You didn't know you needed this, but I'm giving you permission to go out. "As if we needed permission, Rachel" you say, but honestly, I now need a catalyst to get dressed up and force my introverted self to RSVP "yes." Furthermore, to put together an ensemble that is totally dressy, and disregard any hesitation towards making my outfit more casual because I'm too afraid to be over-dressed. Chances are, I won't be, readers. Everyone is taking to the path of escapism this spring and summer; readying their occasion-wear with the most spirited and party-worthy pieces for even the most mundane events. We're back, baby!
Dopamine dressing is the predicted trend of the season and once again, the fashion gods (Vogue) are not wrong. We're dressing in bright and bold colors to reflect our newly freed state (of mind and body) and this season, we're bringing prints back with a vengeance. Every spring and summer, familiar prints like stripes, florals, and fruit prints always dominate streetwear and clothing racks - and this year, we're seeing a renewed take on lively classics.
Watercolor & Gilded Flare
As we saw on the Met Gala carpet last night, there was a glaring lack of actual gilded era-inspired fashion pieces - despite the theme being just that. I wanted to see high collared sassy ball gowns with subtle modern takes and top hats! Putting that aside, one thing everyone noted was the event's Co-Chair Blake Lively (who has an undisputed history of slaying the Gala's famed carpet) reveal her secondary dress which points to our first print inspiration: Watercolor.
Think tie-dye, think scenic blending of on-trend colors, and picture incorporating it into your ensemble. I wouldn't call Blake Lively's look entirely watercolor-inspired, but you get the idea. Blending bold hues within dramatic patterns is what we're after this season. Speaking of the gilded era - this spring and summer is all about embracing the occasions. Meaning, dress for occasions across the board - because you never know when you're going to get a last minute invite to the ball, am I right? Say yes to heels for a coffee date, or choose a summer dress for running errands. That's dopamine dressing taken one step further: dressing with specific types of pieces that make us feel happy and ready for anything.
Image: Cynthia Rowley
When shopping for prints and patterns, stick to the pastels and turn it up to eleven. Brushstroke prints in these shades offer a new take on the traditional tie-dye. Traditionally boho-fed festival wear accents like lace, feathers, and kaleidoscope colors have drifted into the "dress-up" occasional wear, and we're seeing pastel patterns on cocktail dresses and dinner gowns as well as band t-shirts and graphic sweaters. Speaking of...
Often referred to as "the printer's painting", this look is a graphic print method of replicating the timeless and classic painting style on print. Music tour merchandise always draws me in when it has an artistic flair - and we're seeing fashion reach back to art forms of the before-mentioned gilded age and prior. Think Bridgerton; I certainly want to wear gloves to my next event. And if my next event is a concert - well maybe I'll just find a shirt with a regency-era painted musician printed on the front. I may have to hit up a vintage shop to make that find.
The Natural World
Pictured: Floral Pajama Set, Verie
As I was researching the prints that are making their mark on this season, the one thing that stood out to me was berries. Fruit and florals are forever symbols of the timeline from planting to harvest, as in, spring to late summer, but it's this year's take on both that I'm excited for. Although florals for spring are forever groundbreaking, the minimalist floral and all things cottagecore - which is very much alive and well - are focused on our new found love for outdoor gatherings, picnics, strolls (shall we promenade?) and fruit motifs. Berries being predicted as the next key one, specifically (WGSN).
Whatever print is your pick, just remember that this spring and summer, you should take any reason to dopamine dress in occasion-wear, regardless of what that occasion is. Take inventory of your closet and see if you're missing prints that bring you happiness. Next, rip a page from Blake Lively's book and make a moment-stopping, breath-taking dress reveal for no reason in particular, because we've been deprived of grandiose fashion for long enough.