Polka dots are a timeless print that will undoubtedly stay in style for decades to come. They’re forever associated with the retro style but never appear outdated. They’re simplistic yet bold. A print of incredible versatility, polka dots can be used and styled in so many unique ways that it can be difficult to decide what kind of aesthetic you want, and how to best portray that aesthetic using the classic polka dot pattern. Here, we break down the most common uses for polka dots, and how you can incorporate them into your own personal look.
Polka dots are often thought of as a cute and even dainty pattern, and while they are not limited to this characterization, they can certainly be worn this way. The spots can be large or small; what really matters is what you pair them with. By coupling polka dots with lacy embroidery, bows, or ruffles, you’ll look ever-graceful and enchanting on your summer stroll. This navy blue piece, for instance, serves as an elegant contribution to the charm of the entire ensemble. The use of a pastel palette can also create a sense of fanciful whimsy that is well-associated with this pattern. Pinks, peaches, and baby-blues are the go-to hues for most people, but light grays, periwinkles, and creams are great options, too.
Perhaps you prefer a classier look for a day at work or some other posh outing. Luckily, depending on how you style them, polka dots can actually take up a large portion of your outfit without seeming unprofessional. Try selecting one polka-dotted piece and pairing it with something plain and simple. Whether it’s a preppy pencil skirt and spotted blouse combination or a classy dress that’s speckled on the lower half, ensure the dots are contained to certain areas to keep the outfit looking clean and chic. Pair with matching flats or heels and some trendy shades and you’ll be catching everyone’s eye!
Highly contrasting polka dots are more than welcome with this style, especially the standard black and white, but you might prefer something more muted, like a combination of white and lavender. You can also limit the dots to an accessory, like a watch or handbag, for a more refined style that still has just a touch of the eccentric. In general, treating polka dots as an accent to an outfit, rather than the focal point, can make an outfit more reserved, but also more sophisticated.
Round n’ Retro
There are few truths in this world, but one of them is: polka dots are inherently retro. So, if that’s the look you’re after, put a speckled swing in your step with a polka dot skater dress or spotted puff sleeve blouse! In order to really rock the rockabilly look, you’ll want to have pieces that sport larger dots (often white, but not always) against a boldly contrasting color (think: reds, blues, blacks, and navies).
There are also distinctive clothing types and silhouettes that are fundamental building blocks to successfully achieving that 40s and 50s vibe. Stick with the sweetheart necklines, fit-and-flare dresses, and A-line skirts that dominate this style, all covered in polka dots of course, and your take on this classic look will be spot on.
Playful Polka Dots
Elegance and sophistication are great, but sometimes, you just want to have a little fun with your outfit, and polka dots can function as quite the playful print! This is the best opportunity to steal the show this summer and mix and match polka dots of different sizes and even different colors. Don’t be afraid to combine a blue and white polka dot dress with a cardigan. If the colors are in the same family, and the patterns are complementary, then it’ll look fantastic. A complementary pattern doesn’t necessarily have to be polka dots, either. There’s no reason you can’t combine an ivory and mustard cardigan with a dotted dress that sports the same colors. Polka dots make up a print that encourages quirky combinations and interpretations, so you shouldn’t shy away from an especially unusual blend of colors and patterns if it suits your personality!
Every wardrobe (and boutique!) can incorporate spotted pieces, no matter what style is trying to be achieved. This summer, keep it fresh by experimenting with dots on your clothing and accessories. WFS hopes that our tips encourage shoppers in your store to wear polka dots with bold confidence. Visit our website to see other polka dot pieces, and be sure to drop a comment below telling us what you’d like us to discuss next!