Fall Trend: Polka Dots

For the past couple years, we’ve talked about the fall trends, and first up this year: Polka dots! They’re everywhere these days and look so cute, especially when mixed with tomboyish pieces, like jeans and sneakers. (This cozy sweater is my favorite.) Here a few pretty things…

1. Black belted dress, $55.
2. Cashmere sweater, $268.
3. Honeydew bralette, $34, and boyshort, $16.
4. Classic ballet flats, $135. (Or fancy heels.)
5. Clutch, $45.
6. Black jeans, $189.
7. Silk blouse, $70. (I also love this and this.)

Thoughts? Will you be wearing polka-dots on crisp fall days? Do they fit your style?

(Top photo by Stockholm Street Style. Post by Joanna; graphic design by Rachel/Elephantine for Cup of Jo)

  1. Polka dots first started appearing on common clothes in the 1800s, mostly on swimming costumes but really became popular after being sported by Minnie Mouse in ‘Steamboat Willie’ in 1928 :)

  2. I truly appreciate this post. I’ve been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You have made my day! Thanks again!

  3. Love polka dots. My mother was wearing polka dots the first time she met my dad and he still remembers and calls her the girls in the polka dots.

  4. i love this trend!!!

  5. I’ve loved polka dots for a long time, but am so excited they’re more readily available now! I just purchased my first chambray shirt…and it has tiny white polka dots on it. pefect!

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  7. I’m obsessed with polka dots this year! I have at least 3 tops with white and black dots.

  8. Jenni P. says...

    At the end of spring I bought a navy with white polka dots jacket at Target on clearance on a whim. Wasn’t sure if it was “me”, but so glad I kept it – I hope to be more trendy this fall!

  9. I have been into polka dots for years. I’m going to take that as a sign that I’m a total trendsetter ;-)

  10. @ L’armadio del delitto, that’s so cool! How exciting for you! You’re darling. Thanks for sharing your fashion tip. I’m much the same. I had a work supervisor last year who jokingly complained that everything she liked that I wore she couldn’t buy anywhere because I had mysteriously “found it in my closet.” It’s fun, huh? :)

  11. oh for the small perky breasts needed for the polkadot bra!

  12. I’ve been searching for polka dots jeans- I want white on navy though. Such a cute trend!

  13. I love 1,2, and 7!
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    and please follow =)

  14. Anonymous says...

    Apparently polka dots were in last fall too. I really wish Madewell would bring back that polk dot sweater it had last year (the one Jessica Alba can be seen wearing in paparazzi pics.) I love that one.

    I’m a big fan of stripes and they seem to be “new” to some areas this year. But they were HUGE three years ago when I honeymooned in Australia.

    I think of polka dots and stripes as classic prints and wear what I want whether it’s in or not. (Of course, if it’s not “in,” it’s harder to find new in stores.)

  15. i LOVE polka dots! i would like to say that i started the trend (heh heh) , but i think it was marc jacobs. i’ve got my eye on some lovely polka dotteds at j crew.

  16. Kate says...


    Hi! I love polka dots too, but prefer them in navy and white. Actually, I’m doing a lot with navy right now- so many cute styles in that shade!


  17. Oh! I was SO happy to see that polka dots are back in right now :) I really love pattern mixing them with florals…so sweet and unexpected. That dress is just adorable!

  18. Awh LOVE polka dots, I think I might try playing connect the dots on the polka dot panties too….perhaps with Channing Tatum:)

  19. There was a photo of a Team Europcar rider in the Tour de France in a polka dot jersey flanked by two girls in matching polka dot dresses. It’s super cute!

  20. i am in love with this polka dot trend! i will definitely be wearing them!

  21. I love dots! They are super sweet! My last post was with polka dost blouse which I looove! :)

  22. Hi Joanna, what a surprise! I’m the girl on the photo (thank you!!!) My top and my skirt are vintage Gucci from my family: actually I rarely buy clothes because I prefer to use the vintage ones I find on abandoned closets.
    Kisses! Cécile

  23. I’ve always been more of a stripe kinda girl, but lately I’ve been falling for polka dots too. I spotted a Brahmin polka dot bag online and I just loved it, unfortunately they don’t ship to where I live. Now I found myself an adorable polka dot clutch and I’m sure it won’t be the last item with this print. Loving the sweater!

    love from Belgium,


  24. Love polka dots! They are cute and classic at the same time. I’m definitely wearing them. I’ve got a couple of tops, a dress and a pair of trousers all full of dots :)

  25. I already have tons of dots and stripes, so I am set!

  26. i love a good polka dot!

  27. love the blouse and dress! great finds!
    (not so sure i’m quite bold enough for those jeans!)

  28. i’m so into polka dots right now, those pants are freaking adorable!

  29. Cute cute cute! They don’t always work but you’ve picked some great ones!

  30. Ashley says...

    What else, cardigans, denim, and stripes? florals for spring?
    Lol.i don’t see how this is a trend if its everywhere already and has been consistently in.
    A real trend looking at designer collections: cranberry/maroon for fall.

  31. Anonymous says...

    Big Yeh!
    Love polka dots

    Recent search for under garments, not much out there in dainty cute polka dots.

  32. I LOVE dots so much and that sweater looks super cozy:) Happy Tuesday! xo

  33. Polka dots on everything were a huge trend in 2002/2003 when I lived in Europe. With H&M everything, I thoroughly indulged in the trend then, so I think this time around I will pass. Though that sweater….hmmmm

  34. Alice says...

    I am wearing a polka dot dress right now!!! I can’t wait to buy more this autumn, polka dots are such a fun print and just make me feel extra happy on autumnal days.

  35. Wasn’t this a trend just 2 years ago? I have a cute black top with white polka dots from J. Crew that is similar to the one you spotlighted above. I guess this is good because I don’t need to buy anything to stay “on trend”!

  36. as a full grown adult woman, my only response can be


  37. I love polka dots too! What great pics =)

  38. I love polka dots, especially small ones. I don’t think I could pull off the polka dot jeans, but the rest are GORGEOUS!

  39. I’ve always loved polka dots, so I’m especially happy about the trend because now I could so many different pieces! I have a dress much like the one featured here, only white with black dots. love it!

  40. Never been a huge polka dot fan, especially of the larger print variety. I’m more a stripes kind of girl (I have what some might call an addiction). I did really love the polka dot sweater at Old Navy, so perhaps I’ll have to give it a try!

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  42. Just bought a polka-dotted shirt this weekend! Can’t wait to wear it with layers in the fall :)

  43. ahhh love the jeans..and they’re Paige Denim…my fav!

  44. I have those Madewell undies and the little bra. They are super soft and comfortable! Sometimes mesh can be a little scratchy but these are great! My husband loves them too ;)

  45. polka dots are my favorite and my downfall because i simply cannot resist the temptation of a classic silhouette that is covered in dots – my blog even has a dotted reference in the title!

    love your selections, and i also covet that sweater :)

  46. Polka dots are a fresh change from the classic stripe we’ve seen for the last few years. We dig it!

  47. I’m in love with polka dots my whole life and so glad more retailers will be carrying them which will make it easier for me to wear them.

  48. Anonymous says...


  49. I really like the sweater!


  50. I’ve been wearing lots of polka dots since early this year! I love them. I even found a great polka dots Kate Spade bag and was saddened when I sent it off to get repaired that they couldn’t repair it. :(

  51. I love this post!! I’m obsessed with polka dots.. I’m going to do some major shopping now!

  52. cute jeans! i wear polka dots all of the time and really love mixing them with stripes. i feel like they are more of a staple than a least in my closet :)

  53. I am addicted to polka dots and those shoes are a must-have! Enough said :)

  54. I saw this post and I thought ”ooh I love polka dots, yes! I wonder if I have any..” and then I realized I was wearing a polka dot shirt (small white dots on coral red fitted button up) that I purchased in France (which sounds a whole lot fancier than it is..). I’m glad to see the trend is building!

  55. It seems like polka dots are one of those cool fashion staples that will never go out of style. Love it! xoxo

  56. I love this trend! Those flats are adorable.

  57. I love anything with polka-dots!

  58. The jeans are adorable. I’m so glad, because stripes were everywhere for summer, and now polka dots are here for fall! My two favorite basic patterns. If we get really lucky, plaid and fair isle will be a huge hit for winter! fingers crossed.

  59. Polka dots are very cute and flattering on anyone, no matter the size. I also think that NAVY BLUE will also be a Fall trend. I’ve been seeing it a lot lately, especially on Pinterest.

  60. Loove it! Especially that cute undies set. Such an easy trend to incorporate into what you already have.

  61. One of my cousins told me once that someone had told her never to wear polka dots because people will never take you seriously. I can’t deny that really had an effect on me, I’m not sure if I’ll ever want to wear polka dots! I just don’t think they really fit my style, either. “Cutesy” doesn’t appeal to me.

    All that said, I was browsing JCrew’s fall offerings yesterday and this sweater ( really caught my eye. I think the dots are large enough to not feel cute and their irregularity feels more stylish.

  62. I am loving all the dots this season. I have been planning my sister’s baby shower, she’s having a girl, and I’m doing a lot of pink and white polka dots. For myself, I just bought some cute dotted underwear form the gap and a navy polka dot baggu shopper. For fall, I’m looking at accessories, J Crew polka dot wool scarf/shawl and their socks! So cute!

  63. My best friend LOVES polka dots. They always remind me of her so this will be a lovely fall ♥

  64. Anonymous says...

    how funny! i’m wearing that silk polka dot blouse today!

  65. I got an adorable cream colored sweater with neon orange polka dots from madewell a few weeks ago. It’s light weight so I’ve been sneakily wearing it during the summer but I can’t wait until the fall to wear it for real!

  66. I want every single item you’ve picked! The top is gorgeous.

  67. LOVE it! I had a polka dot themed birthday for my 1 year old more than 3 years ago!! Good to know they’re still trending :)

  68. i so agree! but that photo of the woman in the beautiful dress and clutch is so absolutely pretty and lovely… i am blown away. polka dots are endlessly versatile and perfect.
    kw, Ladies in Navy

  69. I’m wearing polka dot pants right now! I strongly support them!

  70. I have that clutch and love it. And it was on sale in-store for something crazy low like 12.99 last week, I believe!

  71. I’ve been rockin the polka dots since 1992. can’t stop wont stop. :)

  72. I love to see them. Was looking at photos (of mine) from the 80s…90s…early 2000s. They were a “trend” then, too:)

  73. I bought a polka-dotted top in Madewell (navy/white) very recently and wore it the first time this Sunday (I believe you have the skirt) Love the versatily of the pattern: It goes well with denim cut offs, skinny jeans or wide pants…XOXO

  74. hilary, totally! second year in a row! but this year is bigger than ever, they’re ever-y-where. :)

  75. Morgan says...

    Oh goodness! That sweater is perfect! I usually don’t go for polka dots but I may have to change my mind. :) I can just see myself wearing that everyday!

  76. Adorable! Love polka dots…especially in these muted tones!

  77. Lately I’ve noticed how many stripes I have in my closet. I think these polka dots will balance them out nicely!

  78. I was surprised to see that spots are in for another fall season.. but I am not complaining. I just picked up a new shirt-dress for fall :).. and I still have several pieces from last fall. Have a great day, Joanna!

    XX Hilary