Friday, May 10, 2013

A Brief History of Polka Dots: And How to Wear Dots

The Polka Dot. Established as a staple in fashion by one, Minnie Mouse in the 20's. Popularized by Lucille Ball and Marilyn. Used in the 50's as a post war pick-me-up in Graphic Design. And perhaps most endearingly, named after a dance all the rage in the 1800' guessed it: The Polka.

These cute little guys had a rough go at it in the early days. Popular opinion was they resembled measles and other infectious horrifying diseases (cute, huh?). Eventually, and only a little less disgustingly, they found a way to make themselves useful through patching ---> the dark dots or "moles" folks would place on their faces to cover blemishes. I guess the pounds of white makeup didn't do the trick.

Finally, Minnie busted on the scene with her red Polka Dot skirt, and they've been on popular fashion's good side ever since. Disney characters have a way of defining certain styles don't they? (See: Ariel with purple and green (right, Gaby?), or Tinkerbell with the Pixie cut (she's the reason I had one). 

I have a personal love affair with Polka Dots mainly for the manner in which they serve up pattern mixing perfection in any scenario. These black and white shorts are a favorite of mine. They look adorable with so much, I have a hard time deciding what to pair with them sometimes.

Maybe a bold striped shirt for more pattern mixing fun times like this one. 
Floral like this would work too.
Dot on Dot is also a fun treat. These multi-colored dot platforms aren't for the feint of heart.
Or this vintage sheer shirt would be killer.

Style tip: When mixing dots, (or any patterns) it's best to vary in the size of the pattern in different pieces. Small dots? Big Stripes!

My favorite Polka Dot moment? Gwen Stefani's navy and white dress in the Don't Speak video. I've been looking for that damn dress since I was 14.
Do you Dot?
Any favorite Polka Dot fashion moments out there?
{Shirt: Vintage - For Sale Here}
{Clutch: Thrifted}
{Glasses: Husband's Vintage Ray Bans (Similar)}
{Shoes and Cuff: JCP}
{Shorts: F21 (soooo old, but here's cute ones)}
{Jacket: Buffalo Exchange (Similar)}

Sources for this post: here and here.


  1. Love your look so much! :D

    xx MJ

  2. I flock to polka dots like cockroaches flock to a party in a pizza box.

    Love, Amy
    A. Loo's Closet

  3. Girl, you nailed it. I love the pattern mixing, the hair, the shoes, the location... Sigh.

  4. These photos are so great! Love the look.

    Kate from Clear the Way

  5. Oh, I dot alright!! I loved reading the history...very cool. Didn't know all that. Woohoo, I learned something new today! :) I agree mixing dots is fun and also agree with the balance of varying print sizes. You look STUNNING and so cool! Love your heels with this look. And that SHIRT! May I steal it please?!! XO!


  6. You've totally inspired me to whip out a polka dot skirt I have hiding, gonna try your tips for print mixing :) I love how your look came out! The shirt, not sure what the print is, I could read library? But that isn't important, cause I still love it :)

    Mili from call me, Maeby

  7. Those shorts are kind of the most adorable thing ever! I love rocking the dots - my cousin and I kind of have an obsession with them; so much so that her husband likes to make fun us and call us the Dolka Pots. He just thinks he is clever. :P

    Thanks for the history of the polka dots! That is very interesting, even if that is me just being a nerd!

    I have to say that polka dots on dresses are usually my fave - nothing can make you feel super girly and awesome like a polka dotted dress!


  8. Stunning look.

  9. My favorite shot is the one with the rose petals. I do like dots, don't wear them often, and I have to say I like that you have made them not so cute and precious but cool, inspiring!

  10. Loving your outfit! I only just recently bought a polka dotted dress, but I have no clue why I waited so long.
    Gorgeous photographs, the dusk setting and the flower petals add something romantic to this!
    Maya - Archistas

  11. Tasty shirt combined with the polka dots shorts, the more that I think of it polka dots seem a tad underrated, Ladybirds wouldn't be the same without them! :)

    ▲_▲ HYENA


  12. Great post and lovely outfit! xoxo

  13. Beautiful pictures! Loving the mix of prints in this outfit! You make me remember I should buy more vintage stuff :)
    xoxo Iris

    A Dash of Fash

  14. No way, Minnie?!?! Ok, that is just cool.:) And I dot, I love to dot! Although I'm into bigger dots, I must admit.:)

    Your outfit is frigging perfect, babe, I'd wear everything you have on in a second - GORGEOUS.

  15. I love your shorts! I need one like these for this summer! :-) Cool way of mixin polka dots with the nice pattern of your shirt...and I like the tip you gave us! Will put it in practice next time!
    Oh, now that I think about dots, I bought a summer dress at Zara just a week ago, it's green with polka dots. ;-)

  16. um LOVE this, thank you for the history of the polka dots, I love fashion history and damn cuz.....this outfit is the bomb dot com
    brooke @ what2wear

  17. you and your blog are legitimately way adorable and stylish as hell! i'm super glad you stopped by my blog and left a comment, leading me to stop by your blog and find that it's so up my alley. looking forward to followin' you and seeing more posts!

  18. I think I've started every single comment on your blog this way but,


    now that that's out of the way,
    I can move on to raving of a more detailed sort. Obviously this shirt is the coolest thing I've seen EVER. and I love the idea of mixing this unique print with the classic polka. When I think "print", I always think of stripes, paisley, etc, etc, but this is so fricken original.

    Months ago I was strangely drawn to a polka dot maxi skirt, but I'm still struggling with how to style it. It has a giant slit, which I love for the cute/saucy contras (I just said saucy), but I wish I could give it to you to see what you'd do with it!!

    LOVE the heel on these shoes.
    LOVE your choker.
    LOVE that you're holding glasses in your hand.
    REALLY LOVE the half tuck.

    stop it.
    just stop.


    ps: hellz yes to Disney as style inspo.

  19. Those photo's are BEAUTIFUL!! Hope you are doing well :)

  20. LOVE the pattern-mixing, and that jacket is so great!
    Fifth Freedom Fashion

  21. Oh my gawd. Measles? I must have a twisted sense of humor, because the disease association just made me love polka dots about 1000x more!

    Great tips on the mixing/matching patterns with dots. I'll def be using them.


  22. Minnie Mouse is the QUEEN of polka dots!

    Maria xxx

  23. can't get enough of print mixing and polka dots are always a great print to start with. i have a feeling i'm going to have a very polka dotted and striped summer. the print on the shirt is amazing, love how you mixed prints but kept it black and white. gorgeous photos as always, that one of those killer heels next to all those rose petals is a show stopper!


  24. So fabulous! Love how you mixed prints!

  25. I absolutely love that you list the Disney girls as some style inspirations!
    I always have time for a bit of polka and you're rocking yours!

  26. I found your blog thru IFB as we were both featured for the May 30th roundup.

    1st, I love your outfit. Fun way to print mix and it looks great.
    2nd, such a cheerful post. Who doesn't love a good polka dot!!

    I just followed you on bloglovin:)

  27. Hey, just found your blog though ifb links a la mode, and I love it! Mixing prints is my fave and this is such an awesome look! I’ve just remembered I have a pair of polka dot trousers somewhere that I’ve not worn for yonks…I’m off to find them :)

  28. Glorious pics, and fantastic post.

  29. Such a great, informative post. Loved learning about polka dots, one of my favorite prints, and I love love love your outfit. The mix of black & white patterns is just too perfect.

  30. I saw your post was featured on the IFB Weekly Roundup again! You're kickin ass and takin names! Congrats, you badass babe!


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