If you come across the video of the fall / winter collection while browsing the Zara website, you might be surprised.
Every outfit at the parade is a blizzard of polka dots: every dress, jacket, blouse with a tie collar and swooshy trousers is made of a kind of polka dot fabric in every size from an old penny to a needle stitch.
No doubt about it, Zara is making a statement: There are many new styles out there that we could show you at the start of the season, but take a look! Check out these bold dots! See how modern they suddenly look! Count how you can wear them and how different the effect is depending on whether you are wearing a tailor or a draped skirt.
Shane Watson provided advice on this season’s polka dot trend. Pictured: Sarah Jessica Parker
I have to say, even if you’ve avoided polka dots for decades (and I haven’t worn them since Princess Diana’s days), Zara is something on the trail.
For starters, those polka dots are bigger – not the polite cream sprinkles on navy that still remind me of mothers on a school award day around 1981. In addition, marine and don’t know are on the menu – too nautical Sloane Ranger and what we’re used to.
So we hit the update button. A little daring, a little avant-garde and super chic is the place where polka dots are now being set up.
Zara is based on Prada (tailored black on cream-colored dotted trousers); Saint Laurent (a silk chiffon blouse with poet sleeves that can be worn under a blazer) and all the other designers who studied monochrome (Valentino) or winter white (Isabel Marant).
A black-on-white or white-on-black polka dot covers all bases. Let’s not forget that polka dots are a classic, up there with a leopard print and a navy stripe. They are a safe choice for autumn and at the same time you are breaking new ground.
The way to go with polka dots now is to think separately. A dress is fine – or a jumpsuit (both are available in the Zara mix) – but pieces allow you to dilute the effect of dots by pairing them with plain black or cream. And they give you more options.
Zara’s slightly flared midi skirt, white with huge black polka dots that purposely mismatches at the front seam (£ 79.99, zara.com) is suitable for those of us who shy away from black and white animal print but keep the point a graphic can recognize monochrome pattern.
Shane said patches in different scales worn together is a smart option. In the picture left: Zoe Kravitz, right: Mandy Moore
Worn with a plain black top or a smaller polka dot blouse (£ 59.99, zara.com), perhaps topped off with a gold buckled belt, this is fun and chic and would go with kitten heels or boots. (By the way, the fashion girls combine their monochrome polka dots with cherry-red or white accessories.)
Spots in different scales worn together are a smart option and you can afford to be brave if you can take the items apart and wear them in many different ways.
POINTS: THE NEW RULES
- Keep the points bold and not tiny.
- Wear separates in different scale points.
- Swap navy for black and cream.
- Wear it with plain black or off-white.
Another two-step lesson in size differences is Zara’s high-waisted, straight black-on-red polka-dot print midi skirt worn with a cuff-sleeved blouse in the same but slightly larger print (both £ 27.99). It might sound like a lot, but it isn’t: The combination looks like a simple, eye-catching dress, only three times more versatile.
Of the many, I would personally choose the casually flowing limited-edition trousers by Zara in a medium-sized black polka dot on a chalk background (€ 89.99). Flowing, but tailored in viscose or silk, seems to be the sweet spot for polka-dot items.
Worn with a black top with puff sleeves or a velvet jacket and sandals with a block heel, autumn is on the program. There is a matching shirt and tie you can pair it with (£ 59.99) but that goes in pajama territory for me.
Otherwise, I’ve got my eye on a flowing, draped cream midi skirt with an irregular black stain from Ba & sh (£ 185, ba-sh.com).
A cream background is lighter and more original than black and this crepe fabric with ruffles looks great in the day with boots and a turtleneck or in the evening with a jacket and a light lace top.
Last but not least, a V-neck, tie-detail blouse for the easy stack, this time black with a little white stain (£ 59.99, zara.com), goes with anything. The jury is not there (maybe not) for polka dot tights, otherwise choose your place.