Polka Dots Then & Now: From Twiggy to Ashley Olsen

You might’ve heard us waxing poetic about borrowed-from-the-boys looks recently—see: biker chic and menswear-inspired gold watches—but this one’s for the girly girls at heart. We simply can’t resist the feminine allure of classic polka dots—and neither can these fourteen chic stylesetters throughout history.

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  • From Twiggy in the ‘60s to street style stars today, see how the pattern was worn then and now.

  • Audrey Hepburn
    Photo credit: REX USA/Everett Collection

    Audrey Hepburn

    Hepburn showed off her graceful figure in a polka dot leotard in the ‘50s.

     

  • Marilyn Monroe
    Photo credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

    Marilyn Monroe

    The ultimate pin-up girl, Monroe posed in a then-teeny-weeny bikini in the ‘50s.

     

  • Twiggy

    A spotted headscarf: all the better for showing off those famously long eyelashes.

     

  • Brigitte Bardot
    Photo credit: REX USA/Moviestore Collection/Rex

    Brigitte Bardot

    Team a tie-front blouse with a wide-brim chapeau for a Bardot-worthy look.

     

  • Princess Diana
    Photo credit: JOHN SHELLEY / Rex USA, courtesy Everett Collection

    Princess Diana

    The People’s Princess was the picture of royal chic in this red and white ensemble in the ‘80s. 

     

  • Prince
    Photo credit: Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

    Prince

    Who says dots are only for girls? Prince pulls off the trend while performing at a concert in the ‘80s.

     

  • Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman
    Photo credit: Buena Vista/Getty Images

    Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman

    Who could forget the polo scene in Pretty Woman? This is how you show up to a sporting event in style: a polka dot dress, coordinating hat, and elegant gloves a la Vivian Ward. 

     

  • Gwen Stefani
    Photo credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

    Gwen Stefani

    At the Grammy Awards back in 2003, Stefani added her signature flair to her Vivienne Westwood dress with red patent pumps and a furry coat.

     

  • Ashley Olsen
    Photo credit: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

    Ashley Olsen

    Olsen’s Dior dress at a screening of Midnight in Paris hits on two noteworthy trends: polka dots and hints of sheer.

     

  • Olivia Palermo
    Photo credit: WireImage

    Olivia Palermo

    The voluminous, asymmetrical hem on Palermo’s Bensoni S/S 11 dress at the 2011 amfAR Inspiration Gala renders the classic print thoroughly modern.

     

  • Kirsten Dunst
    Photo credit: George Pimentel/WireImage

    Kirsten Dunst

    Dunst showcased a sophisticated spin on the potentially childish motif by pairing a Prada blouse with a streamlined Chanel maxi skirt at the Toronto Film Festival a couple years ago.

     

  • Florence Welch
    Photo credit: Venturelli/WireImage

    Florence Welch

    Welch’s ensemble at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year is not for the faint of heart—she went head-to-toe with the print, selecting a Miu Miu F/W 13 pink spotted maxi dress, matching bag, and clashing black and yellow platforms.

     

  • Solange Knowles
    Photo credit: NCP/Star Max/FilmMagic

    Solange Knowles

    For an appearance on David Letterman in New York earlier this year, Solange swapped the ever-popular crop top for an abbreviated Moschino Polka Dot Jacket ($1695), which she paired with the designer’s Wool Blend Pointelle Polka Dot Skirt ($920) and Elizabeth and James Saucy Leather T-Strap Pumps ($325).

     

  • Street Style
    Photo credit: Adam Katz Sinding

    Street Style

    Designer Lily Litkovskaya offers a contemporary take on the trend, layering a top and skirt under her own perforated dress from the S/S 13 collection, and finishing the look with a long black trench and a simple brown clutch.

     

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