The Ambitionista

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How To Do The Polka (Dots).

Polka dots used to make me break out into a rash (figuratively of course.  If I meant literally then that would be a whole new level of irony wouldn’t it?)  But then I was sitting in a movie theatre years ago and saw Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman” wearing a brown polka dot dress to watch polo.

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Suddenly spotted fabric went from “Cruella de Vil” to “gotta have it.”

With polka dots everywhere now, here are some tips on how to stay a pretty woman instead of looking like you’re regressing to childhood.  It helps that this time around the trend is not cutsy, it’s more pop-art and graphic than we’ve seen before.

All the above pieces have an air of sophistication to them.  Part of that is due to the fact that the cut of the garments is clean and unfussy.  It’s still a bold pattern choice, so make sure you balance it out.  Take some more clues from how Julia’s character was costumed:

  •      Keep make-up minimal
  •      Wear your hair in a simple manner:  notice that Julia Roberts’ hair was up in a simple chignon.
  •      Accessories should not be girly or fussy:  Julia’s character wears a borderline masculine leather belt with her polka dot dress, and carries a structured handbag.

I wore a polka dot blouse here and dare I say I looked quite the boss.

The irony here is that I’m admiring the way a working girl wore polka dots with class.  So, ignore the character’s employment choice and let’s take this style from “working girl” to the workplace.



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26 Responses

  1. Tanya

    It pleases me to tell you that I’m a big fan of polka-dots. Well, not really big, but I prefer it over stripes. I like seeing the circles (whether big or small) and I love to pair it with neutrals.

  2. Jody

    Like the others, I’m not really a big fan of polka dots, but I can do it, wear it if someone asks me too. Thanks for sharing the tips!

  3. Claire

    Polka-dots? Why not? I know a piece or two of polka dresses around but I haven’t worn them this year. This might be the right time to wear them, you know, because it’s summer…

  4. Actually, I don’t do polka dots, too. I’m more of a stripey-kind of gal. Come to think of it, I just took a look at my closet and I haven’t got any circly-types of clothes in my wardrobe. Hmmm, I guess it won’t hurt if I try to find a piece that would work on me.. (my friends actually suggested not wearing polka-dots because I’m kind of chubby, so I think they just didn’t want me to appear rounder, I guess….)

  5. Marjorie W.

    I think polka-dots are in these days. It’s nice to show some circles (not around the eyes, per se) on some of the wardrobe we use to get to the office. It gets the whole summery vibe out.

  6. I don’t usually wear polka-dots coz I don’t have any outfits that I could pair it with. Most of my frocks are printed and patterned, so what I need are plain and monochromatic shades to match the polka dots..

  7. Abigail

    I love the polka dotted pants in your catalog display. For some reason I always associate polka dots with tops, not bottoms.

  8. Baby Joy

    You definitely rocked that polka-dot outfit, Heidi! You look great in it! Thanks for the tips on how to wear polka-dots, by the way :)

  9. Emerald

    In the office, as much as possible, I like to wear a variety of stylish clothes. I’m comfortable wearing polka-dots and stripes, but not very often. Here’s something I do to make sure my colleagues won’t tease me when I chose to wear polka-dots: Usually, I wear them as scarf, or on my collar. There are actually dresses that only has circle designs on the collars, while the whole frock is pure white or pure black. like this one..

  10. Aaliyah Jane

    I’d be happy to wear polka-dotted blouses or pumps when I go to work. It’s not that I love circles and everything round, but it would be a welcome change from my usual frock of purple and black pinstripe suits, which is getting boring now.. Thanks for the tips on how to wear this pattern, Heidi!

  11. Kelly

    It’s funny how someone else can you make a piece clothing very desirable, or absolutely loathsome…depending on who they are, isn’t it? Someone you like can make anything look good, whereas if the “office bitch” is wearing it — you’ll never be seen in something similar!

  12. Lizbeth

    I’m not a big fan of polka dots either, but I’m willing to give it a try, as long as it looks good and the garment used is comfortable to the skin. By the way, you are rocking’ that polka-dot ensemble of your, Heidi :)

  13. Franchesca

    It’s funny how I always associated polka-dots to coins and must be worn on New Year’s Day to signify the abundance of coins/money! Ha Ha.. Sorry about that, but that’s what I usually thought of whenever I see polka-dotted pieces. But now, it’s okay for me to wear these themed style, as long as the circles don’t fully represent the dalmatian spots!

  14. RoseTherese

    I also thought of the 101 Dalmatians whenever I see black and white spots/circle and couldn’t help but chuckle. But now, it seems like polka dots are making waves! What are the odds?!

  15. I enjoy polka dots as well, but I find that they can easily push an outfit over the edge. The other elements need to be somewhat subdued for the entire look to not be too gaudy.

  16. Lovejoy

    Thanks for the tips and cues, really much appreciated. I’m fond of wearing stripes actually, and of course, polka dots too. I agree, most polka-dotted patterns lately are asymmetrical and trendy, I wouldn’t mind getting caught wearing one.

  17. Oh I love that movie (Pretty Woman) Julia Roberts sure looked pretty in that brown polka-dotted dress, complete with a white hat & brown polka-dot lace. I’m not much of a polka-dot girl, really but I know how to appreciate the look.

    Now, when it comes to shoes… well, I’m all for it since I’m a shoe-paholic! That Brian Atwood pink stiletto with small dots would definitely make it to my shoe collection!

  18. Yes, polka dots are in again, although I mostly see this pattern on swimsuits and bandannas lately. I’m quite excited to wear my new purchase (a black & white polka-dotted skirt which I got from Califorward. I don’t really wear polka dots, but when something like this catches my eyes, I go for it!

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