Jul 17, 2023 | 4 min Read

What is Dopamine Dressing and How Can You Do It With Fragrances?

Sometimes all it takes to turn your mood around is a change of clothes — or a spritz of scent! That’s the idea behind dopamine dressing, a philosophy that believes specific items of clothing can lift your spirits. Think about how you feel when you wear your favorite jeans, a colorful dress that always gets compliments, a one-of-a-kind vintage blazer or a black tie gown that fits perfectly. It’s an instant lift, a boost of confidence and a contagious joy.

This effect was the subject of a 2012 study by the University of Hertfordshire Press in 2012, where researchers found that when study participants wore special items of clothing, like bright and vivid hues or treasured pieces with a significant backstory, they felt better overall. Wearing blue could have a calming effect, while orange was an easy way to brighten up the day. The trend picked up again during 2022, with TikTok creators showing off their favorite dopamine-enhancing ensembles. 

The same principle can be applied to fragrance. Call it “dopamine spritzing,” if you will. When you’re desperate to get out of a rut or shift your energy to a more positive place, look no further than your fragrance collection. There’s a reason they call it aromatherapy. Using the concept of dopamine dressing is great when building your fragrance wardrobe. Here’s how you can do it with your fragrances.

Give each scent a color

Just like bright pink lipstick, a colorful sneaker or a vampy red dress takes your outfit — and your mood — up a notch, pairing your favorite fragrances with a specific color can help you shift your spirits. Fragrance can have a color and a season so to speak. Spring and Summer fragrances tends to be associated with brights and pastels while Autumn and Winter fragrances are typically associated with dark and moody colors. This concept is related to the color analysis theory.

Think of a glamorous rose scent like a pop of hot pink or an earthy herbal as a deep sage green. A salty aquatic could be a pale ocean blue, and a creamy, sweet gourmand could feel like wrapping yourself in a white cashmere sweater. Pale lavender could convey a field of, well, lavender swaying in the breeze, calming your senses, or perhaps a bouquet of spring lilacs dripping with morning dew. Because color is at the heart of dopamine dressing, thinking of your favorite fragrances as a rainbow of hues with different benefits can help you identify the scents and shades that make you feel your best.

Reach for a sentimental scent 

For an instant dose of feel-good warm fuzzies, wear a fragrance associated with the happiest moments of your life: the scent you wore on your wedding day, something that reminds you of a loved one, the throwback fragrance from your carefree college days. Scent can instantly transport us to a different time and place, so revisit those beloved memories for a touch of comfort and joy when you need it most. 

Think citrus

Studies have found that citrus scents can improve your mood and lower your stress levels, so when life gets chaotic, lighten up with a fresh, vibrant citrus fragrance. Citrus scents are incredibly popular and versatile, so you’ll definitely find one that suits your scent style. Look for notes of lemon, bergamot, mandarin and orange to start, or reach for one of the most popular citrus-forward scents of all time, the aptly named Clinique Happy.

Be your own bouquet

Buy yourself flowers … or maybe a new perfume. A bouquet always brightens up the room, and a floral fragrance can do the same. If you love romantic roses, try Jo Malone’s Red Roses, a rich, intoxicating floral with notes of lemon, violet leaf and Bulgarian rose. Are daisies your go-to at the bodega or the flower shop? Look no further than Marc Jacobs’s cult classic Daisy; daisies themselves don’t have a scent, but if they did, they’d smell like this. Iris lovers, channel the statuesque blooms with Montale Intense So Iris Perfume.

Wear what you love

Many fragrance fans rotate their scents seasonally, but if you’re craving a deep, smoky amber in the heat of the summer, wear it! The fun of fragrance is that there are no rules, so spray what makes you happy. Need a boost on a chilly winter day? A beachy fragrance may not be a ticket to the islands, but it can make you feel like you’re relaxing on the sand with a cocktail in hand. Dopamine dressing (or in our case, spraying) is about maximizing your joy levels, so stick with the scents that make you sparkle inside and out. You can even layer your perfume and create your own unique scent!

 

Continue reading about more fragrance information below!
Your Comprehensive “How-To” for Building a Fragrance Wardrobe
Your Fragrance Wheel and Scent Families Guide
Perfume Etiquette: The Right and Wrong Ways to Wear and Store Perfume
How To Spot Fake Perfume: 14 Ways To Determine Whether A Perfume Is Authentic
How To Refill Perfume Bottles Successfully
How to Smell Good: 18 Ways to Smell Fresh All Day
How to Apply Cologne: A Man’s Guide to Fragrance Usage
When to Reapply Perfume and Cologne
What is Eau de Toilette & Eau de Parfum How Does it Compare to Other Fragrances?
Where to Spray Perfume

 

image of Kara Nesvig
Kara Nesvig

Kara Nesvig is a freelance writer based in St. Paul, MN. She’s been obsessed with fragrance since she was four years old and has a (constantly growing) collection of more than 75 scents. Kara writes for a variety of brands and publications including Allure, Teen Vogue, Byrdie and People.

More Articles from this Author
image of Kara Nesvig
Kara Nesvig

Kara Nesvig is a freelance writer based in St. Paul, MN. She’s been obsessed with fragrance since she was four years old and has a (constantly growing) collection of more than 75 scents. Kara writes for a variety of brands and publications including Allure, Teen Vogue, Byrdie and People.

More Articles from this Author

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