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How to wear colour at work

Dopamine dressing! How to use it on a work environment?

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A new trend is developing, Dopamine dressing, and that is because coming Spring and the warmer days, everyone feels like wearing a bit more of colour and leave behind the dark and heavy colours from Winter. Specially, this year when after all uncertainties we have been through, it feels everyone is feeling hopeful and a lighter brighter mood is growing. Example of this was Pantone creating the Colour Very Peri, described as “a dynamic periwinkle blue hue with a vivifying violet red undertone., Blending the faithfulness and constancy of blue with the energy and excitement of red, this happiest and warmest of all the blue hues introduces an empowering mix of newness.


Dopamine is described as responsible for allowing you to feel satisfaction and motivation, the Oxford dictionary says, “a compound present in the body as a neurotransmitter and a precursor of other substances including adrenaline.” You have a surge of dopamine in your brain when you feel good about something, Colour can do exactly that, wearing stronger, brighter hues can make you feel better, more confident and excited. But for some lighter and brighter will do the same, not all need to be as bold, because that also depends on individual personalities.


To achieve dopamine dressing is easier this year with trends for bold and sorbet colours for Spring and Summer will give you several options. London Fashion Week designers brought all different shades with their Spring/ Summer collections. And we can see bubble gum pink playfulness and a lighter potpourri pink.  Acid yellow fresh and captivating or a lighter popcorn yellow as a warm embrace, uplifting coral rose and intense brighter blue.


The Colour Psychology is a developing area that associates colour with emotions due to reactions that colour provokes on the brain because of up bring and cultural connotations, experiences, and likes / dislikes. That’s why some people don’t like green due to school uniform, or when we travel, we must be careful with colours we wear because they can have different meanings.

If you are trying this dopamine dressing trends then do so with attention to the info you want to communicate with your image. Marketing branding and design use these theories to best communicate brands and products, so everyone should also be able to do it to present themselves as their own brand. Although this is not completely controllable due to the personal interpretations of colour like I mentioned before is worth to know the universal meaning of colours and use it when need it.


Let’s look at red, this is a strong colour and some are afraid to wear it, usually associated with energy and strength when used in small details like accessories (scarf, tie, necklace) or just one item of clothing but also with sexuality and passion when used on a full look.  So, in a work environment, wear red in a small quantity to energise a meeting group, we see politicians doing that by wearing a red tie when going for important speeches or meetings and they have serious subjects to discuss, and they want to show strength. Wearing red in large areas can brand you as the person in charge, but also as a bossy person.


Yellow is warm and reminds us of the light and sun which is uplifting, gives us happiness and a sense of wellbeing brightening our spirits. It also represents knowledge and creativity and new ideas, interacts with the logical side of the brain and it can help when you want to create. However, when in used in excess it can creates anxiety and agitation if the environment is already very stressful. Best to wear the lighter hues in larger items and be especially careful when too bright and in excess can be seen as cheap and unsophisticated, except if the cut and fabric is of extremely good quality and craftmanship.


Green is the colour of nature, hope and determination. An excellent colour to promote business and wealth in a darker hue, wear it  for sales, financial, budget and funding meetings. Also, perfect to promote natural practices and products.


Orange is the colour of enthusiasm, vitality, and ambition. As a result, from the mix of red and yellow it combines the power of red with the happiness of yellow, very useful if you are a bit introvert and want to minimize that. Be confident on wearing it in a networking meeting and business social event.


Blue is the colour of trust and serenity; you relax when you look at the sky and sea. Also represents honesty, integrity, and dependability. We see this colour all over the business world because of its sense of stability and trust works very well for meetings and interviews and a perfect base to mix with accents of bolder colours like green, red or orange if you want to avoid the fact that a very dark blue can be more conservative and mature.


Grey represents neutrality and balance, intellect, and diplomacy. Located in the colour spectrum in between white and black it is seen as a good balance and an easy neutral colour to work with brighter hues. Wear this in situations where neutrality and diplomacy are required, avoiding the darker shade as this can be interpreted as depressive and dull.  In contrast, silver means modernism, and affluence. Very connected whit tec advances and trends, its sleek, glamorous sophistication. Use it for presenting innovation and creativity.


Pink is compassion, sincerity and sweet, with strong connotation to a maternal feeling. Should be use the corporate world and in need of communicate something very sensitive and perfect to be used by men that have very strong and harsh physical characteristics to get a more open and communicative image.


Also,  have in mind one important rule: wear a total of 3 colours on your outfit including accessories. To use a print to inspire you on what colours to wear is the easy way to avoid errors, for example, think accessories like a necklace or scarf, use a limit of 3 of the colours in it and the accessory will connect it all.

To conclude, choose any colours you love and flatter you but think about the message and your own personal brand by doing that. Dopamine dressing can be fun and useful, try it.

Images are from Ton Ford, Versace and Dior Spring 2022 runway.