Style that will always hit the spot! Polka dots are back this season – with a new, sophisticated twist

  • Polka dots are a playful print that can be both sophisticated and eye-catching
  • Gemma Champ explains that dots come down to what you wear them with
  • UK-based fashion expert says that polka dots work brilliantly with other patterns

For such a simple pattern, polka dots are extraordinarily versatile. Rarely completely out of style, every few years they enjoy a real revival. 

This is one of those moments. 

How to look more Pretty Woman than Minnie Mouse? The trick is to keep it grown-up. Polka dots are a playful print and, if you want to stay sophisticated, you’ve got to pare back the frills, tone down the colours and be a little more reserved on the skin-flaunting front. 

Dress, £375, LK Bennett; shoes, £188, Reiss; earrings, £30,

Polka dots make an eye-catching statement and when you pair them with an on-trend cut such as wide, high-waisted palazzo pants, like these ones from Mango, or a pair of glamorous day-wear pyjamas from Kate Spade, then the result can be both confident and powerful. 

Even feminine pink looks edgy on Mango’s fluid trouser-suit, which features polka dots in the same fuchsia. 

Shirt and trousers, £220 each, Kate Spade; shoes, £229, LK Bennett; bag, £105,; earrings, £45,Susan Caplan

Doing dots well comes down to what you wear them with. The pussy-bow blouse — while famously popular with Margaret Thatcher and, more recently, with Liz Truss — can look a little more chic if you team a polka-dot version, such as Me + Em’s , with a rakish Reiss suit. 

Jacket, £268, trousers, £150, Reiss; blouse, £250, Me+Em; shoes, £229, LK Bennett; bag, £350, Kate Spade

There’s no need to fear clashing prints, because polka dots work brilliantly with other patterns. Throw a stripy jumper over a summery dress from Somerset by Alice Temperley. 

Left: Dress, £139,; hat, £210,; shoes, £100, Dune London; earrings, £35, Susan Caplan. Right: Top, £99, skirt, £89, Mint Velvet; earrings, £100, Carousel Jewels; gloves, £32, Anthropologie

As ever, accessorising is key to lifting a look. Elegant heels in a colour that picks up the dots are a foolproof approach, but why not enjoy yourself with, say, Anthropologie’s long polka-dot evening gloves with a fabulous cocktail dress, or a Spanish-style bolero hat as a nod to the floaty flamenco layers of a Ro & Zo halterneck? That’s how you earn your fashion stripes in spots…

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