The '90s Print Trend That's Sure to Pop Off Again This Spring

a collage of models wearing the polka dot print fashion trend on the runway
(Image credit: Launchmetrics Spotlight; PICTURED: Balmain S/S 24; Alessandra Rich S/S 24; Carolina Herrera S/S 24; Balmain S/S 24; Patou F/W 24; Miu Miu F/W 23; Nina Ricci F/W 24)

Anyone following fashion trends long enough has likely already become aware of one universal truth: nothing is really "new." Sure, there's a constant crop of rising designers or popular items to add to your radar, but trends are typically derivative of the past. That's no more apparent than with the polka dot trend. Throughout history, we've seen this print pop in and out of fashion as it rose to popularity in different fashion eras—including the '20s, '60s, and even the '90s. In many ways, polka dots have become a perennial part of fashion; however, that doesn't mean they're not worth paying attention to for spring. It's hard to deny the prominence of this pattern, considering that it can be spotted throughout the F/W 23, S/S 24, and F/W 24 collections.

The overall presence has convinced me that polka dot prints will not only pop off this spring but will also take the place of floral prints (for now). If that seems like a ludicrous claim, you'll want to keep reading as I come, bearing receipts, screenshots, and proof. Ahead, you'll find a few runway looks that prove that designers' reinterpretations of this "dated" print across multiple seasons have been spot-on (excuse the pun). Plus, I've included a small curation of some of the best polka-dot clothing you can purchase right now. It might not be a brand-new print trend, but you better believe it will make its mark this spring.

a photo of a model wearing a sheer polka dot top over a nude halter top with a polka dot sheer skirt and tights and nude kitten heels on Miu Miu's fall 2023 runway

(Image credit: Launchmetrics Spotlight; PICTURED: Miu Miu F/W 23)

Style notes: One could argue that Miu Miu's F/W 23 collection was when return polka dots began to pop back up again. The "dated" print was a daring update through semi-sheer spotted separates throughout the collection, marking its inevitable return.

a photo of a model wearing a polka dot dress with black boots at Philosophy by Lorenzo Serafini fall 2023 runway show

(Image credit: Launchmetrics Spotlight; PICTURED: Philosophy by Lorenzo Serafini F/W 23)

Style notes: In addition to the more sultry sheer printed separates we saw in Miu Miu's fall collections, there were primer takes on polka dots. A prime example of this was Philosophy by Lorenzo's F/W 23 collection, which included tailored dresses with the print.

a photo of a model wearing a polka dot top and polka dot skirt on Balmain's spring runway 2024

(Image credit: Courtesy of Balmain)

Style notes: Although several brands reintroduced polka dots onto the runway in the fall, they didn't seem primed to be the next big print trend until the S/S 24 shows—specifically Balmain's collection. Not only were polka dots prominent throughout the show but how they were incorporated felt inspired by present-day trends. Refer to the vibrant colors, mismatched prints, and floral appliqués as proof.

a photo of a model wearing a polka dot dress at Stella McCartney's spring 2024 runway show

(Image credit: Launchmetrics Spotlight; PICTURED: Stella McCartney S/S 24)

Style notes: Tailoring was another way we saw designers make this print feel a bit more trend-forward. Most notably there was Stella McCartney's S/S 24 show featured an asymmetrical draped minidress with polka dots. It showed that a bit of dramatic draping could make this "dated" print feel dazzling again.

a photo of a model wearing a polka dot puff sleeve jacket with a matching mini skirt at Carolina Herrera's spring 2024 runway show

(Image credit: Launchmetrics Spotlight/Carolina Herrera)

Style notes: Let the record show that designers did venture outside of putting this print solely on pretty spring dresses! Case in point: Carolina Herrera's S/S 24 collection, which included a ballon-sleeve button-down polka dot jacket with a matching mini skirt. It proved that printed sets can be equally stylish (maybe even more so).

a photo of a model wearing a long polka dot halter dress on the Patou fall 2024 runway

(Image credit: Launchmetrics Spotlight; PICTURED: Patou F/W 24)

Style notes: It wasn't just spring collections that proved that this print is fully back; F/W 24 collections did, too. Surprisingly, this trend appeared in various forms, including a printed halter gown at Patou's show. It displayed that polka dots will remain a paramount part of the rest of the year.

a photo of a model wearing a black and white polka dot dress with red pumps

(Image credit: Launchmetrics Spotlight; PICTURED: Nina Ricci F/W 24)

Style notes: If you've made it to this point but are still dubious about how this print is perennial, please refer to Nina Ricci's F/W 24 runway look above. There's nothing like a printed pussy-bow dress to show how evergreen polka dots have (and always will be). Sure, it might have taken us a few seasons to see that, but you'd be hard-pressed to deny the staying power of this pattern now.

Jasmine Fox-Suliaman

Jasmine Fox-Suliaman is a fashion editor living in New York City. What began as a hobby (blogging on Tumblr) transformed into a career dedicated to storytelling through various forms of digital media. She started her career at the print publication 303 Magazine, where she wrote stories, helped produce photo shoots, and planned Denver Fashion Week. After moving to Los Angeles, she worked as MyDomaine's social media editor until she was promoted to work across all of Clique's publications (MyDomaine, Byrdie, and Who What Wear) as the community manager. Over the past few years, Jasmine has worked on Who What Wear's editorial team, using her extensive background to champion rising BIPOC designers, weigh in on viral trends, and profile stars such as Janet Mock and Victoria Monét. She is especially interested in exploring how art, fashion, and pop culture intersect online and IRL.