Fashion, Finding your style, Hot topics, Mental Health, Self care

Not Feeling Confident In Your Clothes? You Should Try Dopamine Dressing

what is dopamine dressing

This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s spring editorial intern Katelyn Rodriguez. Find her on Instagram at @katelynrodwrites. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at

Have you been wanting to upgrade your wardrobe for a while, but don’t know where to start? Well, with spring finally upon us and summer quickly approaching, now is the perfect time to put away your winter staples and bring out your seasonal looks. It is also a great time to reconsider if how you’re dressing aligns with your personality. In case you haven’t seen the dopamine dressing trend on social media, here is all you need to know about the latest hot topic in the world of influencer fashion.

The origins of dopamine dressing

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If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably asking yourself ‘what is dopamine dressing?’ Well, the term dopamine dressing was coined by fashion psychologist Dr. Dawnn Karen in her 2020 book “Dress Your Best Life.” It is basically defined by finding and wearing clothing that makes you feel happy and thus releases the feel-good chemical dopamine in your brain. Whether it be bright colors, bold patterns or a statement shoe, dopamine can be found in almost everything that makes you feel good. This trend took root during the pandemic and is still seen being utilized in 2023, especially in the world of fashion. Studies have even been conducted regarding dressing for happiness long before the term dopamine dressing was coined. According to an article by Harper’s Bazaar, “This concept of wearing certain clothes to make us happier is something which Professor Karen Pine from the University of Hertfordshire decided to investigate in 2012. Pine undertook a study into this idea of ‘dopamine dressing’ and found that when participants wore clothes of symbolic value to them, their perceived confidence increased.” This shows that this trend has been around for a while before it became popular in mainstream media and has inspired people to dress the way they feel is most authentic to themselves.

How to start your dopamine dressing journey

Dopamine dressing looks different for everyone based on the styles that make them feel good. Definitely start off by looking for clothes you already own that make you feel confident and happy, whether it be patterns, colors or basics. If you need some inspiration, Pinterest and TikTok are great sources, especially if bold and bright colors are your vibe. An article by Self recommends focusing on the following five tips when beginning your dopamine dressing journey: “1. Take note of how certain items make you feel, 2. Choose colors that excite you, 3. Experiment with textures, 4. Capture your personality with accessories or undergarments and 5. Play dress-up.” I remember wondering ‘what is dopamine dressing’ before I started my journey with the trend. Since then it has allowed me to branch out of the fashion comfort zone that I had built for myself during the pandemic. I have experimented with different colors and styles and have found pieces that have helped me build my own confidence and feel comfortable in my skin.

Examples of dopamine dressing

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Bright Colors

When it comes to dopamine dressing, the first thing that pops into some people’s heads is bright neon colors. For some, colors like these make them extremely happy and confident in their skin. However, you might surprise yourself by experimenting with colors outside of your comfort zone.

Textures & Patterns

Textures and patterns are another fashion staple associated with dopamine dressing. I’ve found that it’s relatively easy to find patterns that aren’t too bold and make me feel confident, such as checkered slacks or floral prints. However, it’s also easy to keep different patterns in neutral tones if that’s what makes you feel good.


While it can be hard to find neutral outfit inspiration in the social media realm of dopamine dressing, here are two options. Whether you’re looking for neutrals in terms of colors or patterns, dopamine dressing is whatever you want it to be. Adding a pop of color with your shoes, bag, shirt or sunglasses is a great and easy option for spicing any neutral outfit up.

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At the end of the day, dopamine dressing is all about wearing what makes you feel good! Whether you’re a seasoned dopamine dresser or are looking to try the trend, there is no shame in adding a little more happiness to your life. Fashion is all about creativity and uniqueness, so wear those bold colors, statement pieces or patterns. Don’t let fear of judgment keep you from wearing what makes you feel confident.

Are you actively using the dopamine dressing method? Let us know how it has worked for you in the comments!

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