Versace's Spring/Summer 2022 collection

Bold hues are on the horizon for 2022 | Source: REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo

Feel-Good Fashion: How Dopamine Dressing Will Brighten 2022

If the fashion trends of 2021 taught us anything, it’s that people are gravitating towards mood-boosting, playful pieces. Evidenced by last year’s abundance of the ’90s inspired silhouettes, bright shades of pink and whimsical beaded jewellery, our collective need for all things bright, bold and uplifting doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon, and with the uncertainty of the enduring pandemic always present, who can blame us? According to the fashion trend forecasts, many of the feel-good fashion trends of 2021 are here to stay and the bolder the better will be the motto for 2022.

Dubbed ‘dopamine dressing’, the psychological power of dressing in bright hues and vibrant patterns are being recognised by the fashion world as a potentially defining trend for 2022 and beyond. The theory centres around the potential link between wearing brighter and more optimistic clothing and the neurotransmitter responsible for influencing our feelings of reward and motivation; dopamine. In short, dressing ‘happy’ could, in turn, improve your mood.

In an article published by Vogue, US Fashion Psychologist Dawnn Karen explained the idea behind the growing trend.

Mood enhancement dressing is where you start from the internal, which is the attitude, and you proceed to the external, which is the attire, thereby creating an alignment between internal and external or attitude and attire,

Founder of Fashion Psychologist Institute, Dawnn Karen, told Vogue

This dress-happy-feel-happy concept is supported by the researched idea of ‘enclothed cognition’. In a 2012 study by Hajo Adam and Adam Galinsky, the power of wearing clothing with symbolic significance, say a doctor’s coat, proved to affect the wearer’s confidence, feelings and even their behaviour. So, the idea of power dressing really does have some psychological weight behind it.

Image: Versace’s Spring/Summer 2022 collection | Source: REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo

As we kick off 2022, the popularity of dopamine dressing is set to continue. According to Pinterest’s 2022 trend forecast report, dressing loud is the new dressing down this year. With trending search terms including ‘electric blue outfit’, ‘vibrant outfits’ and ‘fuchsia dress outfit’, expect to see your favourite fashion influencers dressing in bold mood-boosting shades.

Afterpay’s Bi-Annual Global Fashion & Beauty Trend Report also predicts that, much like in 2021, we’ll see more jewellery with charms and pendants and ’90s and early 2000s inspired fashion, along with simple and transitional styles as more and more buyers opt for higher quality and more versatile pieces in favour of clothing produced by fast-fashion retailers.

Electric blue

From bold blazers to trendy nail designs, we’ve already seen the statement shade of electric blue or cobalt blue rise in popularity. In 2022 we can expect to see more cobalt-hued pieces, particularly for spring and summer.

Bright mini-skirts

Taking it back to the 90s, the Spring/Summer collections of 2022 saw their fair share of mini-skirts. While a classic black mini-skirt or a Chanel tweed number will never go out of style, this year will bring vibrant metallic fabrics and playful shades to the mini skirt.

Playful purple

In the pursuit of creating outfits that spark joy, 2022’s fashion trends are predicted to be dominated by playful and rich shades of purple. And seeing as the Pantone Color Institute selected the periwinkle colour called ‘Very Peri’ as the colour of 2022, expect to see plenty of purples this year.

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