Ask a 5 year old to choose their outfit on any given day, and you’re likely to end up with a glorious mashup of clothing and accessories. Think fairy wings, wellington boots, clashing leggins and a much loved jumper.
The things a toddler might choose to wear aren't based on what's fashionable, they aren't hoping to impress others and they aren't dressing to make themselves look taller, skinnier or to appear more tasteful, they are choosing items based on what makes them happy.
Read on to learn more about dopamine dressing...
January is a famously depressing month. With the fun and excitement of Christmas and New Year already a distant memory combined with cold, gloomy days and a sometimes overwhelming-feeling year yawning out in front of us, it’s no wonder that January can be a tough month to get through.
What better time than now then to embrace Dopamine dressing!
What is Dopamine?
Dopamine is a feel-good brain chemical that releases in response to pleasurable stimuli. Whenever you feel good, dopamine is part of that mix.
As humans we are hard-wired pleasure seekers, so anything that lights up the pleasure centres of our brain is likely to result in behaviours that we associate with pleasure and feeling good.
We can hack our mood to a certain extent, but actively doing things that make us happy and by being mindful and understanding the little things that bring joy to your lives, we can help to bolster our levels of happiness.
Anything from eating a bar of chocolate to a loving embrace, playing with a pet or gazing in awe at a natural wonder can induce a dopamine hit. So how does this relate to dressing?
Wearing things that make you happy
Dopamine dressing means wearing things that make you happy, things that make you feel good and that could mean something different for everyone.
It could be a feeling of warmth and comfort that makes you feel good, which might translate into fluffy Emu slippers, joggers and a slouchy hoody. It could be reverting back to your Goth-teen self or simply wearing bolder patterns after wearing plain dark colours for most of your adult life.
For others it could mean satisfying their urge for bright colours and crazy prints, challenging gender norms or dressing like everyday is Glastonbury festival.
Regardless, for a healthy approach to dopamine dressing, your happiness should come from within and shouldn’t be influenced by or afraid of what others think of you.
A great exercise you can do is to think about what makes you truly happy or what would make you truly happy if you didn’t have to consider fashion, social conventions, your age and what’s deemed ‘appropriate’ at your age as well as factors like what other people might think or say about your choices or a fear of being judged negatively.
Imagine being free of all of those constraints and then think about the colours, prints, styles of clothing, textures and so on that bring you joy. Taste does not come into it, you’re making decisions based on the desires of your true authentic self!
How do I Dopamine dress?
Throw out the rule book because the only thing that matters is choosing to adorn yourself in things that bring you personal joy. Trends, fashion and the opinions of others don’t get a look in.
William Morris is famously quoted for saying “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful” and this can easily be transferred to apply to your wardrobe.
Dopamine dressing encourages you to shine bright like the vibrant individual that you are, helping you inject a little bit more happiness into your day!
Dopamine dressing 101
- Don’t be a slave to trends
- Dress for your authentic self, not for others
- Choose things that make you smile and bring you joy
- Start small if you don’t feel confident enough to make a bigger statement. Try choosing little things like bags, socks and jewellery that make you happy
- Don’t forget that the dopamine dressing concept can apply to your nails, hair and makeup too!
- Don’t feel guilty about dressing for comfort – little can be more joy-sapping than wearing uncomfortable, restrictive clothing in the name of fashion or just to keep up appearances
- Get creative – handmake and upcycle, buy from charity shops and support small businesses who make clothing and accessories that make you smile
- Experiment with bright colours and bold prints, vintage and retro looks
- Remember that the opinion of other people just doesn’t matter
- Don’t judge or over analyse yourself – whatever you like, you like and that’s that!
- Open up creatively – high street shops often carry pretty dull and generic clothing and accessories so turn to local artisan markets, small boutiques and places like Etsy to find more interesting and individual things that you love
If in doubt, stop and ask yourself “would my young carefree-self love this?” if the answer is yes, that’s all the permission you need because there is nothing more freeing and happiness-inducing than being your authentic self.
Whatever you like to wear, Holé button covers can help keep your clothing damage-free, minimising the chance of little holes appearing in your tops.