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does dopamine dressing really work Science behind dopamine dressing  Is it possible to include these both in title ? Benefits of dopamine dressing dopamine and mood dopamine's role in the body

Does dopamine dressing really work? The science behind dopamine dressing.

Published May 26, 2023 | Updated Feb 8, 2024

Stepping out in a bright shirt is often considered as making a statement. Flip through a fashion magazine and you will see bright colours labelled as must-haves in your summer wardrobe. Dressing for your mood is the hottest take in the fashion world, with dopamine dressing branded as the latest in vogue trend. Can a bold jumper uplift your outfit and your mood? Is there a scientific basis for the benefits of dopamine dressing?

What is dopamine dressing?

A fashion psychologist, Dawnn Karen propelled the idea of boosting your reward and pleasure brain chemical, dopamine through clothing [1]. The concept of colour psychology is possibly involved. The ability of colour to affect mood and elicit emotions could be the main foundation of dopamine dressing. Since one of dopamine’s role in the body is invoking pleasure, dopamine dressing suggests that certain coloured clothes can boost your dopamine, making you happy.

Can your clothes alter your brain chemicals?

The relationship between dopamine and mood is well studied. Dopamine is a booster brain chemical. It is released when you experience pleasurable things like food and sex. These things can do wonders for your mood. It is also released to motivate you towards things that will bring you pleasure and reinforces the feel-good effect after you accomplish it [2]. These features make it a powerhouse mood-booster. Dressing up also makes some people happy, and there is a possible dopamine link in that story. Certain colours are also regarded as mood-uplifting. The combination of these two could possibly explain the dopamine dressing effect. Imagine putting on your favourite outfit. Does that make you feel confident and happy? Research studies solidifying these links are yet to be conducted.

A scientifically proven way to increase dopamine is through increasing intake of its building block, tyrosine. Tyrosine is found in tofu, cheese, beef, and other protein rich foods. Apart from food sources, the world’s 1st natural 800mg tyrosine capsule made from fermented corn is an easy way to increase dopamine production.

How to dress up to boost your mood?

Whether dressing up in a certain coloured outfit opens your dopamine gates is yet to be established. In the world of colour psychology, colours are known to evoke certain emotions. Prominent researcher and psychotherapist, Angela Wright, has done great work in this field. Her book, “The Beginner's Guide To Colour Psychology'' delves into how colours can have different effects on people [3]. Red, yellow, blue and green are four colours that have been studied to influence emotions [4]:

  1. Red

    Red is considered to be a powerful, strong and attention-grabbing colour. It is stimulating and is reported to make women appear more attractive and desirable to men [5]. If you want to gain confidence on a date, find the right red tone for your skin to boost your appeal.
  2. Yellow

    Wright regards yellow as the best to put you in a happy mood and considers it as the strongest colour, psychologically speaking. Yellow is associated with joy and openness and is synonymous with summer. In a study where participants rated their mood as colours on a 38-colours Colour Wheel, bright yellow was the colour rated as “most drawn to” and the colour that normal participants (compared to depressed) rated their mood as [6]. Feeling low and want a quick mood boost? Wear something yellow.
  3. Blue

    Blue is linked with intellect and logic. It is also considered a calm and comforting colour, possibly due to its associated with the sky and the sea [7]. Working in a blue coloured room was found to increase creativity and productivity, possibly due to its comforting quality [8]. It is possible that wearing blue can also improve your creative flair. 
  4. Green

    Green is the colour of emotional calm and harmony. Green can bring refreshment and balance due to its association with plants. It is often associated with relaxation due to it being the quintessential colour of nature. A 20-minutes walk in a green environment led to decrease in heart rate and improved feelings of calm [8]. It is possible that wearing green can also bring similar relaxing feelings. 

These are general observations. Wright notes that a memory attached to a specific colour, family history of a colour, and fashion trends can influence the psychological effects of colours. Different shades of the same colour can elicit different responses too. Perhaps, blue is attached to a happy childhood memory and can boost your mood when you wear a blue outfit. The same can happen with another colour. It is possible that bright green is labelled as the color of the season and wearing a bright green outfit makes you happier because you feel trendy and confident. Colours can have unique effects on how you feel on a certain day. Wearing what you are comfortable in and what makes you feel confident can boost your mood. Wear what makes you happy. 


  1. Byrdie. (n.d.). The Power and Pleasure of Dopamine Dressing. [online]
  2. Bromberg-Martin, E. S., Matsumoto, M., & Hikosaka, O. (2010). Dopamine in motivational control: rewarding, aversive, and alerting. Neuron68(5), 815–834.
  3. (n.d.). Biography Of Angela Wright - Colour Affects. [online] 
  4. Kurt, S. and Osueke, K.K. (2014). The Effects of Color on the Moods of College Students. SAGE Open, [online] 4(1).
  5. Elliot, A. J., & Niesta, D. (2008). Romantic red: red enhances men's attraction to women. Journal of personality and social psychology95(5), 1150–1164.
  6. Carruthers, H.R., Morris, J., Tarrier, N. and Whorwell, P.J. (2010). The Manchester Color Wheel: development of a novel way of identifying color choice and its validation in healthy, anxious and depressed individuals. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 10(1).
  7. (n.d.). Surprising Research on the Color Blue | Psychology Today United Kingdom.
  8. Savavibool, N., Gatersleben, B. and Moorapun, C. (2018). The Effects of Colour in Work Environment: A systematic review. Asian Journal of Behavioural Studies, [online] 3(13), p.149.
  9. Briki, W., & Majed, L. (2019). Adaptive Effects of Seeing Green Environment on Psychophysiological Parameters When Walking or Running. Frontiers in psychology10, 252.



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