How to wear polka dots

Q. I’ve noticed that polka dots are back in style this season. How do I wear them without looking like Minnie Mouse?
 

A. Designers were feeling a little dotty as they paraded perky polka dots all over New York and Paris runways for autumn. Chanel, Miu Miu, Giorgio Armani, and Marc Jacobs all strutted dots down their catwalks. Even the famous Louis Vuitton monogram has been replaced with spots.

Not since Julia Roberts donned her elegant tan-and-white spotty dress in Pretty Woman has the humble polka dot seemed so desirable. The comeback of spots perfectly complements the current trend for minimalism that manages to be thoroughly modern yet has the merest hint of retro chic. Now everything from accessories to underwear has been given the Dalmatian treatment.

The term "polka dot" first appeared in the 1880s when both the dots and the dance were especially popular. Polka dots were first worn on silk scarves in the late 19th century across the pond in England. French designer Coco Chanel favoured dots in the 1920s and 1950s glamour queens, such as Marilyn Monroe, flaunted the print.

Today, stars such as Victoria Beckham, Gwen Stefani, Kate Bosworth and Alexa Chung have all been seen wearing the trend - be it dotty blouses, dresses or jeans. It's a look everyone can carry off: the bolder circles are perfect for those who like to get noticed, while the smaller patterns are just the thing for fashion wallflowers who prefer a more low-key approach.

Polka Dot Trousers €15 Penneys

HOW TO WEAR IT
Lighten up the groomed perfection of the Jackie O style with a striking bold print that grabs attention.

Mix polka dots with another print such as stripes for a more creative look; just make sure you choose colours that match and complement each other.

Polka dots don't just come in chiffons and silks; try them in cottons and denims, too, which give a completely different effect.
Keep accessories to a minimum. If you do wear too many dots, you could be in danger of looking cluttered.

From fine polka dots to bolder circles, this classic print looks fantastic made up into elegant tops, 1940s-style dresses and even jeans.

If you have a petite frame and want to try the trend opt for a pair of polka dot trousers, but wear them with a pair of ballet pumps for a laid back, girlie look.

Georgina Heffernan