Four Cute Ways to Wear Polka Dots Without Looking Like an ’80s Pop Star

The ’80s are making a comeback–but in a much less tacky way with the new polka dot trend hitting the fashion world right now. Although there are plenty of tasteful ways to wear polka dots, this pattern’s association with this fashion disaster decade can be a risk if you fail to wear it in the right way. To help you embrace this trend without making an embarrassing fashion faux-pas, take note of the following four ways to integrate polka dots into your wardrobe for every season.

1. Headbands

If you’re afraid of going too far over the top with the trend, keep it simple (and affordable) by topping off your outfit with a cute and stylish polka dot headband. Although a number of polka dotted hair accessories will add an eye-catching accent to your look, headbands are ideal for achieving that preppy look that prevents you from looking too flashy. If you want to look nice without attracting too much attention, headbands can be a great solution for simple, yet sophisticated style.

2. Tights

During the chillier months in the winter and fall, you can add an extra layer of comfort and chicness to a basic black dress or vibrant, solid-colored skirt with some quirky polka dotted tights. Patterned and colored tights are a major fashion trend this season, and polka dots would be a great way to put a new spin on a classic pattern. Black tights with white polka dots would pair well with any black fall and winter wear, but would also look adorable paired with a bright red pencil skirt or a colorful flared mini to accent your tights with a pop of color.

3. Think Big

Why stick with basic, small print polka dots when you can choose big, artistic dots that add an all-new funky flavor to your outfit? Big polka dots are also making their way onto the scene to offer an interesting and original alternative to the polka dot patterns you’re used to. Since larger polka dots may be a bit flashy, choose subtler color combos or tame a vibrant-colored polka dotted blouse with a dark blazer to balance your style.

4. Mixed Prints

This seems contrary to what fashion magazines have told us for decades about never mixing patterns, but the experts at “Seventeen” magazine say mixed prints are actually in this season. Because of the dangers of clashing with this trend, it may be a better choice for more experienced fashionistas. However, if you’re feeling bold, you can mix prints more effectively by looking for similarities in the patterns and colors used to make sure they go together well. For example, if you have a beige button-up with white polka dots, look for a cute beige (or various shades of brown) and white snakeskin skirt. Colorful floral tops with simple black and white polka dotted skirts also create an image that’s easy on the eyes, but still fun and flirty in its own unique way.

Ignore those flashbacks of bad perms and overwhelming neon by exploring all of the new sophisticated ways that polka dots are coming back into the fashion scene today. Remember: if you’re on a budget or a little uneasy about the trend, start off small with cute polka dot accessories to make this style transition a bit easier. Once you’re ready to go bold, polka dots come with endless possibilities for standing out without breaking any cardinal rules of fashion.