The polka dot print is an absolute Retro classic, it adds psychedelic style to any outfit. Like most styles in fashion they come and go but the polka dot never disappears entirely! But have you ever wondered where the trend started?
The polka dot did not exist prior to the mid 19th century as machines were required to create the even spaced dots. When industrial machines developed, they could create the perfect polka dot! During the 1830's the polka dance craze was thriving, they adopted the polka dot print and used it on dresses when performing. They soon became associated with each other and it created a polka dot mania!
From the 1830's to the 1930's the polka dot print came and went like most fashion trends. The popular pattern was used everywhere from clothing to household objects. There was times where the polka dot print hit the fashion bulls eye!
The polka dot popped back into trend during the 1930's and was the height of fashion. The polka dots were usually small and dainty which were more popular among women. The pattern was traditionally used on classic colours such as black, navy and red which is still used to this day. You typically see a white polka dot print on a vibrant colour background, which really makes the polka dot pop!
During the 1940's the polka dot drifted out of fashion. Fashion had to become simple and conservative during the war because fabrics and patterns became luxury and not a necessity. The print became a classic and reserved design which was often only worn by people with money or high status.
The polka dot print burst back into fashion during the 50s! Everything featured the psychedelic pattern from men's neck ties to women's dresses. It went from a quiet print in the 40's to a bold print but it still remained a level of class. The polka dot print in the fifties was quite often considered as cute and dainty, using black, white and pink for colour schemes. During the polka dot craze, men often sported the polka dot print on accessories such as neck ties and handkerchiefs. The print was popular among pin up girls, which meant every woman wanted a polka dot print swim suit or cute dress with a sweet heart neckline!
Silver screen stars such as Marilyn Monroe often wore the polka dot print in forms of swim suits and dresses. This gave the polka dot trend a massive boost as Marilyn Monroe was considered a massive fashion icon on the 50's.
The 60's was the era of pop art and the polka dot print thrived. The sixties were all about making a statement, from vibrant colours to daring prints, you were sure to stand out from the crowd! Designers such as Mary Quant combined daring bright colour palettes with bold prints to create eye popping mini dresses. This use of the polka dot print was never seen before the 60's but people loved it. Not just women wanted to make a statement, men did too! They rocked the polka dot print which often featured on classic mod shirts. Using the same traditional idea of the 30's using a white polka dot on a coloured background, it created a boom in psychedelic shirts!
Sixties icon Bob Dylan sported the print on a 1965 album cover 'Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues'. Wearing a polka dot shirt with a vibrant green backdrop and an all over large white polka dot print.
The 60's changed the polka dot forever, ever since then the polka dot has thrived. The print is considered fashionable and is often found on clothing, accessories and household décor. The polka dot has lived centuries and I'm sure in centuries to come we all still be sporting a polka dot dress or shirt!
Check out below some of Madcap England polka dot masterpieces!
Madcap England Polka Dots
Madcap England 'Penny Dot Lane' polka dot shirt.
A true psychedelic clothing masterpiece, this fab shirt features a classic white polka dot print on an array of vibrant colour backdrops. Finished with a Mod button down collar, it is an absolute sixties classic!
Madcap England 'Polka Dot Dollierocker' polka dot dress.
Brimming with that sixties psychedelia influence this fabulous dress again features the classic white polka dot print on vibrant coloured backdrops. Finished with a Mod Peter Pan collar and cute three covered button detailing.
Madcap England 'Minnie' polka dot dress.
A retro delight, this gorgeous dress again features the classic white polka dot print on a red backdrop. Finished with cute circle buckle belt to waist and fitted bodice with flared skirt.