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How ‘dopamine dressing’ became TikTok’s latest happiness hack

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“Dopamine dressing” is the hottest fashion trend ruling TikTok, where people are executing over-the-top, vibrant outfits in an effort to add joy to their wardrobe.

While #dopaminedressing tops 25.6 million views on the app, Google searches for the colorful craze began to soar this month — and A-listers have even graced the red carpet in neon hues.

Fashion psychologist Dr. Dawnn Karen, who coined the term, swears by dopamine dressing as the key to unlocking happiness through clothing.

“Typically, we’re dressing for external factors — the weather, other people, special events. During the pandemic, there was a shift that occurred. Since no one was around to tell you what to wear, you gave yourself permission to find styles that make you happy,” Karen told the “Today” show. “This isn’t medicine by any means, but I’ve seen people who are normally very shy put on a colorful outfit and become fierce, fabulous and free.”

TikTokers flood the platform with their own renditions of dopamine dressing.
polychrom3/TikTok

In fact, a person’s “whole mood shifts when they wear clothes that represent who they really are,” Karen added.

TikTokers have flocked to the platform to show off their spirited renditions of dopamine dressing — which could also be considered maximalism — to include contrasting patterns, striking colors and a bit of personal flare.

User @cybr.grl showed her current style — which is bright, saturated and fun — as a contrast to her past, gloomier fashion choices in a clip amassing nearly 70,000 views.

Meanwhile, Thalia Castro-Vega, known as @polycrom3 online, shows her followers how to dress in an array of colors. In one clip garnering 48,000 views, she flaunts a pair of lilac bell bottoms with reflective circles dangling off the hems, which she paired with a puffy-sleeved blouse of a darker shade of purple. Of course, she completed the monochromatic look with a matching, sparkling lavender bag.

TikToker in green dress holding pink bag
One user employed contrast to her advantage in a vibrant outfit.
killer_closet_/TikTok

Another content creator known as @killer_closet_ attributes dopamine dressing to healing her “inner child,” saying in a clip that it took until her 30s to figure it out. When comparing an old snap of her as a kid, she cuts to a current image of her in a florescent green frock paired with a neon pink, tiger-striped bag.

While this is the latest trend gaining its footing online, adding personality — as whacky as it may be — could go a long way. Gone may be the days of fitting into the ever-changing trends — marinated makeup, Barbiecore, coastal grandmother, oh my! — and standing out will actually be the latest fad.

Analyst and fashion writer Mandy Lee claims the trend cycle is changing so quickly that being yourself — vivid hues and all — will become the forefront of the fashion world.

Glenn Close at Met Gala
Celebrities have flaunted neon looks on the red carpet, ever since Barbiecore took hold.
Patrick McMullan via Getty Image

“My running theory is that we’ll reach a point where there are so many micro trends they will be impossible to identify, thus imploding the trend cycle as we know it and personal style will reign stronger than ever,” she predicted in a clip with over 652,000 views, adding that there’s “a lot more freedom of expression.”

Cue: dopamine dressing.

Colors have actually been proven to impact our mood, so it’s no surprise bright and playful clothing can have the same effect.

A 2012 study conducted by the University of Hertfordshire confirmed that dressing a certain way — especially when the wearer feels most comfortable — has a mood-enhancing psychological effect.

“This finding shows that clothing doesn’t just influence others, it reflects and influences the wearer’s mood too,” Dr. Karen Pine, an author of the study, said in a release. “Many of the women in this study felt they could alter their mood by changing what they wore. This demonstrates the psychological power of clothing and how the right choices could influence a person’s happiness.”

In the current state of the world, the sudden burst of colored clothing online could be attributed to people’s desire for more joy integrated into their life — albeit through their closets.

Shawn Grain Carter, an associate professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, said being locked down due to the coronavirus pandemic has caused even the most devout black outfit-lovers to hang up their gloomy garbs.

“Wearing color is more of an escape from what’s going on,” Carter previously told The Post. “You’ve got a war, economic instability, new waves of COVID madness — people want to feel good, and so you put on a pink dress or a beautiful yellow set. These are happy colors that make people feel mentally stable and emotionally comfortable.”

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