Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Origin Of The Polka Dot

Polka dot is a pattern consisting of dots. Polka dot patterns are quite variable: they range from a series of dots that are equally spaced and sized to a random arrangement of multicoloured dots of different sizes. Polka dots are most commonly seen on children's clothing, toys, and furniture, but they appear in a wide array of contexts. The pattern rarely appears in formal contexts, however, and is generally confined to more playful attire such as bathing suits. Occasionally white on black regularly spaced polka dots appear on more formal clothing.

While polka dots are ancient, they first became common on clothing in the late nineteenth century in Britain. At the same time polka music was extremely popular and the name was also applied to the pattern, despite no real connection between them.

There were many other “polka” items, some of which include “polka-hats” and “polka-jackets.” Most disappeared with the fad of the actual polka dance. Only the polka dot fabric pattern remained popular, and the name has been left intact over the years.

In 2006, polka dot skirts, dresses, scarves and tops became a fad in the United Kingdom. The polka dot skirts were usually pencil skirts. This started another fashion period, after which silk replaced the polka dot. The Pipettes were instrumental in bringing about this fashion trend.

* Peacock, John (2007). Fashion since 1900: the complete sourcebook. Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0500513457
* Linda Welters and Patricia A. Cunningham (eds.) (2005). Twentieth-century American fashion. Berg. ISBN 1-84520-072-1

1 comment:

Hoardmeister said...

Thank you for this! I have always wondered how the term "polka dots" came about. Works better than "round spots," that's for sure.