Ready to Wear: Are polka dots acceptable for a woman over the age of seven?

The world's gone dotty. And not just because the unusually clement weather has scrambled Europe's collective brain.

At London's Hayward Gallery, among the highlights of summer's blockbuster show, Walking In My Mind, is the red and white polka dotted work of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. "Visitors are able to immerse themselves in 'Dots Obsession' (2009), a large mirrored corridor filled with red spotty balloons, and walk through a dot covered landscape on one of the outside sculpture terraces," the blurb for the exhibition reads. And it doesn't stop there: "Twenty five trees along Queen's Walk are also covered in red and white polka dots for the duration of the exhibition". Marvellous.

Anyone with a Fifties-style attachment to coordinated dressing – at best, think Hitchcock's Grace Kelly with matching crocodile shoes and Kelly bag; at worst, imagine the peculiarly French penchant for matching mother and daughter outfits – will be pleased to know that polka dots are among the graphic prints of the spring/summer season. The opportunity to not only immerse themselves but get entirely lost in fine art has never been greater.

Are polka dots – and specifically the wearing of them – acceptable for a woman over the age of seven though?

Certainly, they are commonly seen printed and/or embroidered across children's clothing, toys and furniture. There is, potentially, a cartoonish quality to this particular style. Just look at Betty Boop or, for that matter, Minnie Mouse. In Japan in particular young boys and girls wear polka dots in much the same way as they might sailor suits or pinafores. Spots are the uniform of the nursery.

The ruffled garb of the flamenco dancer is also spotted, however, and there's nothing much innocent about Spain's most famous – and indeed powerfully erotic – dance.

Dior's chiffon polka dot dresses boast the best of both these worlds. As brief and coquettish as the aforementioned Ms Boop's choice of garb, they are sheer and worn over the type of entirely womanly foundation garment that Jane Russell pioneered. Dolce & Gabbana's spotted pyjamas are rooted in traditional menswear and more discreetly flirtatious for it. At House Of Holland what can only be described as an overload of polka dots was stamped onto everything from cotton tank tops to Levi's 501 jeans. This, it almost goes without saying, is very Eighties in its approach.

The best way to wear polka dots, though, might be to adapt their proud-to-be-feminine appeal to a clean, wholly adult silhouette. Michael Kors' monochrome shift dresses are as chic as they are sophisticated as are Giles Deacon's. Quite the finest polka-dotted pieces of them all, they play with black, white and shades of grey to thoroughly modern effect.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Female Care Worker

    £7 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This expanding, vibrant charity which su...

    Recruitment Genius: Parts Supervisor & Advisor - Automotive

    £16500 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's leading...

    Recruitment Genius: Housing Assistant

    £16819 - £21063 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager - OTE £60,000

    £35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In 2014, they launched the worl...

    Day In a Page

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones