Cynthia Rowley SS 2024 Double Take Dress
Cynthia Rowley SS 2024 Double Take Dress Courtesy of Cynthia Rowley

Welcome to the latest twist on "dopamine dressing." Dua Lipa just dropped her Radical Optimism album and we couldn't help but think how the title is so in line with the spirit of fashion right now. In the perfect timing for the spring and summer ahead, a slew of happy trends has sprung up to give us all a much-needed dose of what we've dubbed "radical optimism dressing." From the dominance of maximalism to the arrival of boho 2.0, beautiful feminine skirts being spring's hero pieces and the welcome return of pastels, pretty florals, fanciful details like feathers, ruffles, embellishment and a riot of fun, bright colors and prints. Even this year's Met Gala theme "The Garden of Time" speaks to a fresh, blooming new mood in fashion.

Radical Optimism
Leonard Paris Spring 2024. Courtesy of Launchmetrics Spotlight

Clothes should after all be about wearing your dreams on your sleeve and strutting down the runway of life with unshakable confidence and killer style. The iconic Coco Chanel said it best when she emphasized the emotional connection we have with clothing: "Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street. Fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening."

Zendaya at Challengers Paris Photocall
Zendaya poses at the Challengers Paris photocall on April 6. Courtesy of Kristy Sparow/Getty Images

Right now we do indeed seem to be looking to the sky — or rather the sunset, given Pantone's 2024 Shade of the Year Peach Fuzz — to inspire our wardrobes. Along with our favorite celebrity style stars who are igniting a collective feeling of radical optimism through their latest heart-stopping looks. Think Zendaya's recent future-forward, jaw-dropping moments, first in that vintage Mugler robot suit (she really is a superhero) and then proving pajamas in a fun shade can really brighten up a red carpet at the Paris Challengers photocall. Rihanna channeled both cowboy core and flower power on a recent cover of Vogue China wearing a floral embroidered bralette, a matching jacket and a cowboy hat. And Kaia Gerber in a spring-worthy cobalt blue Alaïa haute couture goddess-style, high-neck minidress she accessorized with white stilettos (white is bringing radical optimism to accessories this season).

Kaia Gerber at the premiere of Palm Royale
Kaia Gerber is beautiful in blue at the Palm Royale premiere. Courtesy of Phillip Faraone/Getty Images

Radical Optimism: Decoding Fashion's New Psychology

Ever noticed how slipping into a fabulous dress or rocking that killer pair of shoes instantly ignites feelings of joy and optimism? That's all down to fashion psychology. According to the psychological study Enclothed Cognition by Adam D. Galinsky and Hajo Adam, what we wear influences our emotions, confidence and social and cultural affiliations plus shapes how we interact and are perceived by others. Meanwhile, renowned psychologist Carl Jung believed in the power of archetypes and claimed that certain clothing styles tap into our subconscious to evoke specific personas. So yes, the very act of getting dressed allows us to project our unique identity out to the world.

Radical Optimism Has Taken Dopamine Dressing to the Next Joy-Filled Level

If dopamine dressing was all about color and feel-good fashion, the spirit of "Radical Optimism" is about wearing clothes designed to let the real you shine (or outshine). If ever there was a beacon of radical optimism it was Bella Baxter (aka Emma Stone) in Poor Things. Her wildly eccentric, ridiculously maximalist and joyful take on Victorian dressing — from those OTT puff sleeves to her glorious ruffle blouses and bohemian maxi dresses — the film was a fashion stage that left us inspired, invigorated and running to add these trends to our wardrobes stat.

"The current fashion mood feels very optimistic. After far too many seasons of minimalism, especially in a post-COVID world, there really are so many wonderful, different and happy trends to try right now. Women want to dress up, show their own personal style and are more willing to experiment than ever," says Fashion Times Fashion Market Director Sarah Meikle.

How to Inject a Little Radical Optimism into Your Wardrobe

Be Experimental: Don't be afraid to mix and match trends to create your own unique look. Maximalism is our new mantra.

Embrace Playful: Permission is granted to add bold colors, textures and prints to your wardrobe, ruffles, feather details and eclectic prints are a great way to showcase your personality and mood.

Master Accessorizing: Shoes, bags, jewelry and even hats and headpieces can take your outfit from ordinary to extraordinary. Right now white accessories are trending and are a crisp, fresh take on classic (aka boring) black and brown.

Own Your Confidence: Rock whatever you wear with confidence and you'll shine brighter than any designer label. Fashion is about having fun and expressing your authentic self. When you feel good it shows.

Additional reporting by Monica Mizzi

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