Summer days are here and how better to celebrate than with a bright, easy but bold dress — a look that just screams summertime? Color plays a very important role in this summer fashion season. We are not quite post pandemic, nor are we peak pandemic-—  we are in a sort of “grey” area. The world is opening up and the vaccine roll out is going well, putting us in a more positive frame of mind than we were in this time last year. It is time to live life in full color again and the fashion world is telling you to dress like a rainbow this summer. As London-based Abi Buller, Foresight Writer at The Future Laboratory, says, “The summer season does typically encourage more playful dressing, but this year it’s related more so to the context, that we’re emerging from the global pandemic.”

The name for this is “Dopamine Dressing”. A chemical found in the body, dopamine is released when we feel joy, and science proves that bold colors make us happy. Holistic therapist, Ingrid Sprake, of the Dubai-based wellness center, Illuminations, said, “Colors can increase happiness, confidence, focus and the overall feeling of wellbeing by triggering the release of feel-good hormones in your body. There is a strong connection between colors and mood due to a physical response in the body (our body language changes) and a chemical response in the brain (dopamine, the neurotransmitter responsible for pleasure and reward), is released.” So, bring on those strawberry reds, tangerine oranges and sunshine yellows.

While this is a global phenomenon, with Arabs having a well-established appreciation for color, the trend is even stronger in the Middle East. Says Lebanese designer Racil Chalhoub, “Women are definitely thirsty for freshness and clothes that reflect happiness and positivity; bright colors do exactly that.” Scroll through your Instagram feed and you will notice that this region’s fashion girls are embracing this trend.

“Feeling good about what you wear is a form of self-care. What you wear definitely reflects on your day,” says fashion entrepreneur Ghizlan Guenez. She notes that while she may be enjoying wearing color and dressing up again, she is also now accustomed to last year’s comfort dressing and wants clothing that combines these elements. And that is where “Dopamine Dresses” fit in; they are easy fit dresses, ranging from a kaftan to a shift, in bold hues and are made of beautiful luxe material like Egyptian cottons and French chiffons. Happy dresses are here again!

The Three Dopamine Dresses To Own

1. Chalhoub’s Liyana Coat Dress: This multi-hued light chiffon dress has a relaxed fit and can be worn from day to night. Says Chalhoub, “I have mixed some of my favorite colors to create an impactful combo. I love yellow and find that it mixes nicely with other brights.” In winter you can use this coat dress as an overlay.

2. Reem AlKanhal’s Sara Kaftan Dress in solar yellow: This comfortable robe comes with a contrast lining and has a fun tassel feature on the back, it can be worn over jeans as a duster, or on its own as a summer dress. “The dress is named the Sara Dress, after my daughter, who I’ve called “Sunshine” for years, and the sun and its golden yellow tones are always associated in my mind with her joy,” said Al Kanhal.

3. Reemami’s Multicolored Balloon sleeve dress:  A short, flirty dress with balloon sleeves with panel details is perfect for summer evenings.  The injection of yellow on this printed bright pink dress adds a dash of daring. As the label founder Reema Al Banna says, “These times call for color, there is nothing like expressing yourself through what you wear.” Photography @chebmoha Models @gncakl @suheyek @samiralamemes

The Color Decoder

Holistic Therapist, Ingrid Sprake takes us through the meaning of hues, as each color conjures up different emotions.

This color brings a mental state of luxury and a feeling of slightly indulgent self worth. It also has mystical and magical qualities, evoking feelings of deep self-knowledge and self-confidence.

This is a restful color, tending to calm and soothe the wearer, bringing them into a place of peace and acceptance. It also helps with reducing stress and anxiety.

A color linked to health and wellness, the wearer feels physically and mentally great. Green elevates us to a place where we can feel a sense of compassion for ourselves and others.

Associated with romance and love, this gives a softness and radiance to the wearer. It can enhance feelings of self-love, as well as attract amorous attention from others.

Yellow is connected to cheerfulness, joy, optimism and happiness as well as helping to increase mental activity. The Solar Plexus Chakra is yellow and governs our ability to take action in life, make good decisions and cultivate willpower.

A color great for those needing to boost their energy levels, focus and concentration.

The color of power and impact, red is great for self-confidence and self-esteem. The Root Chakra is red and represents our vital life force energy, strength, stability and trust, so wearing this color will help you feel strong and anchored to life. It can also help bring clarity.