Dopamine dressing – why embracing colour in your wardrobe can bring happiness

Whether you want to revamp your whole wardrobe with a rainbow of patterns or simply want to add a pop of playful colour with accessories, the concept of dopamine dressing can help you make the most of your clothing to brighten up your day...

Some items have been gifted

Not long ago, I read A Colourful Dose of Optimism by Jules Standish. Little did I know that it was going to have such a profound impact on my life. In fact, I’ve recently reviewed the book in my blog post on 3 books to bring creativity, colour and purpose into your life so be sure to check that out.

Jules Standish is one of the UK’s top colour experts and is Head of Colour at the London College of Style. The tagline of the book is ‘prescribe your own happy colours to feel good now’ and the key takeaway from the book is to understand colour theory and apply it to all aspects of your life, home and wardrobe for an instant mood boost.

I first read the book from an interior design point of view and got the chance to interview Jules for an article on positivity in the home for issue 75 of Reclaim magazine. I instantly wanted to make changes in my home to reflect the positive colour theory suggestions she made for creating a calm and happy home.

After reupholstering my sofa with colourful new cushions and adding pops of yellow, orange and turquoise in my kitchen, my thoughts turned to my wardrobe. If simply adding a few splashes of colour could make me feel so much happier at home, what kind of impact could changing my wardrobe have?

Well, it turns out, A LOT. I’ve never been the kind of person who wore a lot of colours. Although I loved floral prints and star patterns, I mostly stuck to my usual in-the-background hues of grey, navy, black and khaki. Does this sound like you?

While those colours are ideal as neutral bases for an outfit, I’ve learnt from Jules that adding vibrant hues and popping patterns to these basics is the key to feeling more joy, hope and optimism in our daily life. Apparently, colour can make you feel more confident, help you wow at work and even bring more peace and happiness to your lounging-at-home comfort dressing.

So I set about finding some pieces that’ll fit into my existing wardrobe and give me a little splash of colour where I need it. I found it’s easiest to start small with accessories, such as some colourful frames from a UK-based same day glasses brand, and then got the confidence to try some bright clothing. You know I’m not a big spender and I didn’t want to replace my perfectly good wardrobe – I just needed to add a couple of extra pieces that are packed with colour, pattern or both to elevate my existing pieces.

Here, I’ve worked with Dancing Leopard to pull together the ultimate colourful looks – it’s not just about using lots of vibrant colour and clashing them together (although you are welcome to do so if that’s what makes you happy!) but it’s also about adding touchable texture and sleek fabrics that bring a luxurious feel to your every day. This lightweight and floaty wrap dress and glittery knit are two happiness-bringing examples of this.

But don’t worry if you thought that most colours didn’t suit you, this technique is still for you – it’s probably that you’re looking at the wrong tone of colour, rather than not being able to wear it. So For example, I didn’t think that I could wear yellow but I’ve learnt that I’m a summer palette so, if I want to try yellow, there are pastel versions that’ll look lovely against my pale skin.

Apparently, we all have a seasonal palette of colours that suits us best and it’s based on our hair, eyes and skin tone. The key is to hold the colour up to your face and, if it makes your skin glow, your eyes sparkle and makes you smile, it’s a good colour for you. If it’s not a good colour, it’ll drain the natural colour from your face and you’ll know it – trust your instincts.

Also, you don’t have to stick to solid colours. Pattern is equally important as it can pull together a range of pieces to create a cohesive look – for example, this vibrant multi-colour shirt features the right tones of pink to coordinate with my existing tweed jacket and my skin tone, bringing the whole look together.

A pattern can be so much fun that it uplifts your spirits, which is the whole point of dopamine dressing. Dancing Leopard’s prints are all unique and hand-drawn by their designers, with new popping patterns and colourways released all the time.

By the way, there’s no need to forgo black if it’s one of your favourites. For some people, black is actually part of their seasonal colour palette but, for others, it’s absolutely fine to wear black away from your face or as a neutral basic. I’ve personally found that black with an injection of vibrant pattern is the ultimate happy-look for me and I can’t get enough of wearing these Jonah dresses from Dancing Leopard.

I hope this article will inspire you to add some more colour and pattern to your wardrobe and to perhaps inject a little extra joy into your life too. Please let me know your favourite colourful pieces in the comments below and I’d love to hear about the items you’re going to add to your own wardrobe to bring a hit of dopamine to your day.

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Some items in this blog post have been gifted to me and the pink links indicate a gifted product, affiliate link or information source. All thoughts and opinions in this post are based on my own experience and I am not responsible for your experience 🙂

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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