The Retro Trend You Can Easily Try This Spring

Originally Published: 
Polka Dot
We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

There are certain prints that follow a seasonal pattern — floral with spring, plaid with autumn, nautical stripes with summer — and then there are prints that follow a longer trend cycle, becoming seemingly retro before coming back in again. Polka dots are one such trend — they feel distinctly reflective of the past, but are reappearing in modern ways. Both oversized graphic iterations and micro spots have made their way back into fashion over the last few seasons, usually in an understated, monochromatic palette, and often with an artistic bend. "I like to think of my shoots as live paintings, and polka dots remind me of Yayoi Kusama or Lichtenstein," Stylist Carolina Orrico, whose work for publications including Heroine and L'Officiel Mexico have included the print, tells TZR . "They're fun and graphic, and always a statement look that feels chic without being too serious."

While you may have once ascribed spots to retro bikinis and '50s-era cocktail dresses, there's something cool about the ways in which brands are approaching the print. On the Spring/Summer 2020 runways, designers reimagined them in micro iterations painted on floor-length dresses and even oversized versions swathed on elegant evening wear. And as for those styling the print IRL, influencers are layering on multiple dotted pieces for maximum impact. It's an easy way to start wearing this spring trend before spring actually arrives, no doubt.

Ahead, find a mix of key runway looks, Instagram outfits, and shopping picks to help inspire your endorsement of polka dots as the print trend to wear this upcoming season.

Polka Dot Trend On The Runway At Sacai


Sacai introduced a patchwork interpretation of polka dots with small and large dotted fabrics woven together into the same dress. When styled with chunky chain necklaces and combat boots, the look is decidedly cool.

Polka Dot Trend IRL

Eschew the traditional black and white palette of polka dots and experiment with a slightly more engaging color palette, like the statement dress above or a golden taupe.

Polka Dot Trend On The Runway At Altuzarra

SAVIKO/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

In Paris, Altuzarra reimagined the handkerchief by playing with spot proportions. You can recreate this look yourself by styling a top and skirt with different scales of spots.

Polka Dot Trend IRL

If mixing and matching scales of dots seems like too much for your own personal persuasion, its easy to coordinate with a friend in a similar color palette.

Polka Dot Trend On The Runway At Adam Lippes


Polka dots make an ideal nighttime look when you opt for a small-scale spot. Choose shoes and accessories in a bright color or a metallic for a playful ensemble

Polka Dot Trend IRL

Dotted evening separates are an effective way to add an element of texture to an all-black look, especially if they're printed on a sheer fabric.

Polka Dot Trend On The Runway At Celine

Hedi Slimane sent a handful of polka dot pieces down his Spring/Summer 2020 runway for Celine. His approach translated the pattern into everyday wear that can be worn from office to an evening out with the simple addition or subtraction of footwear and a coat or vest.

Polka Dot Trend IRL

Whether you prefer a shorter hemline or one that sweeps below the knee, style with tall boots to add an element of sophistication.

Polka Dot Trend On The Runway At Dries Van Noten

Dries Van Noten

Dries Van Noten has always produced inspiring textiles, which is why seeing the brand's oversized interpretation of polka dots for spring feels especially noteworthy.

Polka Dot Trend IRL

Sans polka dots, this outfit would just be a t-shirt and khakis. Add in the patterned jacket (plus cool multicolor sneakers) and the entire ensemble becomes quite the bonafide look. Find coat styles with a more minimal spot pattern if you want your ensemble to feel a bit less busy.

This article was originally published on