We’re calling it now: polka dots are the fashion trend of the summer. Case in point: these two spotted dresses from Realisation Par and Reformation, as worn by a variety of Instagirls, have literally been blowing up our Instagram feeds. And dare we say it, we’re actually okay with that, because we kind of seriously love them (polka dots, that is). But we’ll also be the first to admit that like ruffles and gingham (also v. hot right now), polka dots are not for everyone. Depending on how they’re worn, they can feel a bit childlike (hello Minnie Mouse!), or a bit extra, especially if you’re wearing full-on polka dots from head-to-toe. There’s also a hint of retro nostalgia to them, bringing to mind vintage-y, 1940s-style dresses, or the more-is-more prints of the ’80s (both of which we’re on-board with, btw).
But there’s also something wonderfully whimsical and oh-so feminine about polka dots; they conjure all things dreamy, like sun-drenched summers in the south of France, espadrilles, and sipping red wine while overlooking the ocean (as one does). Which is maybe why they’re famously associated with swimwear and little bitsy bikinis and Marilyn Monroe; they somehow feel tailor-made for frolicking through the water in the midday sun. And yes, the trend is inevitably linked to “French-girl style,” which has been a thing for going on five-plus years now. But seriously, who doesn’t want to look like a French girl? And even if you don’t, everyone needs a dose of fun in their wardrobes once in a while, especially if you’re of the “I wear all black, all the time” mindset. We take fashion all too seriously at times, which is why polka dots feel especially fun and fresh right now (because really, what other trend also brings to mind confetti, cartoons, smiles and birthday parties?). A reminder, too, that polka dots can feel subversive and wickedly chic; just witness Marc Jacobs’s ode to the polka dot in his fetish-y fall 2011 fashion show. Jacobs has had an ongoing love affair with the graphic print, and it’s not hard to see why; they make an all-out fashion statement that unabashedly announces to the world: “I am here. And I’m here to have a good time.” We’re also of the mind that embracing our femininity and wearing what we want, when we want, is kind of a feminist act in itself (something that brands like Realisation Par and Reformation clearly get).
So this summer, we dare you to embrace your fun, fearless femininity and wear polka dots. And we dare you not to smile while wearing them.
Photos courtesy Realisation Par.