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The Science of Dopamine Dressing: Why Getting Dressed to Look Good Feels So Good

The Science of Dopamine Dressing: Why Getting Dressed to Look Good Feels So Good

In 2003 I wrote my college essay on fashion as a form of self expression. (Mom, can we find that please?)

This was…

-13 years before I went through post partum anxiety

-14 years before I started therapy

-15 years before I had a mind blowing epiphany that feel good hormones can actually be self created and self enhanced, through clothes. If you’re willing to give it a try…  


On some days you might think that getting dressed is just… the opposite of being naked. Being covered, so you can well, leave the house and live your life. Those are probably the days you need to reframe your thinking.


Rachel Goldman, Ph.D., FTOS says “I often tell people to dress to impress YOU and that is because the clothes we wear matter. The theory behind cognitive behavioral therapy is this idea that our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are all linked. We can tweak our behavior, or our thoughts, and then we start feeling better. If we start feeling better, it's then easier to think more helpful thoughts and/or make a positive behavior change."


Getting dressed is an opportunity.


Styling your moment, your brunch, your date, your vacation, it’s a chance. An opportunity where the thread color of a dress reaches every fiber of your being and sparks that feeling.


“WHAT FEELING SARA?” you might ask me.


That feeling of colors that make you smile, prints that make you glow. Fabric that makes you breathe easy.

The pep in your step. The twinkle in your eye. The zest in your lime squeeze! (I’m sorry if that’s a weird one, I’m a designer not a writer)

It’s the feeling of confidence and happiness (that is in fact highly contagious- which is another reason altogether! Let’s spread the sunshine.) 


So why, does the opportunity of styling your Friday night look actually make you happy?


It’s Dopamine Dressing.

Dopamine is the brain releasing natural chemicals that make you happy... in anticipation of something. 

It’s why we like to shop for that special piece in advance, it’s why we get giddy at an online cart full of potential and it’s why you’d like to clear your calendar and get a babysitter so you can spend some time playing in your closet. It’s FUN. It feels good. And if you ask me, let’s call it part of your self-care routine.


“It's an instant mood boost because you are doing something good for you and that feels good.  The action of getting dressed impacts our mood and how we feel.” Says Dr. Goldman.


Brighten your reflection, it’ll brighten your mood. I promise. 

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