How to Wear Polka Dots and Stripes

How to Wear Polka Dots and Stripes

Studio 5 Contributor ShaLyse Walker

Nothing says spring like a striped top or polka dot dress. These happy prints instantly bring a simple pair or jeans or slacks to life. However, many people shy away from a polka dot print to try and avoid looking too juvenile, and stripes are even more of a conundrum! More women than not refuse to wear horizontal stripes due to the old-fashioned wives tale that they “widen” you. What about wearing two different stripes or two polka dot prints together? There is no need to fear. By following a few simple rules, you can pull off any stripe or polka dot print without a hitch!

Thin Stripes are Thinning

If you’re planning on wearing a form-fitting horizontal striped top, you’re best bet is to go with a thinner stripe. Thinner stripes do not create a wide silhouette. If you want to take extra precautions against appearing wide, go with two low contrasting stripes, like a black and a grey stripe. However, nothing is cuter than simply embracing a black and white or nautical stripe. It’s fresh, clean, retro, and springy to boot! If you’d like to ease into a stripe, simply wear a striped accessory like a handbag or shoe to get the look.

Stripe Top- Ann Taylor, $19.99

Nautical Pant- Ann Taylor, $98.00

Stripe Shoe- Ann Taylor, $178.00

Play with Scale

Yes, it is possible to wear two different polka dot prints or two different stripes together. The trick is to play with the scale of the print. With a large, spaced out polka dot top, wear a skirt with a tiny, closer together dot. The same rule applies for stripes. Just make sure the two pieces tie together when it comes to color scheme and you’ll look like you were born to mix prints!

Polka Dot Tee- Anthropologie, $48.00

Polka Dot Pencil Skirt- Anthropologie, $128.00

Thick Stripes Call for Loose Silhouettes

Like I mentioned earlier, the thinner the stripe, the more thinning the look. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t wear a darling thick stripe. Just loosen the silhouette a bit! Look for a “flowy,” tunic-like shape if you’re planning on wearing a thicker stripe. That way, the stripes won’t hug every curve and love handle you’ve got—they’ll skim right over them!

Striped Sweater- Chico’s, $79.00

Black and White Beaded Necklace- Chico’s, $58.00

Break it up with a Blazer

A blazer or cardigan does wonders for stripes and polka dots in two ways. First, it instantly “matures,” a youthful polka dot print or stripe. Second, it breaks up the pattern and diverts the eye from looking from one side of the body to the other. In short, it adds class and slims you at the same time. Also, adding a third piece never hurts when you want to come across as perfectly put-together.

Polka Dot Shell- Donna Degnan, Nordstrom $168.00

Blazer- Gibson, Nordstrom $88.00

Add comment