More than 24,000 people follow a tongue-in-cheek Instagram account dedicated to fashion retailer Zara’s feelgood hit of the summer – The Dress.
If you don’t have this capacious, flowy polka-dotted number, then it’s a safe bet you know someone who does. Or several someones: because this white-and-black maxi dress isn’t just a quirky fashion footnote, it’s a bona fide cultural phenomenon.
How come? Possibly because in these body positive times, it’s – miraculously – a garment that works across the board thanks to a careful cut, long sleeves and a flattering neckline. It’s so beloved that women are frequently snapped on the aforementioned @hot4thespot gleefully wearing it in identically-clad groups – and when did that ever happen before? Normally you would run screaming from the embarrassment of being within a mile of anyone in the same get up.
The sheer virality of The Dress across so many pillars – affordability, accessibility, wearability has seamlessly translated into interiors too.
Because if a black-and-white dress can make you look instantly polished, then it follows that the same applies to your decor, right?
Right, says interior designer and stylist Alannah Monks – who, naturally, has The Dress herself.
“Monochromatic prints in particular are a great starting point for an interior scheme; they offer a blueprint for base colours and accents, and plenty of room to play with pattern,” she says.
“I use graphic print as a staple in any design, whether it’s a full paint mural, a feature rug or just prints in a gallery wall,” she adds.
“It’s an easy and effective way to modernise a space while giving a chance to play with pattern.”
And when it comes to spots, Monks says they’re both timeless and trendy. They can, however, err on the side of being a bit too kitsch – and unless you want your decor to look like a 1950s stage set, that’s possibly best avoided.
“Polka dots have had a reinvention in recent years,” she says. Now, we’re now seeing spots with less structure to them, “with uneven edges and non-uniform pattern, modernising the print for more grown-up audiences”, she explains.
This really is the key to using polka dots without having them look kiddy. You can think a bit more outside the spotty box too.
“From the rising interest in terrazzo finishes to Pinterest-perfect dotty prints, there are so many timeless ways to bring spots into your interiors,” Monks says. “Children’s rooms are the ideal place to explore your spotty side; a full wall of spots is a high-impact and easy way to get creative with paint and colour.”
Circular decals and stickers are a great way to add polka power for a few quid or look for speckled bedding to add a fun finish.
Old-school ways still rule, too, “like a traditional red-and-white polka dot oil cloth for your table”, Monks suggests.
So, whether you go full colour or keep it back and white, just make sure it’s hot to spot – period.
Kirstie McDermott is editorial director of ‘House and Home’ magazine
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