Never did I ever suspect that my late (VERY late) 20's would be when I started dressing like a spicy toddler who's been allowed to dress herself for school for the first time. Novelty socks, giant scrunchies, lots of gold jewelry, sparkly makeup... I've mixed and matched it all in the last 2 years. I've heard it called "Dopamine Dressing" and that phrase really resonates. The kick I get out of wearing something made by some creative small business was one of my favorite ways to spark joy during lockdown. I love those pieces so much that I started to think. what if I could be one of those creative small businesses making wearable art? That brain wave has inspired some serious experimentation with a sewing machine in the past months.
I can't be the only one who started sporting some interesting lewks during COVID, right? As the days, weeks, and months of lockdown rolled on, it was hard to motivate myself to take a shower nevermind put on a pair of jeans. Our hair grew longer, our makeup products expired, and we gave less and less of a fuck about the conspicuous messes in our Zoom backgrounds. And guess what? The world kept turning. And maybe, just MAYBE, you started to prioritize your own comfort over other peoples' perception of you.
But if you're still on that journey towards replacing all your khaki slacks with something that better suits a more DGAF lifestyle, I have some tips to dress for happiness in 2022.
Dopamine Dressing 101
How to dress for happiness in 2022
Tip #1: Start Small
- If you're feeling like you'll get laughed out of Whole Foods for wearing a pair of Crocs, I'm here to tell you 1. you won't and if you do, what the hell Whole Foods do you go to??! and 2. you don't have to jump into Dopamine Dressing Crocs-first.
- Experiment with some small accessories like a clip shaped like a flower in your hair or maybe a hand-embroidered bandana around your neck. May I even suggest you peruse the bandanas and bucket hats I am sewing this summer for Maker / Scholar?!?!? The key is to find something that makes you excited to check your mail while you wait for it to arrive.
- And once it arrives, don't wuss out! Wear that bad boy with pride and you'll be surprised at the compliments you get and how few people will stare at you in disbelief for daring to wear something a little funky.
Tip #2: Shop Small
- Once the compliments start rolling in, you'll be surprised at how good it feels to brag about where you found this exclusive, funky, fabulous accessory or piece of clothing. Instead of just being a functional piece of clothing, now it's a conversation starter and more importantly it's a show of support for somebody's passion project.
- More and more, I focus on buying fewer things that I'm more excited to wear. That way, so many of the things in my closet tell a story and have a nice memory attached to them (e.g. my tie-dye Asutralian Shepherd tee shirt from a vintage shop in Austin that I spotted from afar the day after we did Butter's DNA test and found out she is in fact an Aussie).
- Here are some small businesses selling funky wearables I love:
Tip #3: Mismatch with Reckless Abandon
- You know what looks even crazier than a totally whacky, mismatched collection of funky clothes and accessories? Trying to perfectly coordinate colors and patterns only to find that you've JUST missed the mark. Put all your favorite things on at once and just see how it feels! You might be surprised to see that going against the "rules" of fashion could lead to a dreamy little outfit.
- The Wall Street Journal actually wrote an article about this that explains the vibes of post-pandemic dressing than I ever could. Taylor Harris writes,
"More confident clashers create outfits that have a subtle connective thread running through them—like the petal-pink color of two different floral prints or the ease of a billowing blouse and breezy gym shorts. The look’s barely perceptible cohesion lends it an “I don’t know why but it works” quality."
Tip #4: Order Something CUSTOM Just for You
- The internet is FULL of talented makers who can create just about anything you might want to wear. Last year, I turned a quilt I had made into a jacket for my grandma and a matching little sweater for her dog. HUGE WIN for the team.
But the first step is just to dive right in! Grab that thing hanging in the back of the closet because "you never have anywhere to wear it" and throw it on. I'm sure the folks at Whole Foods will appreciate it.
Looking for something wonderful and whacky and just for you? Reach out via IG at @makerscholar or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to make a custom Bachelorette tee shirt, personalized wedding decor, or just about anything you need to spice up your day to day.