December 9, 2023


Fashion Your personal

How to Fill Your Closet with Joy

If there is one fashion lesson we’ve learned over the past couple of years, it’s that getting dressed—or a lack thereof—can have a direct impact on the way we feel. Now with our world in bloom and summer just around the corner, there’s a palpable feeling of hope in the air as we dream of brighter days ahead. Thanks to this season’s mood-boosting fashion, a little wardrobe refresh may provide the dopamine hit we all need right now.

“There’s something inherently optimistic about this season’s trends—vibrant colors, whimsical prints and patterns, airy fabrics, shorter hemlines. It matches the lightness in the air,” explains Oprah Daily’s fashion editor, Paula Lee.

The concept of instilling joy through what we wear has a name—“dopamine dressing”—and has long been the subject of psychological research. Studies show that our fashion choices truly can influence how we feel.

“This spring, fashion is really about being a maximalist and adding joy into your wardrobe,” says Hearst Women’s Group fashion editor Ann Wang, who styled the LAUREN Ralph Lauren looks for this story. “The mood is all about having fun transitioning into a new season with lifted covid restrictions, rebirth, and getting outside.”

Ahead, a look at the mood-boosting fashion of the season.

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Lauren Loncar/Mohamed Sadek

Graphic Prints

Traditional plaid becomes a sunny new print option for spring when reimagined in rainbow hues. “Graphic prints can be intimidating for some people, so my first suggestion is to try it on a simple silhouette like a button-down shirt,” advises Wang. “You can always opt for a classic like gingham or plaid to test the waters.” To balance the look, Wang recommends pairing a multicolor print with neutral staples such as crisp jeans and a leather tote. “White denim is the perfect canvas here, and can be styled so many different ways,” she says.

Plaid Linen Shirt

LAUREN Ralph Lauren Plaid Linen Shirt

Slimming Premier Straight Jean

LAUREN Ralph Lauren Slimming Premier Straight Jean

Woven Embossed Leather Large Brit Tote

LAUREN Ralph Lauren Woven Embossed Leather Large Brit Tote

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Lauren Loncar/Mohamed Sadek

Classic Florals

And what would the season be without florals? “A smile-inducing print is a surefire way to lift spirits,” says Lee. “I can’t wait to embrace romantic prints and retro wallpaper patterns, which always make me feel a little more carefree and hopeful about sunny days and warm weather events ahead.” A cute and cheerful maxi dress is a great way to channel the joy of summer parties and wedding season celebrations. “Add an element of surprise like the cognac belt with silver chain,” says Wang. “This helps break up the print and define your figure.”

Floral Crinkle Georgette Halter Gown

LAUREN Ralph Lauren Floral Crinkle Georgette Halter Gown

Flip-Lock Leather Belt

LAUREN Ralph Lauren Flip-Lock Leather Belt
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Lauren Loncar/Mohamed Sadek

The Little Summer Dress

“Now that the world is opening back up, I’m looking forward to dressing up again, but comfort is still key,” says Wang. Enter the little summer dress, or LSD, as we’re coining this phrase. Breezy, effortless, and versatile, our editors agree that the LSD is a joy-sparking wardrobe staple sure to induce feel-good vibes. “You can never have too many little summer dresses,” says Wang. “They are comfortable, chic, and easily styled up or down. You really can’t go wrong.” One-and-done and out-the-door feeling good? Yes, please.

Ocelot-Print Belted Georgette Dress

LAUREN Ralph Lauren Ocelot-Print Belted Georgette Dress

Embossed Leather Medium Adair Crossbody

LAUREN Ralph Lauren Embossed Leather Medium Adair Crossbody

Feona Burnished Leather Sandal

LAUREN Ralph Lauren Feona Burnished Leather Sandal

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Lauren Loncar/Mohamed Sadek

Statement Color

Vibrant hues just may be the secret to sparking joy, and our editors voted a resounding yes when it comes to embracing color. “Just seeing fun and colorful pieces in my closet makes me excited to dress up and go out,” explains Wang. And Lee plans on infusing bright colors in all parts of her wardrobe this season, too. “It’s impossible to be in a bad mood when you’re wearing hot pink, right?” In terms of styling, consider unexpected color combinations to see what works. “I love a neutral shade like olive paired with brights,” shares Wang, who suggests styling this ombre saturated midi skirt with a casual olive green knit.

Ombré Linen-Blend Midi Skirt

LAUREN Ralph Lauren Ombré Linen-Blend Midi Skirt

O-Ring Leather Belt

LAUREN Ralph Lauren O-Ring Leather Belt

If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that feeling good is, in itself, a worthy endeavor. These are trying times, and choosing joy is a daily practice. (Not always easy, but we are doing our best!) Trends aside, when it comes to getting dressed, pull out the pieces in your closet that light you up.

“Wear what makes you feel your best,” says Lee. “Fashion is meant to be fun, after all!”

Art Direction by Mandi Hayes; Styling by Ann Wang; Hair by Amy Farid; Makeup by Julianna Grogan; Prop Styling by Erica Magrey; Production by Maddie Chapin.