Find your vibe with our colour guide to mood-matching hues

Our colours hold far more significance than mere aesthetics—they profoundly influence our mood, emotions, and well-being. As we stand before our wardrobes each day, we are presented with a palette of possibilities, each colour carrying its unique energy and psychological impact.

We will delve into the depths of colour psychology, revealing a rich history of research backed by insights into how different colours can evoke specific emotional responses. From the vibrant vitality of red to the serene tranquillity of blue, each shade holds the potential to shape our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours in profound ways.


Image via Pinterest

What is colour psychology?

Colour psychology studies the profound impact of different colours on our emotions and well-being. At its core lies research conducted by esteemed psychologists Dr Angela Wright and Dr Karen Schloss, which sheds light on the intricate interplay between colour and human psychology.

Dr Angela Wright, a pioneering figure in colour psychology, has unearthed invaluable insights into how colours can elicit specific emotional responses within us. For instance, warm red tones and vibrant oranges are associated with vitality, passion, and dynamism. These hues are remarkable and can energise and invigorate us, igniting a sense of excitement and enthusiasm in our hearts.

Conversely, cool blues tones and tranquil greens evoke calmness, serenity, and renewal.

Dr Karen Schloss’s research, which talks about harnessing the energy of colours to help us express ourselves and attain a high standard of well-being, also gives insight into the process of dressing up with shades alleged to trigger the emotional responses we wish to elicit. For instance, red elicits power, purple is calmness, or peacefulness in a white hue. This method of dressing up is called dopamine dressing.

Dr Angela Wright’s research underscores the significance of colour associations in shaping our perceptions and behaviours, from exploring colour psychology to discovering Dopamine Dressing. Colours are deeply ingrained in cultural rites, rituals, and societal norms, influencing how we interpret them. For instance, red symbolises power and urgency, making it a popular choice for brands seeking attention. At the same time, blue is associated with trust and professionalism and is often used in corporate branding.

Now, armed with this knowledge of colour psychology, let’s delve into the exciting world of Dopamine Dressing. Beyond merely picking out clothes, Dopamine Dressing is a strategic approach to uplift mood and boost confidence through colour selection.

So, what exactly is Dopamine Dressing?

Beyond merely picking out clothes—it’s a strategic way to uplift your mood and boost your confidence simply by what you wear. You intentionally choose clothing to trigger a surge of dopamine—the neurotransmitter linked to pleasure and reward in your brain. As discussed by clinical psychologist and author Dr Jennifer Baumgartner, this concept emphasises the deep connection between colour and emotions, offering a fresh approach to enhancing overall well-being.

In her book “You Are What You Wear: What Your Clothes Reveal About You,” Dr. Baumgartner delves into how clothing choices influence confidence and self-perception. While she may not have coined the term “Dopamine Dressing” specifically, her research and insights align with the principles behind the concept.

Imagine slipping into a vibrant red dress or a cheerful yellow shirt. These colours aren’t just visually appealing—they’re known to evoke feelings of energy, passion, and joy. By strategically selecting colours that resonate with your emotional state or desired mood, you can tap into the transformative power of colour to elevate your mood and infuse your day with a renewed sense of joy and vitality. So next time you choose what to wear, consider the emotional impact of your colour choices and let Dopamine Dressing work its magic.

Colour across cultures

Understanding the significance of colours isn’t just about science—it’s also about how different cultures view, understand and interpret them. While science helps us understand how colours affect our bodies, we look closer at their emotional and cultural meanings. Cultural psychologist Dr Anna Franklin points out that colours can mean different things in different cultures. For example, while red represents love and energy in Western cultures, it signifies luck and happiness in places like China. One way to do this is by learning about the cultural meanings of different colours and being mindful of their interpretations in various cultures. When selecting clothing, consider your chosen colours’ cultural context and significance. For example, if attending an event with cultural relevance, opt for appropriate and respectful colours in that context.

Furthermore, embracing cultural diversity in fashion can involve respectfully incorporating elements of different cultures into your wardrobe. With clothing, this could mean wearing traditional pieces or accessories from various cultures or simply being inspired by cultural motifs and designs. By appreciating and honouring the cultural significance of colours in fashion, readers can enhance their style and promote cultural understanding and inclusivity.


GIF via Tumblr

In the 2018 movie Crazy Rich Asians, Rachel‘s Mom tells her not to wear blue and white as those are colours worn when burying/mourning the dead, while red signifies good luck.

In contrast, white often symbolises purity in the West, while in some Eastern cultures, it represents mourning and sadness. Recognising these cultural differences allows us to understand colour psychology better and appreciate the diverse meanings attached to colours worldwide.

Now, let’s explore how colours can be worn or styled to suit your mood and taste.


Marsai Martin via Pinterest

To make a bold statement, consider wearing red as the focal point of your outfit, paired with neutral tones like black or white to let the red stand out. Alternatively, for a more subtle approach, add pops of red with accessories such as a red handbag, scarf, or lipstick to inject a dose of energy into your look. Whether you’re dressing for a night out or a daytime event, red adds a touch of vibrancy and allure to any ensemble, ensuring you command attention wherever you go.


Tyla via GQ

Dive into the tranquil waters of blue and feel your worries float away. Blue is serene, calming, and oh-so-soothing, wrapping you in a cocoon of peace and tranquillity, like a warm hug for your soul. Whether you opt for a soft blue blouse, a classic navy dress, or denim jeans, blue evokes peace and relaxation. To create a better ensemble, consider layering different shades of blue for a monochromatic look that exudes effortless elegance. Alternatively, pair blue pieces with neutral tones like white or beige to create a balanced and harmonious outfit. For a touch of sophistication, add metallic accents such as silver jewellery or a shimmering blue clutch to elevate your look. Whether heading to a casual brunch or a formal event, blue envelops you in a sense of tranquillity, allowing your worries to float away as you embrace the calming embrace of this colour.


Tems and Danielle Brooks via Pinterest

Bask in the radiant glow of yellow and let its sunny disposition brighten your day. Joyful, optimistic, and full of life, yellow is the colour of laughter, happiness, and endless possibilities. Whether you choose a sunny yellow sundress, a chic yellow blouse, or statement yellow accessories, this colour embodies joy, optimism, and vitality. To fully embrace the sunny disposition of yellow, pair it with complementary colours like white or beige for a fresh and uplifting look. Alternatively, mix yellow with contrasting hues like navy or black for a bold and eye-catching ensemble. Incorporate playful patterns or floral prints featuring shades of yellow into your outfit for extra happiness. Whether enjoying a leisurely day out or attending a festive gathering, wearing yellow will brighten your mood and fill your day with laughter, joy, and endless possibilities.


Da’Vine Joy Randolph via Instagram

Connect with the lush greenery of nature and feel a sense of harmony and balance wash over you. Grounded, revitalised, and at peace, green whispers of growth, renewal, and the endless cycle of life. Opt for clothing in shades of green, such as a forest green sweater, a sage green skirt, or olive green pants, to evoke feelings of groundedness, revitalisation, and peace. Pair green pieces with earthy tones like brown or tan to enhance the natural aesthetic and create a harmonious colour palette reminiscent of the outdoors. Alternatively, incorporate green accents into your outfit through accessories like a statement necklace, a printed scarf, or a pair of emerald earrings to add a touch of freshness and vitality. Whether strolling through a park or attending a yoga class, wearing green allows you to connect with the rejuvenating power of nature, inspiring growth, renewal, and the endless cycle of life.


Images Via Pinterest

Indulge your senses in the regal allure of purple and awaken your inner royalty. Majestic, mysterious, and utterly enchanting, purple is the colour of magic, creativity, and boundless imagination. Embrace purple in your wardrobe through luxurious pieces such as a deep plum dress, a lavender blouse, or a royal purple coat. Let this colour evoke feelings of mystery, creativity, and boundless imagination as you mix and match purple with complementary hues like gold or silver for an opulent look. For a touch of sophistication, incorporate purple accessories such as a velvet clutch, a jewel-toned scarf, or amethyst earrings to add a dash of magic to your ensemble. Whether attending a formal event or simply seeking to infuse your everyday attire with grandeur, wearing purple allows you to tap into your inner royalty and exude an aura of elegance and charm.


Lizzo via Instagram

Embrace the playful charm of pink and let its whimsical spirit lift your mood. Flirty, feminine, and oh-so-fabulous, pink radiates sweetness, romance, and all things delightful. Incorporate pink into your outfit confidently, choosing shades such as blush, rose, or hot pink to suit your style and preferences. Opt for a pink blouse paired with denim jeans for a casual yet chic ensemble or a pink floral dress for a flirty and feminine vibe. Embrace the sweetness and romance of pink by accessorising with delicate pieces like pearl earrings, a lace scarf, or a rosy-toned handbag. Whether heading out for brunch with friends or enjoying a romantic date night, wearing pink radiates joy, charm and all things delightful, allowing you to embrace your playful side and spread positivity wherever you go.



Teyana Taylor via Instagram

Slip into the sleek sophistication of black and exude an air of effortless elegance. Timeless, chic, and undeniably cool, black is the colour of mystery, power, and understated glamour. Embrace the versatility of black in your wardrobe, opting for classic pieces such as a tailored black blazer, a little black dress, or sleek black trousers for a chic and polished look. Let black be your go-to colour for any occasion, whether a formal event, a night out on the town, or a day at the office. Black embodies mystery, power, and understated glamour, adding a touch of allure to your ensemble while maintaining a sense of timeless appeal. Accessorise with metallic accents like gold or silver to enhance sophistication, or add a pop of colour with vibrant accessories for a bold and striking contrast. Whether wearing a monochromatic black ensemble or adding black accents to elevate your look, wearing black allows you to command attention with confidence and style.



Rihanna and Chioma Ikokwu Via Pinterest

Immerse yourself in the purity and simplicity of white and feel a sense of clarity and renewal wash over you. Fresh, pristine, and oh-so-peaceful, white is the colour of new beginnings, purity, and endless possibilities. Opt for crisp white pieces in your wardrobe, such as a flowing white blouse, a tailored white blazer, or a pristine white sundress, to evoke freshness and peace. Let white symbolise new beginnings, purity, and endless possibilities as you embrace its versatility in styling. Wear white as a statement colour for a clean and polished look, or incorporate it as a neutral base to highlight other vibrant hues in your outfit. Accessorise with delicate accents like silver jewellery, a woven straw hat, or a pair of white sneakers to enhance the purity and simplicity of your ensemble. Whether enjoying a stroll in the park or attending a formal event, wearing white allows you to radiate a sense of tranquillity and optimism, inviting new opportunities and experiences into your life.

As you navigate your wardrobe with a renewed sense, remember each colour’s power to channel emotion and transform the mood and character of a room or outfit. Choose wisely, dress boldly, and let your true colours shine through,


React to this post!
No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.