Wear Your Polka Face: Do’s and Don’ts of Donning Dots
Summer is only mere hours away (or three days if you’re being all accurate about it), and even though most of us working folk don’t get a real break like the schoolkids do, there’s still a sense of lightheartedness in the air, the kind you feel when you walk barefoot on the grass at the park or enjoy a frozen treat that drips all down your arm. It’s a sunny, distinctly summery state of mind, an attitude that affords us the freedom to frolic around in fun, flirty pieces that may be deemed a little too fanciful for fall or winter, specifically ones with cheerful prints, and very specifically, those featuring the classic but playful polka dot.
Unless you’re wearing circus-print adult-onesie pajamas, it’s hard to find a pattern with more whimsy than the polka dot. But at the same time, these little circles can be put together an infinite number of ways. While they may never lose their whimsy (who would want that!) they’re also easily balanced out by cut, color, and more. Just take a look at the celebrity collage below, and you’ll find that polka dots are actually extremely versatile, scattered over glamorous movie premiere gowns, sprinkled onto errand day shirt dresses, speckling one-piece wonder jumpsuits, even studding spiffy little retro gloves. (Can you spot ‘em?)
Dippin’ into dots has never looked more delicious, right? So now that you’re totally inspired to, uh, hit the spot, here are a few little tips to help you connect the dots between you and your very own spotted style…
DO consider scale. As with any other print, scale is uber-important. The smaller the dot, the smaller the impact. If you go too-too big, you risk looking silly. AKA like you belong in the circus. And if you’re looking not to call attention to a certain body part, it’s probably a good idea to avoid covering it in humongous balls. Which are only like the least inconspicuous things ever.
DON’T pigeonhole yourself. Polka dots may be playful and cute, but that doesn’t mean they have to be cute-sy. Pair them with a sexy or sophisticated silhouette (perhaps an off-shoulder bodycon or sheer collared blouse?) or a more contemporary creation (a cut-out dress or structured cropped top, maybe?) to take them from childlike to ca-lassic.
DO play with color. Unless you want to look like a clown (here’s that circus thing again) or a ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese, you probably want to stay away from rainbow-colored polka dots. Of course that doesn’t mean you should avoid color altogether. There are other color combos besides black/navy and white, you know! But if you’re sold on that pairing, don’t be afraid to add a pop of color elsewhere with a shiny belt, a pretty scarf, or even a bright lip!
DON’T forget to accessorize. If you’re afraid to jump into this polka dot thing with both feet, maybe just start with something small…like the shoes on your feet! Or your collar, your watch, your hair, even your phone case. Polka dots are seriously everywhere, so if, for whatever reason, you’re only looking to dab on a little dose of it, don’t worry. You’ve got plenty of options.
DO think about silhouette. Polka dots can definitely have a retro feel. Think fifties pin-up in a red lip and polka dot halter. Or fifties housewife in a red lip and polka dot apron. Keep your polka dots from bordering on vintage by choosing modern pieces with clean lines and sleek silhouettes. Or if you’re feelin’ the retro vibe, use the spotted piece to your advantage. For example, the polka dots on this high-waisted bikini set take it from cute to over-the-top (in a good way!) adorable…
DON’T be afraid to mix prints. We said it before, and we’ll say it again. Prints, like people, should not be subjected to segregation! Polka dots are super classic, so they’ll totally play well with others. If you consider yourself a beginner with patterns, try pairing a two-toned polka dot with the same two tones in a stripe. Once you get the hang of it, throw in more colors and patterns and have yourself a print parade.
Collage photos courtesy of FabSugar, Getty Images, Glamour, Huffington Post, JustJared, NY Daily News, Teen Vogue, and Us Weekly