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A Fashion Stylist’s Guide to Dopamine Dressing

Wearing colorful clothes is as much for your mood as it is for style.

If you’ve been browsing the racks or seen what has been coming down the runways as of late, you may have noticed there is a ton of color, and by this we mean neon and bold hues. This is by no means a mistake; after all, after the last two and a half years, we could all live on the brighter side. Incorporating vibrant shades in your wardrobe is known as dopamine dressing, named after the significant brain chemical that influences your mood and feelings of reward and motivation. “It’s an instant mood booster, a quick hit – it’s like fashion medicine,” fashion stylist Elshane explains. “Wearing happy, bright colors can give yourself an extra jolt to start your day.”

One glance at Elshane’s Instagram, and you will see she is a walking advertisement for dopamine dressing. “I’ve been dressing in bright colors and bold prints for all of my life,” she says. “It’s simple—wearing happy makes happy. I live my life with a glass-half-full mentality, so my clothing is always following suit. I once was gifted a gray Gucci Mickey Mouse T-shirt to wear to Disneyland. I put it on my body for two minutes before I ripped it off—it was a horrible feeling. I’ll never wear gray again!”

It’s rare to find a native New Yorker like Elshane (now living in Los Angeles) who embraces the full spectrum of hues and not just the omnipresent black so typical of her home city. “I try to always be in colorful clothing and accessories, even if I’m in full rainbow colors, my shoes will be a color, too,” adds Elshane, who may be the queen of layering patterns on different patterns. Keep reading for more of Elshane’s advice on dopamine dressing. It’s time to start living in color!

The whole point of dopamine dressing is to elevate your mood, but with so many options out there, what do you tell your clients so they aren’t overwhelmed and stressed with shopping?

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“Everyone can have an emotional attachment with fashion, be it a color, a silhouette. Find your zone and then slowly expand it within your level of comfort.”

For someone afraid of color, even a pop, what is your best advice?

“What are you afraid of? Color doesn’t bite. No one remembers a black handbag. Everyone remembers the purple one. Go for it!”

You also love mixing patterns, what do you recommend for someone who loves the idea but has no clue how to do it for themselves?

“Patterns are best mixed when there are color similarities between both prints. Also, keep scale in mind. Take a petite floral print like a liberty print and pair it back to a large-scale checker print in similar colorways.”

For someone on a budget, what are some colorful staples worth splurging on?

“I love to see a jacket in a bold color. It’s easy to work a jacket into your pre-existing wardrobe, like a blazer over jeans or a moto jacket over a dress. You can style the jacket over a monochromatic look, like jeans and a top or a subtle dress, and your jacket will do all the talking.”

What are you loving at the moment for a summery look?

“Bright oversized clutch, matching set (top and midi skirt), blazer, bright mules and bright rings!”

Here are some of our splurge vs. save picks based on Elshane’s guidance:

Bright Oversized Clutch - Mansur Gavriel ($451.50 on sale at Shopbop) + Bottega Veneta ($3,400) 

big clutch

Matching Top and Midi Set -  Topshop ($96) + Hansen + Gretel ($528) 

matching set

Blazer - Zara ($89.90) + Alice + Olivia ($495)

colorful blazer

Bright Mules -  Schutz ($128) + Jimmy Choo ($995) 

bright mules

Bright Ring - BONBONWHIMS ($98) + Shay Jewelry ($3,260)

colorful ring