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June 26, 2022 2 min read 1 Comment

What is it about this season’s serape that makes us feel so summery and happy? Turns out, it’s where style meets science.

The reason this combination works is multi-faceted.

For starters, there’s the concept we’ve introduced and expounded upon before: complementary colors. While you may not realize it, most of us are at least somewhat familiar with color theory, the way different hues interact to create aesthetics that are either pleasing or displeasing to the eye. The concept is visually represented in the well-known Color Wheel, a creation by Sir Isaac Newton that maps out the color spectrum into a circle. Colors opposite the spectrum, in this case, orange and blue, are perfectly complementary colors, shades that balance each other. But also in this serape, you’ll find analogous colors (ones adjacent to each other on the wheel) – for instance the oranges and yellows, and the blues and turquoises – which are harmonious. This season’s serapes weave together both of those elements in a way that is both energizing and soothing… like sunshine.

That is the second facet of why this particular pattern is so enticing: it subversively channels a summer sunrise. The fierce blood oranges are gradient into warm yellows and then into soft turquoises and then bold blues and then back again, and it evokes the same imagery as a sun rising (or setting) over an ocean… sky to sun to water again. It is essentially sunshine as a sundress! (Or hoodie or shorts or pants… or fabulous leather jacket!)

And why do we like the idea of dressing like the sunrise? Because it makes us happy! There is a secondary science (or pseudoscience, don’t come at us) associated with color theory that studies the effects that certain hues have on the psyche, how it relates to mood and behavior and whatnot – like how blue is supposed to be soothing and how red-and-yellow makes you hungry (there’s a whole chicken-and-egg argument there, but we won’t get into that). Anyway, there is a strong and pervasive trend in fashion right now, and for the foreseeable future, known as “dopamine dressing.” Now, technically, this is nothing new – we all remember the Pucci prints of the ‘60s and ‘70s and the neons of the ‘90s – but this go ‘round dopamine dressing is conscious and intentional. After the last two years, the world is focused on feeling happy and dressing in bold bright colors is said to trigger a dopamine response that does just that. And can you think of anything happier than sunshine?


1 Response


June 28, 2022

This is so true about colors and needing some color sunshine! Yesterday, my honey and I walked in to a brew pub and the young man behind the bar greeted us heartily and told us he loved our colorful clothing. I had on a DDR poncho and Dave was wearing a Hawaiian shirt with like colors. We had a great conversation with him about clothing color choices and feelings. Not at all what we expected in a small town venue where we were visitors.

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