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How to Wear Polka Dots

Minnie Mouse has competition as fashion divas around the world embrace polka dots, and make the print their own in a stylish way. Here's how you can wear polka dots without looking like a five-year-old all dressed up.
Wear a polka-dotted dress
Beg/Borrow/Steal?

Since they are such a retro trend, we are sure that you'll be able to find a vintage polka dot piece in your mother's or grandmother's closet. Just scrounge their cupboard for a top/skirt/dress that even they have forgotten they owned.
The dotty world of polka dots driving you crazy? Not too surprising, since the erstwhile-childlike trend has grown up and is making its presence felt in fashionable circles all over. From Sarah Jessica Parker to Anne Hathaway, everyone who is anyone has gone the dots way.

But how do you get over that nervous feeling in the pit of your stomach―the feeling that tells you that wearing polka dots may just make you look like you're playing fancy dress? Show the stop signal to that feeling right there. The polka dots family has a lot more to offer than you give it credit for. It has grown up and it has done so with style. Let's take a look at how you can wear these tiny little circles without feeling like you have regressed into childhood.

Wear a Dress

Polka dots dress

Now, we love our vintage, and we think nothing does this print better justice than a retro-inspired, halter neck dress. A cinched dress like the one shown here not only channels the '50s, but also enhances the illusion of an hourglass figure. For a modern take on the same, try color blocking; wear accessories in a contrasting color. If retro is not your style, try smaller prints or even colors that are traditionally not associated with the dots pattern. A different silhouette too, can change the vibe of the dress completely.

Wear a Skirt

Polka dots skirt

Like we said before, we just can't get over our retro. So, when we wear a polka-dotted skirt, it's a little difficult to leave the old behind. We love this combination of a little girlish polka-dotted skirt with a tank top. The makeup and the updo adds to the look. If you want to go the more modern route, we suggest you wear a pencil skirt with tiny polka dots and team it with a shirt or a nautical striped tee.

Wear a Top

Polka dots top

Since the pattern can be an unforgiving one, we suggest that you let proportion do the talking here. Keep the prints on your top proportional to your body shape. So, if you are bigger on top, then we suggest that you wear bigger polka dots to balance a bigger bust. For a petite woman, smaller dots are much more flattering. This of course does not hold true, if contrast is what you are aiming at. If you opt for muted colors like gray and black, and wear the top with a pair of denims, you will keep the look utterly up-to-date.

Wear Denims

Polka dots denims

Printed pants have been all the rage for quite a while now, and if you want to combine two trends, then this is the space to do it. Splurge on a pair of fun, polka-dotted denims to be in vogue. You can either choose to wear your pants with a top in a complementary color or make the look even more fun by (and this is not for the faint-hearted) wearing a polka-dotted top with it for added chutzpah.

Wear a Jacket

Polka dots jacket

Outerwear is enjoying its moment in the sun right now, and whoever said that you need to keep it dull, drab, and in neutral colors?! Make jackets cheerful with a dotted pattern. Instead of small tiny dots, we suggest you opt for big, slightly grungy dots. If you are one for experimentation, try a mix of polka dots in different sizes. Since this coat will need to be the center of attention, ensure that the rest of your clothes are muted.

Wear a Headband

Polka dots headband

Normally, when we think of how to wear a certain pattern, we only talk clothes, but why should your accessories be left behind? This print is the perfect starting point for accessories. Have fun with a retro-inspired, tied headband. Remember to keep your updo in sync with the hairstyles of the era.

Wear a Head Scarf

Polka dots head scarf

Want a fun look for a casual beach party? No print will be a better accessory than polka dots to help you scream fun without saying a word. Tie it around your head for a chic look. Note how the print has been worn with a striped dress without looking out of place. You can do the same by wearing two prints in similar colors.

Carry an Accessory

Polka dots scarf and umbrella

Channel your inner Marilyn Monroe à la the look in the image. Drape a scarf in a complementary color combination around your neck and include an accessory like a clutch, a belt, earrings, shoes, or even an umbrella in a contrasting color. With bold prints, one or two signature pieces should be the focal point/s and the rest of your clothing should work around it.

Polka dots can be a lot of fun. On days when everything seems morose and tired, this cheery print can bring the required happiness in your wardrobe. Just remember to allow the print to be the focal point of your outfit without excessively brightening or dulling the entire ensemble. So, get shopping and enjoy this print like it's meant to be.
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Published: December 11, 2013
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Comments
Thank you so much Amita and Naomi! - Tulika [December 12, 2013]
Good one ... liked the combinations ... :-) - Amita [December 12, 2013]
SIGH! I love the '50s vibe of this article. Keep the good writing, up! - Naomi Sarah [December 11, 2013]