I wonder if it is fashionably accurate to refer Polka Dots as classic. They hardly go out of style. Even if they do, I’m pretty sure that they will be back with vengeance a short while later.

However, the truth is not everyone wears this classic pattern well. Why do some people look so gorgeous and trendy in polka dot dresses, while others appear frumpy in similar (but not the same) frocks?

1. Size does matter

Ranked by ascending dot size: Tofu Polka Dress With Collar, Adrianna Papell Polka Dot Dress, Marni for H&M Jacket and Skirt

Indeed, I was referring to the size of the dots, and the space between the dots is crucial. I typically prefer very small and spaced out dots, or big and close-knitted ones. The trickiest pattern to work on is the mid-sized, regular spaced dots which look very retro and pose a risk of looking ancient and matured.

2. Colours are important

Polka fun: Forever 21 Polka Dot Dress with Belt, Bini Como Short Dress, Trina Turk Millicent Print Belted Dress

Black, blue or white are the classic combinations but if I were wearing mid-sized dots, which I feel are the most difficult to carry off, I would go for patterns with unique colour combination, such as green and pink, or coral and pale yellow etc. Alternatively, go for varied polka dot patterns. This would help neutralise the “retro” or “backward” notion of the outfit.

3. Note the fabric

Feminine Appeal: Robert Rodriguez Draped Polka Dot Dress, Dahlia Chiffon Skater Dress, Flair de Lune Dress

I think polka dots are the easiest to carry off if they are printed on sheer fabric, such as chiffon or silk. The softness of the material would help to create a flirty and feminine image, especially when matched with the classic small or mid-sized dots.

4. Mix prints

Mixed Dots: Paul by Paul Smith Polka Dot Dress, Nanette Lepore Bouquet Print Dress, River Island Waisted Dress in Retro Print

This is tricky, but high risk result in high returns. Nonetheless, for conservative dressers, opt for patterns that mix polka dots with other prints. Using the principle that “the designers know it best”, the clash between the different patterns could create a cool new look.

Do you have any personal polka dot tips? Do share!


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