The late fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld once said that “fashion is the last step before pantyhose”.
I may have tried to internalize this as an impressionable, fashion-obsessed teenager, but I never quite got around to it.
At 27, I am always at the mercy of trends.
And that’s why my wardrobe has gone from all my black, black and more black clothes, to basically nothing but brightly colored clothes over the last decade.
As Miranda Priestly stated in her searing, cerulean monologue Devil Wears Prada, it’s virtually impossible to make fashion choices that aren’t informed by the fashion industry.
Even though I hadn’t realized that I had subconsciously bought into the dopamine fashion trend until I saw it described as such on social media, in hindsight I had completely fallen for it.
Attention-grabbing, bright colors and loud prints are supreme on platforms like Instagram and TikTok, where fashion brands and their influencers use the idea that our moods are boosted just by wearing bright colors to sell. clothes.
A brand post that appeared on my feed recently urged followers, “Dress with the intention of boosting your mood, always! Enjoy extra joy with our new and fabulous [bright item of clothing]. It’s sure to have you buzzing all week.”
TL; DR, bright colors are all the rage and the idea that they are good for us has spread to the masses. (I am part of the mass).
But brighter colors don’t necessarily mean more happiness
The idea that bright colors will make us all happier is a bit too simplistic according to James Collett, lecturer in psychology at RMIT University’s School of Health and Biomedical Sciences.
“While there are significant cross-cultural differences, there are many universalities in color perception and the connection between color and emotion,” he explains.
“Thinking broadly, it’s true that bright colors are generally going to be associated with happiness and positivity.
“[But] research investigating the link between fashion and our mental, emotional and motivational states suggests that the effect of light-coloured clothing is not something so automatic that we can simply put on a shade lighter than normal and feel immediately better in our day.”
Dr Collett says this is because there are other important considerations we need to think about here – how we perceive colors always varies on an individual level, and we need more clothing than aesthetics .
Ailsa Weaver, a research fellow and doctoral student at UTS School of Design, agrees.
Ms. Weaver says we need to feel comfortable and confident in the clothes we wear, as well as how they look.
That’s why the question of what the “dopaminergic band-aid” is will be different for each of us — and why she suggests thinking about the trend differently than how it’s portrayed on social media.
“‘Dopamine dressing’ is a buzz term coined in popular discussions around the turn of the 2010s, but it’s really just a feel-good attire,” she explains.
“For me, it fits into the phenomenological concept of fashion – so how fashion makes us feel as individuals.”
So how could you tap into what wellness apparel is for you?
Both experts recommend approaching this question the Marie Kondo way: what makes you happy in terms of look, feel, fit, timing, and overall comfort?
“Think about your fashion choices just like you would any other aspect of your life. If you feel good in certain outfits or pieces, that’s fine, keep doing it,” advises Dr Collett .
“Acknowledge that if it doesn’t feel authentic to you, maybe it just doesn’t belong in your wardrobe.”
Trends can only take us so far, says Weaver.
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