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Patterns in Fashion: iv. Polka Dots

  • Small and uniform polka dots became worn in Victorian times, with the advent of machine made fabrics, where the dots were evenly spaced in the machine design. Before then, they would have been hand-sewn by seamstresses.

  • By the 1920s, polka dots were beginning to be worn larger and more flamboyantly, alongside the smaller and more elegant designs.

  • One famous wearer of large red and white polka dots is Minnie Mouse. She has been wearing her iconic dress since 1928 and only very recently swapped it for a Stella McCartney-designed deep blue polka dot trouser suit for her A/W 2022 runway show in Paris.

Polka Dots / Spots in Fashion

  • Polka dots became fashionable in the 1950s as part of the Bombshell and Rock'n'Roll looks and were worn in dresses, swimsuits, bikinis, capri pants, scarves and blouses by stars such as Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot and Sophia Loren.

  • Worn many different ways: dotty, spotty, ditsy or polka dots on clothing are generally considered playful and fun, yet also classic and uniform.

  • Polka dots again became fashionable in the 1980s and were worn memorably by Diana, Princess of Wales in striking, tailored pieces which photographed well for her public engagements.


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