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Weekend Outfit Inspiration: Black and White Polka Dots

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Springtime and polka dots go hand in hand. When polka dots are done well they add a sophisticated touch of whimsy to an outfit, often acting as a subtle pattern that creates visual depth, but when polka dots go wrong, you can end up looking like a clown.

Obviously I’m trying to help you avoid clown territory. 

Your best bet is to look for a small scale pattern. The bigger and bolder the polka dots, the more they look like a costume. When they are scaled down, you can use them much like a pinstripe – they become a neutral. 

The top I found for today’s outfit inspiration will move across your wardrobe nicely. You can tuck it into a black skirt and pair with office appropriate heels for work, or wear with a crips pair of white pants and slides in the warm weather. 

Weekend Outfit Inspiration: How to Wear Polka Dots 

Weekend Outfit Inspiration

Top, $59  |  Jeans, $98  |  Heels, $118  |  Bag, $30  |  Earrings, $10  

This sweet and fun top is for great date night or a night out with friends. You won’t feel like you are wearing the same thing you wore to the office, it feels fresh, and it’s affordable (under $60 at Nordstrom). It goes up to an XXL which is the equivalent of an 18 or 14 W. Plus size? Vince Camuto has a very similar option. 

I also like this version without the ruffle sleeve and I love this long sleeve version, but both styles are limited in sizes. 

Because the top has the added detail of a feminine flutter sleeve, I want to balance it out with something a bit tougher.  Enter black jeans. 

Black jeans are a must-have closet staple. I was always surprised when I worked with clients how many women didn’t have them. Once we added them to their wardrobe, many new outfit combinations showed up using pieces they already owned. 

I prefer a high waisted jean – but be careful here. There is a difference between high waisted jeans and the dreaded “mom jeans.” Mom jeans are going to have an extra long zipper and tend to flatten your bottom.  A high wasted jean might also be called a “girlfriend” jean. It will hit right at or below your belly button, and the back pocket placement should help “lift” your bum. 

For today’s look we featured a pair of under $100 Levi’s High Waisted Skinny Jean. My personal favorite black jeans are by J Brand. They are pricey but I wear jeans almost every day so I get good wear out of them. For an inexpensive alternative, there’s no shame in the Old Navy Rockstar Skinny jean for under $30.  

I have both pairs and here’s the difference.  The J Brand are three years old an look brand new after a lot of wear. The Old Navy fade and stretch after a season. I feel like the J Brand “hold” me in better in my mid section. 

Either way, you have a lot of options. Maybe we’ll do a How to Wear Black Jeans Three Ways post – would that be helpful?

To style, you can wear the top out or, what I would do is a half tuck in the front of your jeans. It’s what the cool girls are doing, so … 

The wrong accessories can really throw this outfit off, so I was careful to pick a slim sleek pump and clutch with a similar feel. 

White pumps help make the outfit feel special – and non-worky. Is that a word? It is now. 

Base your price point on how frequently you’ll wear them. These are by Banana Republic, they have a classic shape and 3″ heel for a little over $100. They come in a ton of colors too that could add a nice pop to other outfits. 

Other under $100 options include these Nine West pumps for $90, a subtle snakeskin textured pump at Macy’s for $70, and the always popular Sam Edelmans in a slingback for $77

The white clutch is an awesome option at Aldo for $30. The strong lines of the bag compliment the frills of the top – again, it’s all about balance.  The bag is also available in a light beige that would be an ideal, affordable basic for the spring.

Finally, these dangly earrings almost mimic the polka dots on the blouse and add some much needed movement to create a fun weekend night out look. 

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Weekend Outfit Inspiration: Black and White Polka Dots

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Megan Kristel

Megan Kristel is an entrepreneur, working mom, and former personal stylist. Tired of the one-dimensional portrayal of women online, she founded The Well Dressed Life as a resource for other professional women.

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Sunday 10th of March 2019

In the above piece you mention that cheaper jeans faded and the more expensive jeans did not. Earlier today I laundered a couple of sweaters. I had been having trouble with sweaters ‘pilling’. So I bought a more expensive one thinking it would not. But the sad fact is that it did. Do you have any advice with respect to buying quality clothing? Is it solely price point? I am trying to buy fewer but good pieces but so far spending more has not led to better clothes. I appreciate any advice you have. Thank you.

Megan Kristel

Wednesday 13th of March 2019

Hi Elle, In this piece I'm specifically speaking about jeans. Old Navy jeans fade faster than the more expensive designer jeans. Sweaters are totally different category and unfortunately, sometimes even the most expensive knit will pill. A few things to keep in mind: how you care for the sweater is important, you can wash some by hand and lay them flat to dry or dry clean. Also, in my experience, mid priced, around $120 wear the best. I like J crew, and Bloomingdales private label for their fit and quality.


Friday 8th of March 2019

I love this outfit and many thanks for your styling pointers! I am a new subscriber and I am looking forward with excitement to your future daily emails.

Megan Kristel

Wednesday 13th of March 2019

Thank you and welcome!!!

Tracy Gray

Friday 8th of March 2019

Love this look. I always wanted to wear polka dots especially in spring and summer but was always worried that it would come off as too over the top. The top above is perfect and versatile at the same time.

Rita C

Friday 8th of March 2019

Hi Megan, thanks for the tips and for offering several options to choose from. I'm starting to lean towards items of higher quality that will last longer for things that I'll wear over and over again. I can justify spending more on a good pair of jeans if they will last a long time and I feel good about doing what's right for the environment by creating less trash.

Megan Kristel

Wednesday 13th of March 2019

Thanks Rita! I'm so happy you mentioned the environment. I really struggle with recommendations sometimes because I want to feature lower priced items to help with budgets, but I also want to encourage investing in few things.

Julie Yeh

Friday 8th of March 2019

Also yes, please to the Black Jeans post

Megan Kristel

Wednesday 13th of March 2019

This Friday Julie!


Friday 8th of March 2019

Yes, please,on the "how to wear black jeans." I stopped wearing them awhile ago when, even washing in The Laundress for black clothing, they still looked aged and cheap in no time. I don't mind Old Navy for my everyday jeans, but would like to invest in a better black, and know how to look great in them.

Today is International Women's Day. Thank you for being a positive and empowering role model to so many women out there, Megan.

Megan Kristel

Wednesday 13th of March 2019

Well this is a terribly kind comment, thank you so much Kathryn:) And the black jeans post is coming this Friday!!!