Originally found at Strategy + Business
Emily in Paris is a mostly vapid show that relies on lazy stereotypes—pretty, young American wins over mean French sophisticates with pluck and fresh thinking—to sell a basic fish-out-of-water story. But that’s not why anyone’s watching, is it? Emily’s real appeal is in its luscious locations, and, of course, its protagonist’s gloriously over-the-top work wardrobe. Emily has nailed “dopamine dressing” in the office, which is supposedly the defining trend of post-pandemic fashion.
Dopamine dressing is a hashtag-ready pop-neuro-psych concept that sparked headlines in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and other publications throughout 2022. You’ve heard of the power pose—how about power clothes? Certain items of clothing or colors, the theory goes, can make us feel happier, brighter, and more empowered; and this could have measurable benefits for performance. Tying this feeling of empowerment to the alleged release of dopamine, the neurochemical implicated in generating feelings of satisfaction or reward, both fulfills a cultural need to locate complex emotional experiences “in the brain” and is a satisfying alliteration. But, as Carolyn Mair, behavioral psychologist, business consultant, and author of The Psychology of Fashion, put it, “Dopamine dressing doesn’t really make sense if you understand dopamine.”
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