now trending

How to Wear Polka Dots Without Looking Too Cute

Photo: Courtesy of the Retailer

It was possibly Monse/Oscar de la Renta designers Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia who ushered in the polka-dot renaissance. For pre-fall 2017, the duo turned their eye to polka dots, playing with color and scale, and now we can’t get them out of our heads. One year later, the trend is still going strong — it’s big on the runways and bigger on Instagram. Every blogger you follow probably has a wrap-dress, jumpsuit, or ruffled top covered in dots.

While the pattern is normally associated with vintage-inspired clothes that can skew cheesy or twee, it doesn’t have to look that way if you choose wisely. Keep it current: a fun wrap dress or trendy off-the-shoulder top does the trick. Or look for simple shapes like an A-line skirt or well-cut pants to make a basic feel fresh again. And you don’t have to stick to the classic black-and-white combination either — there are plenty of of fun color options out there. Scroll ahead for ideas on how to get in on the trend at every price point.

The Cheap (But Still Chic!) Way to Wear It

Floerns Women’s Polka Dot V-Neck High Waist Casual Flare A Line Dress
$23 at Amazon

This dress is perfect Instagram bait. It could be Reformation, it could be Realisation Par, but it’s actually Amazon.
Available in sizes XS–L.

The Vintage-y Classic

Influence Plus shirred Sleeve Polka Dot Midi Dress
$38 at Asos

With dainty buttons and shirred sleeves, this dress stays true to polka dots’ vintage roots. Add a modern spin with some Birkenstocks.
Available in sizes 12–20.

The Modern Blouse

Missguided Plus Satin Polka Dot Blouse
$40 at ASOS

We’ve loved pajama dressing since Jenna Lyons first brought the look to Fashion Week way back in 2016 (memories). In bronze, this blouse feels energetic rather than drowsy.
Available in sizes 12–20.

The Designer Version

Diane Von Furstberg Polka-Dot Silk-Satin Blouse
$230 at Net-a-Porter

If a brown dotted blouse is really speaking to you, Diane von Furstenberg makes one, too.
Available in sizes XS–L.

The Best Detailing

Polka Dot Cold Shoulder Top
$77 at Eloquii

The little bows at the cuff are roughened up by the asymmetrical cold-shoulder.
Available in sizes 14–28.

The Office-Appropriate Pants

Equipment Lita Nostalgia Polka Dot Silk Trousers
$398 at Saks Fifth Avenue

These silk trousers feel playful rather than cutesy.
Available in sizes 0–12.

The Date-Night Dress

ASOS Curve Spot Lace Trim Kimono Midi Dress
$76 at ASOS

A little lace takes a white kimono dress from daytime to date-time.
Available in sizes 12–24.

If You Want to Go All In

Short-Sleeve Wrap Jumpsuit In Polka Dot
$168 at J.Crew

Full-on dots is a bold look, but a jumpsuit makes it seem so accessible. Wear it with white sneakers for full-on comfort.
Available in 00–16.

If You Just Want Color

Ganni Dainty Skirt
$225 at Shopbop

Hey maximalists, thanks for sticking with us through all the navy, black, white, and brown. Neon green is still a little baby of a trend (see: Blake Lively and Kim Kardashian West) so you’ll be on the cutting edge in this skirt.
Available in French sizes 34–42.

The Versatile Crop

Nanushka Amulet Polka-Dot Chiffon Blouse
$385 at Net-a-Porter

As we head into fall, we’re looking for long-sleeve crops that can be comfortably worn with high-waisted jeans. Nanushka has delivered.
Available in sizes XS–XL.

The Slip Dress

Creatures of Comfort Cara Polka Dot Slip Dress
$448 at Need Supply

Normally, Creatures of Comfort specializes in clothes that are just this side of ugly. This sweet polka-dot dress is the exception.
Available in sizes 2–6.

If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.

How to Wear Polka Dots Without Looking Too Cute