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1 Aug

Fashion Story: Polka-dot print

Good day, my dear Readers!

Today, while choosing what to wear my eyes caught a simple and lovely casual dot dress. At the same, the curiosity was born of how and when it all started. So, I have followed the desire and dived into an interesting story about the appearance of print or so-called polka-dots. Hardly anyone would argue its phenomenal popularity. For example, how many items with polka dots do you have in your wardrobe? What are your preference classic black dots on a white background and vice versa or/and colorful solutions?  

While you are thinking about that let me share its fascinating history with you. First of all, nobody can really name the exact date of print’s birth. However, the records in Europe go back to several hundred years, to the times of the appearance of the printed fabric. The official time when polka-dot became visible is considered to be the middle of the 18th century. That can be true due to the fact that previously, such a print had an association with the spots on the body and was connected with smallpox and caused fear and horror in peoples’ mind. However by the middle of the 18th century, anxiety had subsided, and in Switzerland for the first time in the world came into view a fabric called “Swiss Dots“.

Initially, it was the finest translucent cambric in a very small speck. Over the years, the Swiss dots changed and became embroidered, woven, monochrome and colorful. In a while in the late 18th century, this pattern appeared in France, when boring monophonic clothes bored the Paris elite and tailors began to dilute the outfits of court ladies with different drawings. Light fabric in small specks fitted perfectly into the style of Amir (from the French – “empire”), which dominated during the reign of Napoleon I. From this material beautiful flowing dress with an overstated waistline were sewed.

By the middle of the 19th-century dot prints were worn by everyone. That was represented by the famous photo of 1865 where a simple woman in a blouse with polka dots was the main character. Traditionally, the pattern of dots was used in the clothes of dancers and musicians of flamenco. It is usually associated with ease, romanticism, flirt, femininity, and elegance. In the English version, the name of the dots sounded like “polka dot” (translated as a dot-polka), in honor of the cheerful dance “polka”. When exactly this name arose remains to be unknown. According to one version, “polka dot” was first mentioned in 1873 by the popular women’s magazine “Godey`s Lady`s Book”, which was described in one of the articles as the old-fashioned pattern in the form of white dots. As to another story, the first mention of the pattern in the form of dots was voiced in the newspaper The New York Times on September 21, 1866.

In addition, not only women appreciated this cute design. The famous dandy of the XIX century George Brummell found polka dots exquisite and included it in his wardrobe, mostly in the form of ties. Since then, this male attribute with a dots pattern has been firmly entrenched in the wardrobe of the strong half, and this pattern is considered one of the most conservative.

Dresses with polka dots have become especially popular in the 1920s. In appreciation to Walt Disney in 1928, it appeared on the dress of the famous cartoon Mickey’s girlfriend – Minnie-Mouse. Dots on Minnie’s dress appeared by a chance of a white paint drop that fell on the artist’s drawing. The popularity continued to rise with the time and in 1934, the film “Stand Up and Cheer!” was released. There little Shirley Temple, the charming six-year-old girl appeared in a white fluffy dress with red dots. After that, the mass production of dolls in the same kind of dresses began. All the little girls dreamed of getting such a toy as a gift and, of course, such a dress!

Moreover, in the world of fashion, the print has appeared in the 1950s. This period is called the years of the real birth of a polka dot print. It materialized on literally everything and was everywhere – from swimsuits to hats. It was worn by everyone from movie stars to housewives. Later dots became a recognized classic due to the talented designer Christian Dior. He actively used dots in his work, creating light, romantic, tender collections, which were so desired in the postwar period. In the sixties, the dots theme was continued by Yves Saint Laurent, Rudi Gernreich, and Mary Quant. Contradictory at this time, dots no longer seemed to be sweet and gentle. The print character was impudent, bright, energetic and bold. It was known to be a fashion of young and active.

It is also vital to mention the famous dresses of Stella McCartney, who managed to offer a new reading of “dots in 1987; Cerruti dress, in which was Julia Roberts appeared in the cult film “Pretty Woman” (1988); and remarkable red jacket in small white dots of Princess Diana. In addition, one of the most famous polka-dot dresses that costs only $ 35 and belongs to Michelle Obama is a simple black dress in small white dots, in which she performed in one of the television talk shows.

Likewise, nowadays dot print remains popular and loved. It is used by all designers and in almost every season there is something new. As well as there are even entire collections of doted outfits. By wearing dots you can choose your look: a true lady – elegant and restrained; an eccentric girl – boldly, carefree, optimistic, mischievous and amusing; romantic person – gentle, feminine and slightly frivolous. It is really up to you to decide and in polka-dots, you will definitely be stylish and noticeable!

Thanks for reading m