We’ve looked at serotonin-boosting food, and happiness workouts, but did you know that the so-called dopamine dressing trend, which is all about fashion choices that make you feel happy, actually has its roots in solid scientific research? – In other words, wearing “happy clothes” genuinely can make you feel happier.
So-called dopamine dressing is everywhere this season. Based on the idea that wearing overtly fun clothes can help lift your mood in depressing times, it begs the question: can wearing “happy clothes” really make us more happy?
The fashion industry is certainly trying to convince us that it can be done. But does the idea hold water? In a word: yes. But it’s not necessarily about dressing as an Opal Fruit. According to Carolyn Mair, a psychologist who has developed an MA course in fashion psychology at the London College of Fashion, it’s as much about you – and what meaning you believe your clothes have – as it is about the clothes.
Mair says that, while there’s some “less than scientific evidence” to suggest certain colours lift your mood, whether or not La La Land yellow will chirp you up is actually down to how you see that colour.
Colour is culturally loaded – in the UK, we wear black for mourning; in China, it’s white. So, doing like Emma Stone will lift you only “if you believe that wearing a certain colour – it doesn’t need to be bright yellow, it could be black – lifts your mood.”
And it can be potent: “When people believe in the symbolic meaning of their clothes, it can affect their cognitive processes, and part of those are your emotions.”
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