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What I wore this week: polka dots

What I wore this week: polka dots

Look, if it helps, think of them as stripes that happen to be circular. Because frankly, I don’t know what your problem is. How many striped tops do you have in your wardrobe? Yes, including Bretons. Yup, also including cotton striped shirts. Thought so. Quite a few. So, why so sniffy about polka dots?

I do know why, really, of course I do. Spots are a bit… well, daft. Stripes go faster, spots are dotty. But that’s exactly why they’re fun. Nobody expects us, the grown-up fashionables, with our intelligently sourced, upscale, high-street Scandinavian, day-to-night pieces in muted tones, to wear spots. So, let’s do it.

Spots are happy-making, for a start, and that is the best reason of all. Every wardrobe needs an emotional range. You need the cool, crisp workwear – trousers with sharp creases, stiffened-shoulders – for work. You need the glossy, upbeat Saturday night stuff. But the friendly stuff is just as important. Cheery scarves and gloves, reassuringly plush coats. Spots are your friend, so there’s really nothing to be scared of.

Actually, that’s a lie. Polka dots can go wrong. There is a point where cheerful tips into syrupy, which you need to be mindful of by avoiding cutesy shapes. (I’d avoid a full skirt here, much as I love one.)

A spot with any kind of big shoulder is tricky, unless Danielle Steel Heroine out for Three Martini Lunch is the look you are going for. (With retrospect, I feel I may be channelling this just a teeny tiny bit in my photo here, although that wasn’t the plan. You see? Tricky.)

And Princess Diana may be a hipster style icon these days, but I still can’t hand on heart say that the full-fat 1980s take on the dot which she went in for is likely to work in 2017. A polka dot dress now needs mismatched earrings and a lace-up brogue, not ballet pumps and pearls. This, you see, is the point. What you need to make a polka dot look modern – a brogue rather than a ballet pump, graphic earrings rather than pearls – is the stuff you have already.

You have a polka-dot shaped gap in your wardrobe, so why fill it with another striped top? Square pegs into round holes don’t go, you know.

• Jess wears top, £25, Trousers, £35, by Principles by Ben de Lisi, from Embellished mules, £99,

Stylist: Melanie Wilkinson. Hair and makeup: Samantha Cooper at Carol Hayes Management using Mac and Bumble and bumble.
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