We deconstruct Dopamine Dressing

Published on 27 April 2022
by ASI Team
Category: Industry Insights

You most likely have already heard of Dopamine Dressing. If not, you would’ve at least witnessed the trend this phrase describes in some form – whether that be in street style or in a curated reel on social media. In times like these, when the world can feel like it’s upside down or out of sorts, we often turn to fashion to change our outlook or mood. For the fashion history buffs, we can look at the pandemic as our World War II and Dopamine Dressing is our Golden Age of Couture. But what does the term actually mean (apart from being a cute alliteration)?

We sat down with our founder, Lauren Di Bartolo, to pick her brain and deconstruct the latest buzz term in the fashion industry.

Simply put – what is Dopamine Dressing?

In a nutshell, it’s about wearing clothes that make us feel good. But it’s also about expression and bringing intention to what we buy and clothe ourselves in. 

So we’re not just talking about bright and happy colours, but the way fabrics feel on our bodies, and the way a garment can feel that’s been ethically made with sustainability in mind. It’s about values.

Is it a new concept, or just a new name for a pre-existing one?

I think we’ve always applied dopamine dressing but without the name. It’s not dissimilar to someone getting home from work and putting on more comfortable clothes to impact their mood, as well as separate work and play. Clothes have the ability to transport us to a different feeling. As long as we’ve documented them, clothes have been a form of expression. Women burned their bras in the 60’s as protest, and the term ‘flower power’ exists in direct retaliation to the Vietnam War. Almost every moment in history, pandemic or otherwise, is marked with a change in the fashion landscape as well.

Why do you think it’s popped up now?

As we mark a little over 2 years since Covid became part of our world, it’s about abandoning the wardrobe we donned when staying in and WFH. We’re understanding the role that our clothes have, as well as their power to impact our psychology and mood.

I was recently part of a panel for Melbourne Fashion Festival where I spoke on the psychology of fashion. We explored just how extensively our clothes can affect almost every area of our lives, not only on our mood but most importantly our sense of self. 

As a Stylist, how do you suggest people take part in this trend?

Start looking for clothes that help write the next chapter of your story, not the one you’ve already written. It’s about focusing on intention. We have a function of the brain called the Reticular Activating System, which is responsible for finding more of the same style we’ve worn before – but our lives change and evolve and so our style should too.

Look for styles that help elevate your mood and bring your energy up, whether that be through their colour, design, texture or the process of their creation – and bring them into your wardrobe to make them part of your story.


Intrigued in the psychology of fashion? We teach all that and more in our Certificate of Personal Styling course. Head here to find our next intake dates.


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