Fashion edit: Seven sassy ways to wear polka dots
Why has the polka dot survived as the most perennial, practical and peppy print through the ages? For instance, a $50 Zara dress, featuring polka dots, became the most viral fashion item in Britain. But, even before this, the popularity of polka dots has permeated age, size and class. It has been sported by everyone, from Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge to Marilyn Monroe.
First spotted on Miss America in 1926, polka dots were epitomised by Disney’s iconic character – Minnie Mouse. Even Christian Dior’s era-defining “New Look” – that celebrated the hour-glass figure – featured dots and soon it became the easiest way to look ladylike with Hollywood beauties like Elizabeth Taylor and Lucille Ball donning dots regularly.
In fact, Yayoi Kusama’s avant-garde art, that celebrates dots, was turned into Louis Vuitton’s dresses in 2012. More recently, polkas – in monochrome and beige – made a wave on the runways with designers like Dolce & Gabbana, Max Mara and Carolina Herrera offering trench coats, coordinated sets and dresses in this peppy pattern.
Back home, fashion designer Jenjum Gadi says, “Some designs are quite universal. Polka dots are like checks – they’ll always remain in style. The beauty of the circle lies in the fact that it isn’t loud but a single dot can change the entire dimension of even a plain white shirt. One would think before wearing florals to work but polka dots can be styled for work very easily. They can take you from boardrooms to brunches and that makes polka dots super practical!”
Keep it classic
Stay impactful in a well-coordinated polka-on-polka ensemble
Wear this to: “A dinner or even for a daytime work meeting,” says fashion stylist Devki Bhatt.
Style it with: “Something easy and simple. Details matter. Tuck the shirt in, roll those sleeves to perfection. Tie the hair into a clean bun,” she says.
Accessorise with: “Pearls, flats and a clutch,” says Devki.
Keep the make-up: “Simple with bold lips,” she suggests.
Top it up with bold dots Stand out in a statement sleeve polka-dotted top
Wear this to: “Work, if you want to look feminine yet powerful. This works well for a semi-formal look too,” says fashion designer Jenjum Gadi.
Style it with: “Kitten heels to look strong yet glamorous,” says Jenjum.
Accessorise with: “A pearl necklace or a dainty diamond pendant as the top features a deep neck,” he suggests.
Keep the make-up: “Sleek. A light shade of lipstick is good to go,” advises Jenjum.
Get all dressy
Don bright pink lips with a sunshine-yellow dress
Wear this to: “A brunch or a casual summer night out with the girls,” says Devki Bhatt.
Style it with: “A denim jacket or a white blazer. You can carry it from work to a night out,” she adds.
Accessorise with: “Fun tassel earrings in a contrasting colour. Or, add a pop of colour with a pair of bright-hued heels or flats,” says Devki.
Keep the make-up: “Simple highlighting bright pink lips,” she says.
Play the power puff girl
Pair a polka-dotted T-shirt with a powersuit to make a statement in the boardroom
Wear this to: “Meetings or business lunches since it’s simple yet strong,” says fashion designer Rimzim Dadu.
Style it with: “A pair of Oxford shoes,” she says.
Accessorise with: “Androgynous accessories like a nice messenger bag,” adds Rimzim.
Keep the make-up: “Minimal. You can opt for bold lips or eyes,” she suggests.
Layer with care
Master the art of layering with a relaxed dotted shirt
Wear this to: “A day event where you want to look confident and relaxed. It’s a great transitional look,” says celebrity stylist Rishi Raj.
Style it with: “Something colourful. But, keep it within the same family of colours,” adds Rishi.
Accessorise with: “A chunky watch or a cuff for the perfect finish,” says Rishi.
Keep the make-up: “Focused on glowy skin with a few lashings of mascara. Dab on some apricot-hued lip and a cheek tint,” he says.
Stay subtle yet stylish
Make monotones fun by adding polka dots to your look
Wear this to: “A brunch, or any daytime event. This look is subtle, powerful and fun,” suggests Rimzim Dadu.
Style it with: “Chunky statement jewellery. Adding some bold pieces would break the monotone perfectly and it would make the look more fun,” she adds.
Accessorise with: “Statement sling bags or chunky jewellery that can adds some colour to the look,” says Rimzim.
Keep the make-up: “Clean and fuss-free since the pieces are extremely textured,” she adds.
Make your polkas pop with colours
Pair your dotty top with a free-flowing skirt
Wear this to: “Any fun activity like shopping, as long as it’s not a formal occasion,” says Rishi Raj.
Style it with: “Shorts under the skirt. Make sure the fabrics do not bunch up and create a not-so-pleasant visual. The skirt and shorts should stay within a similar theme or colour otherwise it can look mismatched and not so stylish,” he advises.
Accessorise with: “Relaxed flats or sneakers and may be a slouchy bag,” he says.
Keep the make-up: “Minimal with a pop of colour either on the lips or the eyes,” concludes Rishi.
From HT Brunch, October 20, 2019
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