off our dingy T-shirts and tattered pajama bottoms and put on something with pizazz.
And it turns out, the team here at RetailMeNot are not the only ones. As we shake off the dust of 2021, a colorful new fashion trend has emerged in 2022: dopamine dressing.
What Does Dopamine Dressing Mean?
Though it began trending in the aftermath of the pandemic, the idea of dopamine dressing — or the theory that we can influence our happiness and confidence by the way we dress — has been the subject of psychological research since 2012.
What exactly does dopamine dressing mean? U.S. fashion psychologist Dawnn Karen explained dopamine dressing to Vogue Australia as “dressing to optimize your mood.” Essentially, dopamine dressing comes down to wearing clothing that makes you feel good. For many of us, this means bright, happy colors. Certain colors are associated with certain emotions — like blue for calmness and red for excitement.
But, of course, the emotional responses that different colors inspire are different for each of us. For example, you might associate black with confidence and power, and feel happier wearing black clothing as a result — even though black isn’t necessarily thought of as bright and cheerful like traditional dopamine colors. Really, the only rule of dopamine dressing, then, is you should try to wear clothing that makes you feel good.
That said, speaking generally, vibrant colors and creative looks induce sensory pleasure in humans. As fashion psychologist Shakaila Forbes-Bell explains to Harper’s Bazaar, “The pandemic has forced many of us to embrace utilitarian dressing, which places practicality over aesthetics. Humans crave novelty so I expect many of us will embrace joyful dressing and creative aesthetics during the initial post-lockdown period.”
Get the Dopamine Fashion Trend 2022 With These 16 Picks
Ready to add a little joyfulness to your wardrobe? Get the dopamine fashion trend 2022 with these imaginative, inspired and eye-catching picks:
1. Seaside to Shore Strapless Two-Piece Jumpsuit
Why this Seaside to Shore turquoise jumpsuit? In addition to making you look like Jasmine from “Aladdin,” the two-piece turns heads with its bright blue hue, which is one of the classic dopamine colors thought to promote feelings of relaxation and calm.
Price: $79 at Lulus
2. Endless Summer: The Convertible Skirt
There’s a lot to be happy about with this midiskirt: Not only is it a cheery, tropical papaya color, but also, if you wear it higher on your body, the ruffled skirt transforms into a flowy strapless dress or tunic. In other words, it’s three different looks in one.
Price: $88 at Free People
3. ASOS DESIGN Relaxed Wide Leg Flare Suit
Online retailer ASOS is kind of a one-stop for dopamine fashion. The brand has been liberal with neon colors and bold prints since before dopamine dressing was cool. Their new Spring Brights collection kind of embodies the spirit of dopamine dressing ASOS. Case and point: this blazer pantsuit in lavender — one of our favorite dopamine colors.
4. Sunshine State of Mind Earrings
When it comes to happy, energizing colors, yellow is a hard one to beat. The aptly named Sunshine State of Mind earrings from Lobe Love can instantly transform your outfit and mood with a bold pop of color.
Price: $22 at Lobe Love
5. UO Martina Linen Low-Rise Trouser Pant
It’s almost impossible not to feel some pep in your step when you’re walking around in these vibrant, swishy comfortable pants. They’re extra roomy and made from linen, so you can prance, climb and frolic while keeping nice and cool.
Price: $69 at Urban Outfitters
6. Celebrating Sunshine Swing Dress
ModCloth is another unofficial purveyor of dopamine dressing-inspired looks. The Trippy Tree Frogs Mini Dress from Australian brand Dangerfield is a perfect example, with its allover, whimsical tree frog print. No matter how you feel about amphibians, it’s a design that’s guaranteed to make you smile.
Price: $74.99 at ModCloth
7. Vans Old Skool Pride Platform Sneakers
Try wearing sliding into these multicolored sneaks and not smiling. Plus, they’re Vans, so in addition to a hit of dopamine, you can count on them delivering on comfort and quality.
8. Wild Fable Sleeveless Sweater Knit Dress
This plus-size sweater knit dress from Target is made from soft, stretchy, summer and spring weather-friendly cotton that is comfy and breathable. Best of all, it comes in breezy sorbet-inspired rainbow colors.
Price: $22.40 at Target
9. Tie-Dye Velvet Scrunchies for Hair
In case you haven’t heard:h The scrunchie is back! The iconic ‘90s hair accessory is superior to regular hair ties in many ways. For starters, they’re better for your hair and don’t leave dents or creases. For seconders, scrunchies can be coordinated to your outfit and come in dopamine-releasing colors — like this 12-piece collection of tie-dye velvet scrunchies.
Price: $8.99 at Amazon
10. Poplin Ruffle One Shoulder Bodysuit
This bodysuit stands out with its poplin ruffled detail and one-shoulder design. Paired with jeans, this golden top will brighten up any room you walk into.
Price: $65 at Express
11. Splash Lashes: Flower Power XL Lash
Decorated with tiny rainbow flower decals, these enchanting lashes are an Instagram filter that came to life. In addition to flowers, the faux minx lashes are handmade with stars, butterflies, hearts and sparkles. So magical.
Price: $18.99 at Splash Lashes
12. Brushed Shaker-Stitch Cardigan Sweater
SpongeBob sang it best: “The best time to wear a striped sweater is all the time.” With its colorful striped print and soft, shaker-stitch yarn, this sweater can be tossed on over a T-shirt or dress to keep you cozy in colder weather and over-air-conditioned offices.
Price: $44.99 at Old Navy
13. Ruffle Sleeve Tiered Dress
The color of the sky on a summer day and oh-so-soft, this ruffle dress is downright dreamy. It’s made in Los Angeles by a local fashion company dedicated to designing sustainable, ethically sourced clothing, so you can feel extra good when you’re wearing it.
14. Daisy Hair Clips
We like these 12 adorable flower clips because of their versatility: You can arrange them around your hair like a daisy chair or place them whimsically about your locks or braid so it looks like you’ve been rolling around in a daisy field.
Price: $8.20 at Amazon
15. Long-sleeved Mesh Dress
This one-of-a-kind mesh dress showcases a mountainous vista right before sunset. Every time you look at yourself in the mirror, you can practically hear the rustling trees and taste the fresh mountain air. Practically.
Price: $24.99 at H&M
16. Bow Crop Top
It’s a bow. It’s a crop top. It’s bright pink and fabulous, and it’s made from recycled fabrics. The straps are adjustable Pair it with a fabulous pair of jeans or a midi skirt — the world is your oyster.
Price: $35.90 at Zara