Polka dots have always added a certain fun factor—but this season, the traditionally sweet motif is being pushed in a grown-up direction. Designers are putting a unique spin on spots with edgy silhouettes and unexpected textures—from minimalist two-pieces at Sportmax to librarian-chic lace pencil skirts and box tops at Burberry. They’re also experimenting with scale. “Exaggerating the size of the dots is what makes it feel new,” says Sportmax head designer Grazia Malagoli. The look is still lighthearted yet bolder and totally fresh. Think: Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s delightfully oddball creations more than Minnie Mouse.
And thanks to the bevy of neutral shades, like navy, black and nude, the trend has never been easier to pull off. “The key is to stick to simple, slim cuts. As long as you have clean lines, the print feels sophisticated,” says Lucky fashion director Anne Keane. She also loves the idea of going all out and wearing the graphic style from head to toe. “Different types of polka dots play really well off each other—just mix patterns of various sizes and you’ll still look cool.”