The History of The Polka Dot

24 Mar
Natacha Medeiros

One of fashion’s favourite patterns is trending for spring (just see here, here and here), but that got us thinking –where did our love for the polka dot begin?


One of the earliest portrayals of polka dots was in an 1876 painting by French painter Frédéric Bazille, where two women wore pale blue dresses adorned with polka dots. Then, in the mid-1920s through to the 1940s, the polka dot started making appearances in the U.S. Here are a few notable moments:


  • In 1926, Miss America was photographed wearing a polka dot swimsuit.
  • In 1928, Disney introduced Minnie Mouse, outfitted in her signature polka dot dress and bow.
  • By the 1930s, polka dot clothing was more frequently sold in stores.
  • In 1940, Frank Sinatra’s the hit “Polka Dots and Moonbeams” sealed the deal on America’s love with the pattern.


From then on, the polka dot was in and out of fashion. Christian Dior included dots in his “New Look” collection. The pattern spread though Hollywood’s It girls as Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Lucille Ball all sported the popping pattern. And in 1960, Brian Hyland’s song “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” was released and brought the pattern back into the spotlight.


The rest, as they say, is history. The polka dot has been trending, on and off, since its first major U.S. appearance in the 1920s and seems it won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.


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