Rediscover Polka Dots - How to Style Playful Polka Dots Now and Forever.

Rediscover Polka Dots - How to Style Playful Polka Dots Now and Forever.

Polka dots, the darling of the fashion world, have journeyed through time, evolving from dance-inspired beginnings to becoming a beloved and iconic pattern. We dive into the fascinating history behind polka dots, exploring their quirky name, rise to mainstream fame, association with iconic personalities, and the latest "how to" styling for Fall 2023 and beyond.

Origins and Naming, Connecting the ... Dots. 

The origin of the term "polka dot" is steeped in history and a little mystery. Emerging during the mid-19th century, these dots got their name from the lively European dance craze, the polka dance, which took the continent by storm during the 1840s. During the polka craze, the name was often attached to fabrics, clothing, and fashion accessories as a marketing tactic to sell those items due to the dances popularity. Marketing 101! There are a few versions of lore where the term, “polka” originates. One version notes "puntito" in Spanish, meaning "little dot," the term eventually morphed into the widely recognized "polka dot."  However, the dictionary notes polka stems from polka, a Czech term for a Polish woman. Since the dance originated in the Czech region of Bohemia this may seem the most widely recognized. Regardless of the exact origins, the reputation is undisputed. The connection to the lively, fun-loving dance imbued the pattern with a sense of playfulness and rhythm that has endured over the years.

Vintage imagery of the Polka Dance

Polka Dot Across Cultures

Beyond the Western fashion world, polka dots hold significant cultural value in various societies. In Japan, for instance, the dot pattern is called "kusama," and it plays an essential role in traditional clothing, art, and festivals. Similarly, in some African cultures, dotted fabrics hold symbolic meaning and are often used in ceremonial attire. The global appeal of polka dots showcases its ability to transcend boundaries and built connectivity. 

Polka into Mainstream Fashion

As we moved into the 21st century, polka dots maintained their relevance in contemporary fashion. From the runways of Paris and Copenhagen to the street style of New York City, designers and stylists have continuously found innovative ways to incorporate polka dots into modern outfits. The pattern's versatility allows it to be adapted to various styles adding a sense of levity and playfulness.

Polka dots made their entry into mainstream fashion through captivating storytelling. The emergence of Minnie Mouse in the 1920s, Disney's animated sweetheart, marked a turning point. Her iconic red and white polka dot dress gave the pattern a charismatic boost, ingraining it into pop culture. The real life silver screen icons played an integral role in popularizing polka dots as well. Hollywood stars like Marilyn Monroe and Lucille Ball wore polka dot dresses, catapulting the pattern into the hearts of millions and cementing its status as a timeless fashion icon.  Lucille Ball's vivacious charm was complemented by her fashionable polka dot outfits on "I Love Lucy." These glamorous figures became synonymous with the pattern, contributing significantly to its enduring allure. Today, A-listers like Taylor Swift, Emma Stone, and Amal Clooney have all made stunning appearances in polka dot ensembles, sparking inspiration among fans and making headlines in fashion magazines. And its not just for the ladies. British heartthrob, Harry Styles, is said to be obsessed with his polka dot printed Gucci tee that he wore on his Love on Tour.

Vintage Barbie in Polka Dots

If the runways have any indication, polka dots are back front and center in the fashion world. Seen at Saint Laurent, Chanel, Molly Goddard, Proenza Schouler, iconic polka dots are being highlighted for timeless versatility and mood boosting benefits. The Saint Laurent collection included a co-ordinating two-piece button down blouse and trousers in black and white dots. Louis Vuitton launched their second collaboration with Kusama, an artist known for her use of dots and spots. The collection includes hand bags, jean jackets, denim skirts and more clothing created by Nicolas Ghesquière inspired by the artist's recognizable work, "Infinity Mirror Rooms” AKA - polka dots! Chanel also used the pattern in their signature mini-dresses. As the fashion world evolves, polka dots continue to captivate designers and fashion enthusiasts alike.

Polka Dot Runway Looks

For Fall 2023, polka dots are making a bold statement by embracing a fusion of classic and modern styles. Perhaps you are apprehensive to wear polka dots due to the omnipresence dots of the 80s or scared from plus size fashion rules. Within plus size fashion, women are often warned against patterns. The only rules are, there are no rules, get inspired to try. Here's how you can rock polka dots this season:

Two Models wearing See ROSE Go plus size clothing, left model wearing matching polka dot button down and wide leg pant, Model right wearing the go-to midi dress in same class polka dot pattern.

The Coordinating Look: A la Saint Laurent, this outfit made us all swoon. Opt for a black and white polka dot blouse paired with coordinating trouser like our Signature Crêpe Tunic Shirt and Multitasker Wide Leg Trouser for a sophisticated look. The drape of the fabric adds an elegance to complement the romance of the polka dot.

Layered Elegance: A polka dot blouse like our Signature Crêpe Shirt with fitted legging adds proportion balance creating a versatile ensemble that seamlessly transitions from day to night. Layer under a blazer or trench coat.

Mix and Match: Experiment with polka dots of varying sizes and colors. Pair a smaller dot top with a larger dot skirt for an intriguing visual contrast.

The Polka Dot Dress: Instead of ruffles, puffed sleeves and wrap silhouettes in polka dot, opt for a dress with clean lines and shape like our Go-To Dress. This dress is a reiteration of our best selling little black dress with the same unique draping and minimal look, but in polka dots. A simple shape allows the pattern, and you, to shine.

Accessory Accent: Elevate a neutral outfit with polka dot accessories like scarves, handbags, shoes or sneakers, adding a touch of whimsy to your overall look. This is an easy way to incorporate a newness into your wardrobe as a test. It can go as bold as you desire.

Pattern Play: Embrace the trend of mixing patterns by pairing your polka dot piece with another patterned garment. Stripes, camo, or checks can create a dynamic and eye-catching ensemble. Try our Multitasker Wide Leg Trouser layered with Signature Stripe Tunic and Camo Cardigan.

Model wearing See ROSE Go camo pattern cardigan and polka dot wide leg pants

Polka dots are one of those well loved prints, right up there with stripes and camo. From chic Italian women, street style savvy influencers, red carpet celebrities, old men to children, you can wear it. When we launch a pattern you can be reassured, we check all the boxes, timeless, classic, elegant, feminine, strong. From its origins in the polka dance to its prominence on runways and red carpets, the polka dot magic in fashion history is concrete. As we step into Fall 2023, this fashion icon shows no sign of fading away. With a rich heritage romance and a timeless charm, polka dots continue to enthrall fashion enthusiasts worldwide. Embrace the playfulness, versatility, and elegance of polka dots this season, and you'll effortlessly channel the spirit of classic beauty with modern relevance.


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