Embryonic patterning has traditionally been viewed as the establishment of spatially significant gene expression in response to secreted signals. Recent work has highlighted the role of the Wnt/planar cell polarity (PCP) pathway in patterning tissues. Rather than establishing characteristic arrays of gene expression, however, this pathway functions to institute uniform polarity of cells within a tissue. Cells thus polarized can undergo directed migrations, cell divisions, etc., which are essential for normal morphogenesis. In this review, I will highlight the similarities between mechanisms that establish patterns of polarity between Drosophila and vertebrates. Further, I will discuss recent advances with regard to Wnt/PCP signaling in vertebrates.