Rep. Jan Schakowsky recorded a YouTube message on the economy this week. She wore a polka dot blazer:
This is a bold print, and there's nothing wrong with bold prints, but this is the wrong print for this woman. Polka dots can be very sharp and unforgiving, especially in the scale where each dot is about the size of your eye. They are perfectly round, perfectly defined (there are no soft edges on a dot) and in this case, they are the highest possible contrast of black and white. Comparing this print with Rep. Schakowsky's features, the dots don't compliment her. Her hair is softly framing her face, with many variations of color within it. Her eyebrows have soft edges. Her nose and her mouth are comprised of straight lines, not round ones.
It's also interesting to note that this was a planned appearance on camera - she wasn't in the middle of doing something else. So this is my opportunity to remind you that when you plan to go on camera, consider not just what your clothes look like on you, but also how they look in your surroundings. The size and contrast of the dots are in direct competition with the flag right behind her (and the flag wins). The black backdrop just absorbs the rest of it.
This is one instance where I definitely would have recommended a solid, maybe in a steel gray like this: