Color and Design, Fashion

Dopamine Dressing – Using Clothing to Boost Your Happiness

katie wears colorful dress, use the image for pinterest

Dopamine dressing is the buzz word in the fashion world right now, and a top trend in 2022 according to Pinterest as we begin this new year. But what exactly is it? Let’s learn all about it and explore ways to use dopamine dressing in our daily lives.

What is dopamine?

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, a type of chemical messenger, that your body makes and releases as a reward to your brain, causing feelings of enjoyment, calm and happiness. It can also boost your ability to concentrate and help to provide motivation. Maintaining healthy levels of dopamine is essential to whole body health and wellness, and can be achieved in a number of ways including getting a good night’s sleep, exercising, eating healthy foods, and calming practices like meditation or controlled breathing, to name a few.

What is dopamine dressing?

I used one of my favorite colorful prints in this top and skirt!

Dopamine dressing is the theory that in addition to those self-care practices like exercise and sleeping habits, you can also boost your dopamine levels, and essentially your mood, through wearing the clothing and colors that make you happy. That can include a favorite item of clothing, a cherished accessory, or a color combination that just makes you feel good.

Dopamine dressing is all based on your personal preferences. One person’s favorite style or color can be very different from someone else’s. You should wear what makes YOU happy, not what magazines and influencers tell you what is “in season” or “on trend.” Those preferences are fleeting, and as you learn to develop your own sense of style and taste, you will figure out what makes you feel happy.

Dopamine dressing is already starting to show up on the runway, and I couldn’t be happier! I love these bold, colorful looks for the pre-fall 2022 collection by Moschino.

I have been dopamine dressing for years now, but I just didn’t call it that! I called it Wear Happy Color! This past fall I released my very first clothing line based on that philosophy. I designed each and every piece with pure joy and I feel so happy when I wear them. It has been incredible seeing everyone else wearing my designs out in the real world, living their best colorful lives.

Katie Kortman collection

The Hand-Painted Color Collection by Katie Kortman

Katie Kortman Clothing

Katie Kortman Clothing

Katie wearing her puff sleeve top and handmade collar.

Wearing my Puff Sleeve Top and handmade collar!

Ok I’m in. How do I do it?

If you’re interested in trying out dopamine dressing, a good place to start is to begin paying attention to what you wear every day and how it makes you feel. So many of us have gotten used to wearing our grey sweatpants and hoodies as we work from home (and believe me I love some comfy clothes) but maybe now it’s time to step up our apparel self-care? Upgrade that hoodie to something that makes you feel energized and happy by adding some new colors or patterns into your wardrobe. You can even work with the clothing that you already own, by combining colors and patterns together to create a new look.

Because trends in fashion come and go, some people may feel timid about wearing the “right” thing in order to keep up, or wonder if their color choices are going to clash. I’m here to tell you that none of that stuff really matters. You can learn to use color and pattern in a variety of ways and feel wonderful about and confident about your choices.

I’ve created an online course called Wear Happy Color: Your Guide to Wearing a Colorful Wardrobe for exactly this reason. So many people just love color, but aren’t sure how to bring more of it into their daily wardrobes. In this course, I show you the basics of color theory and give tips and guidance on how to wear various colors together in unexpected ways.

The online course can be viewed and completed in an afternoon at your convenience and includes 5 color theory lesson videos, and a downloadable FREE copy of my ebook Wear Happy Color: a Guide to a Colorful Wardrobe along with a handy color wheel postcard.

Photo from Katie Kortman's online course Wear Happy Color

Video still from Wear Happy Color: Your Guide to Wearing a Colorful Wardrobe

Coming Soon: Wear Happy Color Challenge 2022!

I hope you feel inspired after reading this, and are ready to really start expressing yourself! Once you take my course and begin dopamine dressing for yourself, you’ll be ready for my 4th annual Instagram challenge Wear Happy Color 2022! Using the hashtag #wearhappycolor2022 throughout the month of March, you’ll complete each weekly color challenge and be eligible to win prizes throughout the month.

Remember to follow me on Pinterest and Instagram for more dopamine dressing and Wear Happy Color inspiration!