May babysitter was in a car accident, but now she is back to work which means I am back to work. I am terribly behind of my schedule so today I spent one of those usual days in front of the computer tossing images and organizing ideas into a comprehensive sartorial instructions for one of my clients. Among other things I ended up writing an entire chapter on polka dots for her. I believe there are ‘polka dot people’ and there are those who aren’t. The former can wear a very wide range of polka dots beautifully and the latter are polka dot challenged. Yet, there is a version of a polka dot for anyone out there. Give me a face and I will find a polka dot for her. My client was a definite ‘polka dot person’ but she had her limitations too.
As I was brushing through polka dot designs, picking the right ones and weeding out the wrong ones I suddenly realized there are polka dots that are friendlier as well as there are more demanding ones. And I thought may be I should try to write about it here?
Then I got skeptical. I spend my days working on nuances of each individual because I despise generic style advises. All those “great designs for every age and all body types” basically means mediocrity for each particular woman. Giving a style advice to a group of people is like calculating an average body temperature in the intensive care unit. It can be done, but who cares?
And yet, I decided I’d try.
A lot depends on a cut and fabric. But if I go into these type of detailing now I will end up with the manuscript of a size of Britannica. That’s why I will assume that we are talking about garments that without a polka dot would be extremely becoming of any given person who happens to read this.
I will concentrate on these three areas:
Color: observing my clients and people on the streets I have found the most demanding polka dots to be black and whites and red and whites.
They are believed to be ‘classics’ and they are definitely eye catchers, especially in the shopping windows and shelves, so they sell best. But these are extremely demanding of facial bone structure and generally they want ideally balanced facial features. Well, most human faces are asymmetric and these rigid geometric spheres will accentuate that.
Yet even a high contrast polka dot will become friendlier to many faces if the dots are of different scale. Somehow they just suddenly become more charming… and a little bit more French.
But say you are not a polka dot person and your face is asymmetrical and your facial features are out of balance but you just want to wear it and you want to wear it in black and white. Then I would say, go for a dress, don’t settle for a scarf.
A dress is a statement. It looks very self assured (providing you invest a great deal of time into makeup and a hairdo). While a polka dot scarf looks as if sheepishly saying: “yeah, I want some edge, but I am not sure I am getting it right, so here I am taking baby steps…”
But then hey, put the same little piece of polka dotted clothe on a hat and it gets all its allure back effortlessly. I guess, a hat ribbon is less predictable and more dashing. I’d go for a hat.
The demanding B&W polka dots aside, these sheer dragées look terribly sweet and so forgiving of various imperfections. As I write this I am going through all the different faces in my mind and I haven’t found a type yet that would not shine with this breezy thing around their necks…
Basically, it would probably be right to say that low contrast is key.
Come to think of it the famous “pretty woman” dress was a low contrast version of the black and white polka dot and it turned out to be way more classic than the B&W.
Right now I feel like the best ones are some unobtrusive combinations with beige. And that brings up a matter of size and scale.
Size & Scale: when it comes to polka dots: the smaller, the better. Where “better” means that a wider range of faces will look good in this design. Small to medium sized (like on Julia Roberts dress) and really tiny dots (right above) work best.
Spacing & placement: Another key to a successful polka dot number is spacing. When myriads of circles, large or small evenly cover the garment it makes a busy print. Busy prints can be very demanding and unbecoming on various facial features. When there is more space between the dots it becomes more of an equal opportunity garment.
My personal favorite is placement: when these larger polka dots are placed on a garment randomly they look so much more sophisticated, especially when they are of different scale (as mentioned above).
Well, these are a couple of things to consider when choosing a polka dot. I hope this will make the world of polka dot more interesting and easier to navigate.