Trend report: Polka dots

Jenessa Williams

Polka dots are back and bigger than ever this summer—here's how to style them

Where did the trend come from?

From left to right: Mary Katrantzou, Givenchy, Christian Dior, Mulberry

Championed as far back as the 1920s as a print that spoke of fun and femininity, the polka dot is a pattern that has never gone far out of trend.

For 2018 however, fashion is looking less prim and more “out-there” with it’s spots, applying them in vibrant colour contrasts, abstract sizings and against more masculine silhouettes.

Designers Mary Katrantzou and Givenchy looked to pop art for inspiration for their SS18 collections, whereas Dior and Mulberry opted for something a little more grown-up, in staple, wearable shades that flatter every skin tone.

Unlike a stripe, polka dots have very little impact on a body’s proportion, truly suiting every shape.  

Whatever your selected spot, polka dots can be used both for childlike whimsy and for sophistication, adding a touch of fun to any wardrobe.

 

What should I be looking for?

From left to right, top to bottom: New Look Headband £3.99, Zara Trousers £19.99, Topshop Blouse £34, Converse Trainers £55, Racil Vest £73, Monki Jumpsuit £35, River Island V Neck Top £17, Bershka Bow £4.99, ASOS Heels £14.50, Prada Handbag £1260, Warehouse Dress £69, Marni Jumper £165, ASDA Vest £6, Topshop Skirt £39, Dorothy Perkins Trousers £22, Marks & Spencer T Shirt £5, Alexa Chung Sandals £355

Clear definition. Whether your choice of polka dot is large or small, perfectly round or more of a splatter, it should always be well defined to make a real impact.

Start out with classic black and white, or get adventurous with two high contrast colours against one another.

Cotton and viscose fabrics allow for this sort of precision, as do silks and spandex.

 

How should I style this trend?

From left to right, top to bottom: New Look Dress £12, Stradivarius Mules £16, River Island Purse £12, Lindybop Scrunchie £3, Trouva Sunglasses £21, Accessorize Earrings £7, Valentino Scarf £159, Mango Jumpsuit £29.99, ASOS Beachbag £26, H&M Blouse £7, Roman Originals Button Up Smock £30, JDY Leggings £6, Cath Kidston Watch £49, H&M Tights £2, ASDA Swimsuit £12.50

Know your colours. Polka dots wear best when they’re allowed to stand out, so consider sporting a bold top with a plain pair of jeans, or a monochrome polka dress against a red shoe.

That aside, if you’re feeling truly bold, polka dots can look fashion-forward when worn together. Choose a top and skirt with similar sized spots in different colours for an optical illusion, or liven up a plainer outfit with spotty heels and matching bag.

 

Where can I get this look?

From left to right, top to bottom: Oliver Bonas Dress £69.50, Essentiel Antwerp Trainers £145, Matalan Blouse £6, Boden Scarf £25, Next T Shirt 312.50, Office Sliders £18, Billie & Blossom Brown Dress £35, Zara Top £7.99, Ganni Green Dress £180, Valentino Jumper £575, Simply Be Skirt £22, Joanie Culottes £28

Absolutely everywhere! Designer brands such as Ganni, Valentino and Alexa Chung all sell a variety of polka dot garments that can live in your wardrobe for a lifetime, ranging from feminine frilled frocks to businesslike suits and scarves.

If the high street is more your budget, supermarkets and family stores such as Matalan, Primark and Marks & Spencer all have great options that require less financial commitment.