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.

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    PHOTO: REX USA/Everett Collection

    Audrey Hepburn

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

     

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    PHOTO: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

    Marilyn Monroe

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

     

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    Twiggy

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

     

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    PHOTO: REX USA/Moviestore Collection/Rex

    Brigitte Bardot

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

     

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    PHOTO: 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. 

     

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    PHOTO: 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.

     

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    PHOTO: 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. 

     

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    PHOTO: 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.

     

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    PHOTO: 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.

     

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    PHOTO: 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.

     

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    PHOTO: 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.

     

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    PHOTO: 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.

     

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    PHOTO: 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).

     

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    PHOTO: 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.

     

EXPLORE: Brigitte Bardot, Then & Now, Then and Now, polka dots, Celebrity Style, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot, Twiggy, Princess Diana, Prince, Julia Roberts, Gwen Stefani, Ashley Olsen, Olivia Palermo, Kirsten Dunst, Florence Welch, Solange Knowles
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