There’s a reason the Yayoi Kusama exhibition at Tate Modern is always sold out. Peas are popular. And they look good in real life, as well as adorning art shows and Instagram feeds. The timeless polka dot pattern is striking and fun – and who wouldn’t want to be both at the same time? When it comes to decorative stitches, the leopard has held the ‘print of the day’ position for quite some time, hence why there are so many of them. Readers, there are only so many garments an animal print lover can own. Trying out a new pattern is the way to refine the basics and breathe freshness into a summer wardrobe. Now is the time to change your spots.
From Audrey Hepburn to Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, from Carrie Bradshaw to Alexa Chung, polka dots are timeless. And there’s definitely an air of 1950s Parisian chic in the humble stitch, making the smaller iteration appropriate for darker occasions. At Prince Philip’s memorial service, Kate Middleton chose an elegant black and white polka dot dress by Alessandra Rich. A first class lesson in dressing for the occasion.
Double in midsize stitches gives the classic twinset a modern twist; Technically the cardigan and the “Henley” collared top I’m wearing aren’t meant to be worn together, but once I started seeing stains I couldn’t stop. I consider this polka dot two-piece a lively update on the traditional twinset and pearls, more Michelle Obama than Mrs Doubtfire.
This season, there has been a breakout of spots across the fashion world. Louis Vuitton designer Nicolas Ghesquière celebrated the French company’s 200th anniversary by showing off a dashing black and white polka dot cape on the catwalk. Proving the importance of colorful accessories (for a luxury brand), Balenciaga’s loose monochrome dress looked cool with a quilted red handbag and a fuzzy lemon scarf – even Gucci sprinkled dots on its heritage monogrammed bags .
For those who like to play with patterns, polka dots and stripes make a great combination. Channel Funny Face-era Audrey Hepburn wearing a polka dot cardigan over a striped Breton top and capri pants. Do like Carrie Bradshaw with a striped cashmere sweater and flowing skirt from Winser London. Go bigger and bolder by pairing the Mango polka dot jumpsuit with the apricot and black zipped t-shirt Agnès B and chunky sandals. Do you suffer from shyness induced by occasional impressions? It doesn’t have to go completely to the point, a simple scarf is all you need to look striking.
Three ways to go dotty for the pattern
keep it simple
If going head-to-toe gets you out in spots, take the Marlene Dietrich approach and wear a polka-dot silk scarf with a sleek white blazer. Just add a pair of jeans and your favorite dark glasses
It’s a matter of scale
Keep the polka dot scale small if you’re going for a traditional look. For more than one statement, the larger the stain, the better. It’s really a matter of dare or go home
mix and match
Refresh an everyday wardrobe with a mix of polka dots and stripes. Pair a polka dot top with a pair of white jeans, a striped cardigan and chunky sandals.