Polka dots are everywhere. Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Armani, Valentino, McQueen and Dolce & Gabbana are a few designers who have included polka dots in their spring collections. Burberry layered a large polka dot print overtop their iconic tartan for scarves, rain-boots and handbags. But its good to know that polka dots were common in European fashion in the late 19th century and they never really went away. They were seen on the bathing suits of pin-up girls in the 1950s. Carolina Herrera has continued to use polka dots in her collections since the 1980s. Kate Spade has also put polka dots front and centre of her collections. Oscar de la Renta has made everything from gowns to belts with these same dots.
I have always liked the classic look of polka dots—it's simple, it's clean and it's fun. In my wardrobe, I have several dotted shirts, pocket squares, neckties and bowties, socks and underwear. For me the objective has always been to make polka dots the focal point of a more conservative outfit. Polka dots say I'm approachable and stylish. But if you have hesitations about the print, here are a few tips:
Keep it small on clothing. Most of the polka dots we're seeing on clothing are smaller—between the size of a quarter to a pin dot. Larger dots are louder and this is why they are often kept to accessories like scarves and bags. Smaller dot prints are classic, fresh and perfect for spring.
Wear it with a solid colour. Too much of any print can be a bad idea so use it as piece of an outfit so you aren't covered head-to-toe. If you do a polka dot dress, keep it short. A polka dot shirt looks great with a men's solid colour suit.
Not all dots are created equally. If you want something more interesting, try a pattern with mulit-coloured dots. Classic black and white dots never go out of style but keep them in rich fabrics like silk. Monochromatic dot patterns are very hot—for example, shiny black dots on a matte black background—just ensure the finish contrasts enough with the fabric to make an impact.
A little goes a long way. Polka dots are meant to be fun and whimsical so if you want to make a statement, opt for a brightly coloured polka dot tie, pocket square, pair of heels or purse. And go bold with your accessories and feel free to try a larger dot pattern here.
So the next time you are out shopping—keep an eye out for polka dots. You'll be surprised how often you see them around.