What says “summer fun” more than a polka dot or striped outfit? If you said, “nothing”, then I totally agree with you!  I consider these two prints neutral patterns, just like black and white are considered neutral colors. They go with just about everything and can be incorporated anywhere from a work outfit to a fun day at the beach.  

 First, a fashion story from my past:   As a young sales manager with a big insurance company, my husband qualified to attend his first partner’s meeting hosted in Maui, Hawaii in 1987.  This meeting involved intense wardrobe planning for cocktail parties, business luncheons, black-tie dinners and even poolside parties.  We were in our early 30s, and to say this first manager’s meeting was epic for us would be an understatement.  

Remember the 70’s band, The Spinners?  Well, they were the headline band at the last night’s dinner.  I will never forget when the curtains opened, and they started performing.  And I will never forget the adorable cocktail dress I wore, a black and white polka dot dress with an open back from Sakowitz in Houston. But the icing on the cake was in the middle of their performance the lead singer pointed to me and said, “I’m dedicating this next song to the lovely lady wearing the polka dot dress.”  And that’s when they sang “Working My Way Back to You Babe!”  To this day I don’t know if it was my polka dot dress that got their attention or my signature dance moves.  But I’m thinking….probably the dress!

So let’s start with how I would incorporate a polka dot look into my wardrobe today….some 32 years later.  For a fun summer church dress, I’m loving a black and pale pink polka dot dress with bell sleeves, as seen on our Pinterest board.  A fabulous party look I love is a sheer white polka dot blouse worn with the sleeves rolled up and paired with black embroidered pants.  Kind of makes me want to host a party!  

When it comes to trends, a striped off the shoulder top is “the look” for this summer. Where can you find this look?  Everywhere!  Some of the young girls are wearing a cropped version. I like an off the shoulder look that is long enough to wear with jeans, covers my rear, and can be tucked in.  

A striped skirt is another really cute way to add some pizazz to your style. A perfect summer dress would be a blue vertical striped off the shoulder embroidered dress…perfect for running errands or a beach vacay! And think about mixing stripes and florals or even stripes and polka dots for a double dose of summer prints…such a fun way to add personality to your ensemble.  

Were you ever voted “Miss Congeniality?”  True story….I actually was!  If you want to win some popularity votes, think about adding one striped or polka dot accessory to your wardrobe.  I’m not kidding….strangers will stop to ask where you found your adorable polka dot bag or your striped clutch.  Be sure to take a look at the multi-colored striped Rebecca Minkoff clutch and Balenciaga shopper tote on our Pinterest board.  And of course…a pair of striped or polka dot shoes are always attention-getters!  

Do you like to sleep in comfy pajama pants?  My favorite pair are my black and white polka dot PJs.  A cute pair on our Pinterest board is a pink striped set from Victoria Secret.  Besides cute PJs, swimwear in stripes and polka dots are so in style this summer. Who remembers the “Tweeny-Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” song?  To be honest, that is definitely not the look for me these days, but a cute polka dot or striped sarong skirt worn over a “not so tweeny-weeny” bathing suit would be a great swimsuit cover-up option.

 I so hope you will consider adding at least one of these popular patterns to your summer wardrobe!  And if you do…I think there’s a really good chance you might be voted “Miss Congeniality!”

Holley Williams is a personal stylist specializing in closet inventory, seasonal shopping, closet organization and wardrobe consultation.  Contact Holley at [email protected].