Runway to Real Way. Seeing Spots: Choosing the Right Polka Dots for Your Winter Wardrobe

November 28, 2011 • Magazine, Runway To Real Way

There’s no doubt about it—polka dots are huge this season. With trailblazing designers like Marc Jacobs dedicating not one, but both his eponymous lines to the dabbled little dots, it was clear the look would immediately translate to the streets. And indeed it has; as an easy trend to pick up and even easier to pull off, polka dots can be a fun and flirty way to perk up the doldrums of a winter wardrobe.

With holiday wear on the way, one of our favorite ways to try polka dots this season is against a backdrop of winter white. Marc Jacobs’ symphony of circles in every shape, size and color included some dazzling, Dalmatian-like black on white spots. The look is both fresh and retro, with the slightest of nods to Old Hollywood glamor. Splendid’s swingy top channels the same girlish fun in a more casual shape. But pair it with a pencil skirt and a fiery red lip and you’ll be every bit the siren that Jacobs intended.

Polka dots are meant to be playful and as such, are one of the few patterns that you can wear in a candy-colored palette and not end up looking like you shop in the kids’ department. For his more youthful line, Marc Jacobs sprinkled his Marc by Marc Jacobs Fall ‘11 runway with sweet little drops that resembled strips of candy buttons (remember those?). But the tailored and feminine shapes kept the collection sophisticated. As the queen of grown-up girly fashion, Kate Spade also knows a thing or too about pairing elegance with whimsy. She makes it apparent in her silk ‘Belina’ dress with 3/4 length sleeves and eye-popping orbs so edible-looking you want to pluck them off and save them for later.

Having cornered the market on the cute and flirty print, polka dots have been pigeonholed as a “good girl” print for far too long. Luckily, modern interpretations of the print show a vamped up, seriously sexier sphere. Stella McCartney sashayed a LBD down her fall ’11 runway that boasted a sheer panel slicing down the dress and speckled with dots. As the perfect marriage of demure and diva, ABS channels the same sensual vibe with their own peek-a-boo and polka-dotted panels.

The adverse idea of polka dots on a sheer background is just as stylish: the absence of them. Cutouts are always a simple way to make a dramatic statement, but circular cutouts are by far one of the coolest to wear. Flash little swatches of skin through the Swiss cheese-like holes and you’ve got a look that’s both provocative and tasteful. Another designer that mastered the “sphere” of circles last season was David Koma, whose artful pieces sported both chunky cabochons and gorgeously laser-cut cutouts. But for practical purposes, we thought maybe a draft-inducing coat might not be the best option to stock up on for winter. Instead, kick up your heels in these drool-worthy suede booties by Manolo Blahnik. Paired either with bare skin or jewel-toned tights, these closed-toe, cut-outs will still flash enough to make you feel daring while maintaining a modicum of warmth.

However you slice them, dice them, scatter them or sprinkle them, there’s no question a pop of polka dots will do wonders for your outfits (and your mood!) this holiday season.

1. Black Dots On White
Runway: Marc Jacobs Fall 2011 RTW
Real Way: Splendid Polka Dot Top w/Zip, $74

2. Candy-Colored Dots
Runway: Marc by Marc Jacobs Fall 2011 RTW
Real Way: Kate Spade New York ‘Belina’ Polka Dot Silk Dress, $375

3. Sheer Black Dots
Runway: Stella McCartney Fall 2011 RTW
Real Way: ABS Polka Dot Dress, $230

4. Cutout Dots
Runway: David Koma Fall 2011 RTW
Real Way: Manolo Blahnik Suede Cutout Ankle Boots, $1095

– Alia Rajput

Runway Photos: New York Magazine

Image Layout: Amy Newling

See the Top Ten Summer 2016 Trends for Women Over 40

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

One Response to Runway to Real Way. Seeing Spots: Choosing the Right Polka Dots for Your Winter Wardrobe

  1. Alisia says:

    Wonderful collection of stylish and innovative polka dot designs!

Leave a Reply