You’ll find polka dot printed items in stores every season. But because polka dots are trending strongly this Spring, you’ll probably see more spotted items than usual. I’m not complaining! Polka dots are my all time favourite pattern. I love the simple, geometric simplicity of this shape that spells playful fun.

That being said, I choose my polka dot items carefully. The design of the polka dot has to be just right and so does the item that bears it. I might be in the minority, but I don’t think everything looks good in a polka dot.

Design of the dot

Three things are important: color, size and spacing.

  1. Color: I usually prefer a white or cream dot against a solid background colour. I also like light backgrounds with dark dots, but I normally don’t go for multi-coloured polka dot designs (more than two colours) unless the palette is extremely monochromatic.
  2. Size: Small dots are subtle while large dots are bold (especially if there is a high contrast between the colour of the dot and the colour of the background). Both options tickle my toes. Then there is the uniformity of the size. I quite like designs with differently sized polka dots but much prefer the cleaner look of uniformly sized dots.
  3. Spacing: I prefer evenly spaced dots, especially on designs where they are uniformly sized.

If you prefer a subtle look, opt for a single coloured pin dot sized polka dot on a solid colour, like a small white dot on a black background.

Style of the item

I’ve seen a polka dot on just about every wardrobe item, including accessories, but some items are more surprising than others, and are therefore more of a statement. Of course, the risk goes up proportionately with the surprise factor.

  1. Mainstream: Tops, shirts, blouses and scarves are easy items to add to the wardrobe in polka dot designs.
  2. Occasional: Dresses, skirts, socks, headbands, umbrellas, underwear, sleepwear, bathing costumes, hose, ties and floral pins are next. The sheer surface area of dresses and skirts makes them less mainstream in a bold pattern than the items above. The others aren’t common in polka dots, but they are small or hidden, and therefore less of a dotty statement than the items below.
  3. Unusual: Pants, walk shorts, coats, jackets and knitwear are harder to get right. Somehow these items are more likely to appear clownish. Bags, belts and shoes are also less popular in polka dot patterns.

I have several polka dot dresses, blouses, scarves and umbrellas, and one spotty floral pin. These are the items I like best in clean graphic polka dot designs. I’d love to find a polka dot skirt, belt and pair of pumps one day, but that’s it. I probably won’t sport a polka dot on any other wardrobe item.

Over to you. Do you like polka dots? If so, what’s your favourite design? Which wardrobe items will you sport in that design?