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Your Stylist: Seeing Spots – Polka dots are the season’s happiest print

December 4, 2010 |  7:00 am

Resident Image stylist and market editor Melissa Magsaysay soothes your sartorial woes in the weekly Your Stylist blog column

In this installment of Your Stylist we talk about a major trend from the resort season and one of my all-time favorite prints -- polka dots. The happy little dots with an upbeat 1950s appeal cover dresses, skirts and bathing suits from a bunch of resort collections ranging from high-end to contemporary.

Perhaps the most intense example of the trend is from the Miu Miu resort 2011 line, which incorporates Fanfare- polka dot spots in a glam baby doll kind of way. The generally goodie-two-shoes print looks sexy on long slinky dresses and scoopneck sweaters.

Marc Jacobs also incorporated the print into his resort collection, yet in a sweet and sophisticated kind of way. His dots were spaced out fairly far apart and smattered on scallop neck mini dresses and tiered skirts with thick white piping. Alice + Olivia’s Stacey Bendet put really big black dots on a retro style bathing suit that made the pattern even more graphic than usual.

Though a polka dot pattern generally has an overtly sweet and feminine appeal, they can look sharp and edgy if worn the right way. Try wearing a medium-sized to larger-sized dot rather than something with a ton of super tiny polka dots. Smaller dots tend to look more Minnie Mouse or Betty Boop, which unless you’re deliberately going for a pinup look should be worn as a chic blouse or sweater. A skirt with small dots can Moschino start to look cartoonish if you’re not careful.

A great polka dot staple is this button down black and ivory blouse from Equipment. It’s got a more modern appeal and would look great tucked into a pair of flare leg jeans or trousers.

Just like stripes, polka dots can be a dizzying trend to try and pull off. Think of them as a quirky touch that can take an outfit from everyday to eclectic, if mixed with vintage items or silhouettes. Or they can be very fresh and modern when worn with sleek and minimal items such as long and lean trousers or under a tailored black blazer.

Polka dots work for all ages, just try and stay out of cartoon territory and stick to items such as sweaters, '40s-style dresses and feminine blouses, rather than miniskirts, leggings or tights.

Send your style queries to

-- Melissa Magsaysay

Photos: (Top) Miu Miu Resort 2011. Credit: Miu Miu.  (Middle) Equipment Fan Fare polka dot blouse $218 at Ron Herman. (Bottom) Moschino Resort 2011. Credit: