Polka dot is a pattern consisting of an array of filled circles, generally equally sized and spaced relatively closely in relation to their diameters. They have a long history, going all the way back to the eighteen hundreds.
Starting in the years between 1830-1835, Europe and then the United States were struck by a dance craze originating with the Bohemian and Czech peoples of Europe. The new dance, the “polka, “was named after the Bohemian word “polka,” which means, simply, a Polish woman. (NOTE: The Bohemian word “polak,” which means a Polish man, gave us the racial slur “polak” that is still used today.) Another theory on the origin of the dance’s name indicates that it derives from the Czech word “pulka” (meaning “half”) because of the dance’s quick, short half-steps. Take your pick.
With the tide of European immigration to the U.S. in the 19th century, this new dance spread quickly and became wildly popular. The peak of the “polka” craze lasted for two generations from 1840 to 1890. In many areas of the country the desire to “polka” became so strong that polka clubs began to organize so their members could satisfy their desire to engage in this trendy and spirited dance. Members were very proud of their clubs and, somewhere, someone came up with the idea of adopting a uniform pattern on clothing worn by women who were members of these polka clubs. Women chose a closely fitted jacket that was widely worn and made of evenly spaced dots placed on a field of fabric of a single color to signify their membership in a polka club.
By 1880 material was being sold in fabric stores that had this same “dot” pattern in various colors (both the “dot” and the “field” on which they appeared varying in color). In this way the “polka dot” was born. The dance remained in vogue for so long that manufacturers took advantage of “the polka rage” by creating numerous products and naming them after the dance. Polka hats, polka curtains, polka fabrics, all kinds of polka clothing and other items, sold very well and made businessmen and merchants small fortunes. Most of these products have disappeared, but the polka dot pattern has remained to this day a popular fashion statement.
It was the 20th century that truly saw the beginning of the polka dot’s lasting role in fashion history. In 1928, Mickey Mouse’s female companion, Minnie, was born in the Walt Disney illustration studio dressed in a polka dot skirt, a trademark of the animated icon. During the 1940’s and ’50s, the polka dot graced the gowns of female celebrities from Marilyn Monroe to Elizabeth Taylor, during the same time period Christian Dior began to release his notable hourglass dresses in spotted prints.
Polka dots never really go out of style and always look classy and chic. I especially love polka dots on dresses and bikinis. They instantly give the outfit a feminine touch.
I created 7 style sets dedicated to polka dot dresses No. 2003 to 2009. Enjoy!
Source: Polka dots