Have you been wondering if you can still don dotted print as a grown woman? This ultimate style guide for women will give you all the tips you´ll need on how to wear polka dots.
I love how the dotty trend disproves the traditional notion that polka dots shouldn´t be worn when you´re passed third grade. It´s continual appearance on the runway every spring and summer shows is a nod to this ever evolving, ever chic polka dots.
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Long before I saw lots of dots trending the runway and every viral look being adopted by many fashion and style bloggers, I already had a heart for this print especifically those bigger dots.
I realized my adoration for it when one day while organizing my closet I found several numbers of polka dot dresses and blouses. This love of mine for polka dots fueled me to make a breakdown of some runway and celebrity looks that I found worthy to mimic.
Yet after years of writing about dots I figured it´s about time to lay down all the tips on a single page to make it your go-to style guide whenever you need help on how to wear polka dots.
How to Wear Polka Dots: The Basics
When it comes to polka dots, I lean more towards wearing it as a single piece whether it´s a little dress or a jumpsuit. Choose a polka dots little dress in style and cut that you know suits you best. For me, most of my polka dots mini dresses are spaghetti straps with full skirts worn with wide belt.
Wear Polka Dots Singly
In the photos above, Ali Larter and Jessica Lowndes both wore a sleeveless, V-neck polka dot dress with full skirt. Since their waist is cinched, it created an hour glass silhouette. These dresses are great for a curvy or voluptuous figure. However, remember that fit and flare dresses will flatter all body types.
The third look above is a sleeveless A-line polka dot dress which is perfect for a slim figure.
Because I have a slim figure, I go for bigger polka dots to contrast my leanness. If you have a fuller figure, opt for smaller polka dots. If you´re in between, you have more freedom to choose. This is important if you´re wearing a single polka dot dress.
Mix Polka Dots in Various Sizes and Colors
A very creative way of wearing polka dots is by mixing together various sizes and colors of dots — big dots with small, black dots with whites or polka details with transparent effects. Here are 3 gorgeous tips in mixing polka dots, from the left:
- Mix small with big polka dots. Go for a top with small polka dot details and pair it with a skirt, pants or shorts with bigger polka dot print, or vice-versa. The contrast of sizes is eye-catching.
- Mix a white dotted separate with another black dotted separate. Choose a black top with white polka dots and pair it with a white skirt/pants/shorts with black polka dots, or vice-versa. The contrast of colors is striking.
- Go daring and wear a transparent or nude top with black polka dots. Pair it with a black dotted skirt, pants or shorts. The effect is bold and sa head-turner.
Just a Hint of Polka Dots
Another polished way of wearing polka dots is to have just a hint of it in your outfit . A peek of dots adds fun to a rather plain look. It can also spices up a muted print. Below are three ways to do it:
- Wear a dotty top with a skirt and pull them together with a matching blazer.
- Throw a light-colored trench coat over a polka dot dress and wear a pair of sexy heels.
- Choose a light printed dress and wear with a cropped polka-dotted blazer in black and white for a seriously interesting look.
How to Wear Polka Dots Sweaters
Polka dot sweaters are probably one of the cutest printed sweaters you could wear for fall and winter. It´s playful and casually effortless.
The most versatile are the black/white and dark-blue/white dotted sweaters. They can be worn with just everything chich comes handy when you need a sweet defense from the chill but you aren´t ready yet to rock the coat.
Let´s take a look at how celebrities wear polka dot sweaters and why you should invest in one.
1. Wear Polka dot sweaters with riding boots.
Gwen Stefani and Isla Fischer both looked casually chic in a dotty sweater layered with skirt, tights, scarf, and riding boots. Working with all the neutrals, the sweet dots play the standout statement.
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2. Wear Polka dots sweater with ankle boots.
On a not too cold day, you can team a dotted sweater with jeans and ankle boots. Jordana Brewster wore her sweater with washed pulled up skinny jeans and laced up ankle boots while Emma Roberts created a classy look with dark blue trousers and suede gray boots.
3. Wear Polka dots sweater with your jeans of choice.
Depending on what kind of look you´re going for is the type of jeans to team with a polka dot sweater. Jessica Alba wanted a boy-meets-girl appeal so she opted for boyfriend jeans to go with her spotted top, finished off with flats.
Victoria Justice went for a more feminine, trendy take. I love that peak of peter pan collars on her sweater with light brown skinnies, slim leather belt, and sexy pumps.
What do you think of spotted sweaters? Which celebrity do you think wore the polka dot sweater best?
How to Wear a Black/White Polka Dots Blazer and Pumps
Here´s a style question submitted to me by one of my readers:
I bought a white blazer that has black polka dots on it, I also bought some suede black pumps that the back has white polka dots as well, which is from the Kardashian collection. Any ideas how to wear it and not look overwhelmed? I´m not much of a dress girl either I like to be comfortable but sexy. ~ Gladys
Because her polka dot blazer and polka dot pumps are both black and white, they´re easy to style for a dressy or a casual smart look. Check out the following looks I´ve created as examples.
How to Wear Polka Dots Jacket and Pumps for a Casual-Smart Look
If you want to dress up your polka dot Kardashian pumps, pair it up with a bright dress for a nice pop of color and then add a beige bag.
For your polka dot blazer, you can work on this season´s monochrome trend by teaming it up with white pants, black ankle boots, and a black clutch. This second look is not too dressy but girly and cute.
How to Wear Polka Dots Jacket and Pumps for a Dressy Look
For casual smart outfits, create a pattern clash with your polka dot pumps by pairing it with a stripes top. A colored mono skirt will give balance to the clash. Finish off with a white bag.
For the second look, toughen up a polka dot blazer with a black leather shorts (or any black shorts if you don´t have a leather), then finish off with a nude peep-toe ankle boot.
There are many ways to style your polka dot pieces, these are just some ideas. Remember that if you´re clashing a polka dot pattern with another pattern, make sure that there´s harmony in the mix.
For example, two black and white mono print blend through their colors, or a small print complement a large print especially if they´re in a family of colors.
Which of the above looks do you like the most?
How to wear Polka Dot Skirt
- Look #1. Huge dots midi pencil skirt
- Look #2. Mara Hoffman ruffled maxi skirt
- Look #3. Polka dot t-shirt blouse and midi pencil skirt / Polka dot crop top and maxi skirt set
- Look #4. Dot mesh pleated midi skirt
Although a polka dot top is easier to pull off, many ladies find the polka dot skirt a lil´ challenging. I kind of understand the feeling, it´s similar to my hesitations in pulling off a floor-sweeping long skirt.
But I love, love polka dots and I´m happy that this print is a hot spring/summer trend. What we see on the runway though are mostly black and white polka dots. That´s probably an attempt to make the print look grownup.
These six looks I´m about to show you featuring a polka dot skirt, illustrate that you can look as elegant and grown-up in a bright dotted look as you would in soft neutrals.
1. Polka dot top + polka dots skater skirt
There´s no question that black and white monochrome is elegant but sometimes, you also want to add a hint of color to your monochrome. One way to do it is by swapping your black and white polka dot skirt with a red/white dotted skirt. Other than your skirt, the rest of your look is black and white.
2. Bright top + polka dots skater skirt
This look is actually a reverse of the first. Only this time, you´re wearing the bright color on your top. Your top can be a bright solid or a bright printed, it´s totally up to you and to how well the prints blend together. Again, the rest of the look is black and white.
3. Pink sweater + polka dots pencil skirt
This is a perfect transitional outfit. Towards the end of spring and the beginning of fall, we get unpredicted weather, nice and warm today, dark and chilly next day. Style up your gorgeous dotted midi pencil skirt with a nice bright sweater, a pair of peep-toe boots, and some all-black accessory.
4. Casual tee with polka dot pleated skirt
Do you like to dress up cool and effortless in summer? My key staple for this theme of outfits is a simple + soft white tee. This is just of the outfits I could create with a white tee—worn tucked in a dirty white dotted pleated skirt, with nude ballet flats and a fedora.
5. Chiffon blouse + polka dot midi skirt
Here´s my high fashion take of the polka dot skirt. I chose a sheer skater skirt with lining to go with a white chiffon blouse. I polished up the look with black slim ankle strap high heels and a gold clutch.
6. Head to toe red polka dot skirt
This one is a tried and true combination, head-to-toe red with a hint of black. I love how the solid red top gives balance to the striking white/red polka dot skirt, and how the red pumps extend your vertical line. But I don´t want to be a sore to the eye so I added black accessory instead or other colors.
What do you think of these polka dot skirts? Are these something you´d love to wear?
How to Wear Polka Dots to Work
There are many ways you can style this polka dot pencil skirt professionally. Try layering it with a bright top and or modern-chic jacket such as a peplum blazer as you can see here worn by the model.
You can also swap colors and wear black or white top under a bright color jacket. You can also experiment with pastel button-down shirts.
When it´s time to rework it for a date, opt for a sleeveless top which you can easily tuck in, nothing boxy. And a glam clutch and slip on some sexy slingback pumps for a hint of flirt.
1. Poka Dot Bolero or Jacket over a black dress
I think I mentioned it a few times here in the blog how much I adore polka dots. Just like one reader pointed out to me in an email, no matter how much we age we still feel young deep inside. A love of dots is an expression of our youthful soul. Fortunately, there are many ways a matured woman can rock this print, and she can even wear it professionally.
If you´re wondering how to pull off polka dot print for the office and still look business-ready, start with a black dress layered with a polka dot bolero or blazer.
If you can get away with a little higher-than-the-knee skirt in the office, wear it bare-legged teamed with deep gold pumps. Otherwise, wear black opaque tights and black pumps with it.
2. Choose a professional-looking polka dot top for work
With a star and polka dot print contrast blouse there´s no reason to look dull in black and white monochrome for work. This blouse is designed with professional and feminine elements in mind. It has a whimsical bow accents, extension of the blouse´s contrast-print collar. Complete the look with black pointed-toe pumps.
Thinks to look for are peter pan collar, bow accents, clean dot print, and quarter sleeves.
3. How to wear polka dot midi skirt to work
How do you wear a swing skirt to the office? Dress a 60s polka dot swing skirt professionally for work with a white blouse, black blazer and black pumps, or with black fitted top worn tucked in and layered with beige or pastel cropped cardigan.
Alternatively, you can wear a black and white polka dot pleated midi skirt with a white button down shirt, complete with black pumps in summer or black leather booties in winter.
4. Flared Polka Dot Trousers à la Emma Stone
Have you seen the movie, The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise of Electro? Early in the movie Gwen Stacy (played by Emma Stone) had a small talk with Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx), an electric engineer in their company, in an elevator. She was wearing a professional yet super cute work outfit.
As far as I can remember, it was a pair of polka dot pants teamed with a bright top and white blazer (or a white top and bright blazer). Try a pair of flared dotted trousers with a black top and a yellow blazer for work. Or experiment wearing it with pastels and neutrals.
How to Wear Polka Dots in Summer
Polka dots print is the second animal print! Don´t worry if you´re past thirty, no rules say you can´t wear polka dot at certain ages. And if there are naysayers who insist you actually can´t, their rules are meant to be broken. So, now that summer is round the corner, it´s an opportunity to plan for some girly and fabulous ensembles with this pattern. Remember, if you need help, there are timeless ways to wear polka dots.
1. Match a dotted top with the season´s hottest color.
Lace and yellow are often two hot trends for spring and summer. Choose a bright yellow laced pencil skirt to wear with a blue dotted shirt top worn with rolled sleeves and accessorized with spring pearls. Polish up the look with white pumps and white envelope clutch.
2. Revive that peplum top with dotted skinny jeans.
If you think you´re done with your peplum top, here´s a great way to rework it – with black and white dotted pants. It´s super gorgeous especially if your top hits on your first hip. This is definitely a coveted look of the moment as you are very well aware of the mono trend. Complete the look with black pumps and gold chain jewelry.
3. Style up the season´s pleat trend with white jacket.
If you think hi-low style is so last year´s trend, this navy blue skirt is updated with spring´s pleat trend. Thus it´s actually a mix of three stunning features – hi-low style, pleated, and dotted. It looks super fabulous with a white top, white cropped jacket, and white pumps. It´s something you´d be delighted to wear to any formal gathering.
4. Do layering with colored dotted skinny pants
A revival of the classic colored pants is what you´d call this look. A teal green dotted skinny pant can be styled up with sleek layering. Wear a black sweater over a soft blue denim shirt then add a gold spike necklace. A pair of black ankle boots will give balance to the entire look as they match your sweater.
5. Go girly in monochrome polka dot dress.
Instead of mixing and matching, why not go for a one piece trend such as this monochromatic print, black and white polka dot dress? It´s a classic pattern that can always be revived and styled in many ways, making it very versatile.
While black and white mono is a hot trend this season, you can still wear this dress in many seasons to come, either layered with a biker leather jacket, added with a pop of color through a blazer, or worn with stunning bright shoes. But if you keep it with the current trend, then black heels would be great to complete.
6. Feminine Pink Polka Dot Dress
Here´s a rose pink sleeveless midi dress from Anne Klein. It´s a stylish yet comfortable frock to wear in summer. You can even wear it to work by simply adding a crop jacket, and then it will easily transition for an evening look.
For a dress look, I like adding a pair of pink satin high heels featuring some crystals. And in oder to tone down the pinkness if just a bit, I`m adding a super chic, large raffia handle bag from Emporio Armani. (Seriously, how beautiful is this bag?)
The dress is also available in red.
7. Black and White Polka Dot Tiered Midi Dress
If you´re looking to add fun to your summer wardrobe, tiered and twirly dresses such as this black and white polka dot dress from Lulus is a great style to start. I love how this dress allows you to highlight only your arms and neck, and goes modest from the waist down. This is the right way to go sexy while keeping things elegant.
8. Beige Polka Dot Satin Midi Slip Dress
I may be wrong but I have a feeling that not many women pay attention to slip dresses. Personally, I love the versatility of a slip dress. You can layer it with anything – from a t-shirt, a bolero cardigan, a sweater, a jacket … anything!
And if you choose your slip dress in sating or silk, it looks very luxurious. Check out this beige midi slip dress with polka dot print.
9. Black Satin Polka Dot Top
I have a a sheer polka dot top similar to this one, but mine is sheer everything. So when I wear it, I layer it on a black tube or black spaghetti camisole. But for this top above, I love its „illusion of decolletage above a sleek, wide-cut satin bodice“. It looks great with a pair of high-waisted faded washed jeans.
10. Mauve Polka Dot Jacquard Ruffled Mini Dress
Here´s a jacquard ruffled mini dress if you´re inclined to go leggy this summer. The long balloon sleeves with elastic flounce cuffs are my favorite features. But then this dress may be too sexy or too short for you. You can get away with wearing some skintone opaque stockings if you´re wearing it to a formal function.
11. Polka Dots Swimsuit
Similar: Nulibenna bandeau highwaisted polka dot monokini swimwear in black, blue or orange
I`m going to make a round up of the best swimsuits for summer 2021 soon … but because I love this polka dot swimsuit so much I couldn´t wait but include it in this polka dot list. It´s a one piece with cutouts and an elegant skintone color with white dots.
How to Wear Polka Dot in Spring
As seen on the catwalk at London Fashion Week, one of the spring trends featured in Topshop Unique Collection (Update: collection is sold out) is the polka dots. The dotted pieces in the collection – dress, tops, shorts/trousers and jackets – were inspired by “a photo of Princess Diana, resplendent in polka dots, chuckling with Princess Anne.”
Giving a hint at the decadent glamor of the ´80s, the oversized polka dot is worn either as a single bold statement such as a dress, or as an accent separate to some effortless spring layering, if not as a topper.
1. Belfour Polka Dot Tea Dress
This sexy polka dot dress with plunging neckline, georgette sleeves, high slit on the side and a softly gathered panel to the front is the modern adaptation of the very British tea dresses. Be it for drinking tea with your girl friends on a spring afternoon or to hang out at a bar with your love, this polka dot piece will seal the title as “the midi of the season”.
2. Polka Dot Trouser
Layer this polka dot trouser with a silk + loose white shirt worn untuck, layered on top with a city-chic pinstripe blazer an pulled together with a beige slim belt tied in a what looks like a bow. Because the trouser is cropped, a pair of bright colored shoes with bow truly stands out.
3. Polka Dot Shirt + Shorts
On the catwalk the model looks like she´s wearing a polka dot romper, but it´s actually a set of shirt and shorts in orange and black polka dot. This set is best worn under a nude midi coat with the coat´s sleeves pulled up for a gorgeous peek of dotted sleeves.
4. Polka Dot Jacket
Another cool layering which is versatile and effortless is a loose white shirt and navy tailored shorts. Forget tucking in because this season, you´re supposed to feel not constricted, instead free in loose layering. Pull the together with a polka dot jacket and a thick strapped crisscross sandal.
So tell me Creative fashionistas, are you a fan of polka dots? How do you style a polka dot piece? Which of the above looks is your favorite?