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Fun Fashion Fact Friday: The History of the Polka Dot

The Polka Dot is a fun and iconic pattern with a rich fashion history. This classic pattern first became popular when Miss America was photographed in a polka dot swimsuit in 1926.

Miss America in a polka dot bathing suit in 1926

Miss America in a polka dot bathing suit in 1926

Soon after, Disney’s Minnie Mouse was introduced wearing a red polka dot dress and bow. The pattern did not receive high fashion acclaim until Christian Dior incorporated polka dots in “New Look” collection in the late 1940s. Dior told Vogue that he used this lady-like print, “to make women extravagantly, romantically, eyelash-battingly female again”, referring to the shifting gender roles after World War II.

At this time, polka dots became the go-to pattern for celebrities like Lucille Ball and Marilyn Monroe. Brian Hyland’s hit song “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” brought polka dots back into the fashion limelight in the 1960s.

The polka dot originated in Europe in the mid 19th century with the popular dance called the polka. Polka enthusiasts were so excited with the dance craze that they developed the polka jacket, the polka hat, and eventually, the polka dot. The word “polka” means “little woman or girl” in Czech, making the pattern intrinsically feminine.

Julia Roberts in a polka dot dress in the movie "Pretty Woman"

Julia Roberts in a polka dot dress in the movie “Pretty Woman”

Today, the polka dot has a nostalgic feel and is often associated with vintage. Polka Dots are an easy print to incorporate in a modern outfit. The timeless print can be treated like a neutral, so don’t be afraid to pair it with other textures or patterns!

Want more polka in your closet? Be sure to check out Back In Style’s collection of polka dot attire¬†for fun and unique vintage finds!

The post Fun Fashion Fact Friday: The History of the Polka Dot appeared first on The Vintage Fashionistas.