Sunday, June 1, 2014

A brief history of polka dots…

a brief history of polka dots, polka dots, legally blonde, elle woods, polka, pleated skirt, red shoes, sunglasses, style ideas, summer style ideas, vintage style ideas

Polka dots.  They are happy.  They make outfits just a touch more fun.  They are just plain adorable.  But where did they come from?  Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde” aced “History of Polka Dots” but what do you really know about them?
            To get into the meat of the subject, let’s start with the name: polka dots.  I used to call them “poker dots” as a child because, let’s face it, I somehow ended up with an exposure to poker and had no exposure to the polka, but it is, in fact the polka that lent it’s name to these happy dots.  Starting in the 1830s, the polka swept Europe and the United States.  The word “polka” is a Bohemian word for “a Polish woman” and somehow ended up morphing into “polak” and the slur that it is today. 
            I’m getting off topic.
            Anywho, as the 1800s progressed, polka clubs became the cool place to be and eventually, someone came up with the bright idea that each club needed a uniform.  The first of the uniforms created consisted of a short, closely fitted jacket covered with a series of evenly spaced dots.  At first, the pattern was just referred to as being dotted, but as the association with polka clubs progressed, the polka dot was born circa the 1880s!  Marketers took note of the craze and sold polka everything: vests, hats, curtains, and even polka pudding (made of cream and sherry).
            Moving into the 20th century, polka dots became something of a fashion statement.  Coco Chanel and Minnie Mouse alike favored polka dots in the 1920s, pin up girls flocked to dots during WWII, and Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Christian Dior were notable dot enthusiasts of the 1950s.  In the 1960s, the itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini became the must have beach accessory for big haired, baby oiled it gals. Geoffrey Beene was kind enough to keep polka dots in the mainstream during the 1980s and since then, they have become a fun, vintage-inspired print!




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24 comments:

  1. wow; those photo's are amazing. Polkadottastic!!

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    1. Gracias! This was such a fun outfit to wear and a great piece to write!

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  2. great post!
    i love polka dots
    and they look really good on you!
    xoxo Rose
    Bogibo

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  3. Who knew? Polka clubs...polka dots...makes sense. Gotta say, love the shoes!
    Debbie
    www.fashionfairydust.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you! I love them too! It's sad that I only wear them a few times a year!

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  4. I am in love with this outfit! That red skirt + the polka dots are adorable!

    Xo, Vanessa (Delightful Sunflower)

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    1. Thank you! I'd set this outfit aside to wear a month ago, but it was too cold for so long! I was so happy to finally be able to let it see the light of day!

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  5. This is the 4th outfit I've seen tonight with polka dots! I love how you've styled it with the pleated red skirt, looks great.

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    1. I really do think that polka dots will take over the world one 'o these days! Thank you for reading!

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  6. cool post.love the look.amazing shoes!

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    1. Thank you! Yes, they are pretty fun! I don't get to wear these wedges nearly as much as I'd like to!

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  7. ah you look AMAZING. I can see you rocking 50's housewife look

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    1. Thank you! I had so many people stop me at work to ask if I had planned to be totally 1950s, when really I just liked the idea of dots with pleats!

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  8. You have a great blog! beautiful image! Very bright!
    http://devchunichka.blogspot.ru/

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  9. Interesting article, thank you!

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  10. The word Polka still refers to a Polish woman today (I'm Polish). The word Polak is actually Polish for Polish person, but unfortunately it has turned into an offensive word if spoken in English, at least to all of my fellow Polish Americans I know. It may be different in other countries though I'm not sure so don't quote me on that! haha

    BUT, I love this outfit and I love polka dots, seriously my favorite pattern out there :)

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    1. Good to know! I did my research for this on a Google search, so it's nice to have some first-person background!

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  11. Ok, so this was a really fun article to read!

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  12. I love polka dots and I love this outfit! The red works brilliantly. xxx
    The Jolly Fashionista

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