The dashing, unifying pattern of polka dots in clothes and accessories blends modern and
vintage, playful and chic.
The polka dot first came into fashion in the 1850s, coinciding with the popularity of the polka dance. Ivory/black and navy blue/white were favored
combinations. They still are. A navy-blue-and-cream sleeveless polka-dot dress (Byron Lars' Beauty Mark, at B3 at Boyds, $355) with patent-leather,
sling-back shoes (Jimmy Choo, at Boyds, $550) give a crisp, cool, chic presentation. "These dots were very feminine and fashion-forward," says a
fashion-history expert, "without being too risky."
Polka dots are back this spring, assuming all of their past personalities.
They appear 1950s prim as uniform polka dots on full-skirted Byron Lars dresses and soft
blouses by Nanette Lepore.
They seem unpredictable in graduated patterns - small dots that expand with each row - on
strapless Ann Taylor dresses. And they are fun, fun, fun as splotchy mod dots on Diane von
Furstenberg wrap dresses, both vintage and of-the-moment.
Just ask celebrities who have adopted the look: Sarah Jessica Parker, Gwen Stefani, Keira
Knightley, and Ashley Olsen have all been spotted bopping through Hollywood in sheer
dotted sheaths and shirts.
"It's a pattern that epitomizes spring fashion," explained Gregg Andrews, fashion director at
Not only that, Andrews said, but today's dots are a part of a larger trend in which designers
are focusing on graphic patterns.
"It is replacing embellishment," he said. "We are seeing dots in every size from pin-size, tight patterns to larger, more explosive dots that look like
On this spring's fashion landscape, which spans both dressy and casual looks, dots seem to be the one unifying factor. Miniskirts are as popular as high-
waisted pencil skirts. Flowing chiffon tank tops are as coveted as cap-sleeved, empire-waist blouses.
And look at all the dresses. Shirtdresses. Wrap dresses. Strapless dresses. Sleeveless dresses with fit