How not to wear polka dots

20 Jun

Polka dots are not for everyone. But personally, I’m a fan. They’re at once girly and (when done right) sophisticated. Here are some quick tips for wearing polka dots well, plus a few office pretty finds for under $75.

1. Avoid the Mini Mouse. This is when the dots are just too big to be office pretty. The bigger the polka dot, the smaller the dose. Polka dots pack the most punch without sacrificing class when used in restrained quantities: the lining of bag, a neck scarf, socks peeking out from slacks.

Exhibit A: Mini Mouse. FAIL.

Exhibit B: Lining of a Kate Spade bag. Win!

2. Mix with neutrals and sophisticated shapes. As with other bold patters like florals, paring polka dots with neutrals and tailored shapes keeps them under control. This outfit by Madewell features several of our obsessions right now including lace-up oxfords, a chambray shirt, and a polka dot pencil skirt.

3. A shiny polka dot is a scary polka dot. For some reason, many polka dot dresses and scarves come in shiny materials, like satin. While there are exceptions, as a general rule these accessories aren’t fit for the office. The fault lies not in the polka dot print, but in the formality that characterizes shiny fabrics (or the tackiness of their cheap imitations).

Here’s a quick collage of some office pretty polka dots for under $75. You can also visit our Spring 2011 Pinterest page for less budget-conscious options.

Polka Dots under $75

Zara short dress, $60
Nylon tight, $14
Marc by marc jacobs jewelry, $51
American Apparel red shawl, $28
iphone 4 cover, $35

P.S. If you’re in need of a not-very-good-by-Oscar-and-Sundance-standards movie, but fun none the less, check out Because I Said So featuring Diane Keaton and Mandy Moore. Enjoy the polka dot costume theme!

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2 Responses to “How not to wear polka dots”

  1. Anne Marie June 22, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

    Thanks for the helpful tips, Jill! I was inspired and wore some office pretty polka dots to the office today.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Staples: Office Pretty LBD « Office Pretty - June 27, 2011

    […] – As Jill pointed out in her polka dot post, avoid shiny fabric. A shiny LBOD will look like you’re headed to a cocktail party, no […]

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