Love it or hate it ? The polka dot dress

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Hello folks !

Today I will tell you a love or hate story, the one of the most emblematic piece of clothing of the modern pin up : The polka dot dress.

So, let’s start with the beginning : Where does it come from ? (Not only from your favorite modern pin up shop).

You all know the existence of the polka dance, a traditional dance from central european countries that became popular in all Europe and in the United States during the XIXth century.

This dance has become very popular between 1840 ans 1890, and thus a lot of clubs have been founded.

To distinguish the different clubs, they decided to choose a pattern for their clothes. We don’t precisely know why but the chosen pattern was the dotted fabric. Each club has different colors.

Then, polka dots were starting to show up in fabric stores and started to get popular among people out of polka dance clubs. It was the beginning of a trend.

What has this got to do with pin ups ?

Dotted patterns are fashionable throughout the XXth century. In the 40s, Hollywood starlet Chili Williams made a very popular photoshoot where she was wearing outfits and a swimsuit with black dots.

Other stars of the ear also wore dots. And it’s well known that stars are great influencers when it comes to fashion. For example the famous american star Minnie Mouse was wearing a dotted skirt since 1928.

In the 50s,  Marilyn Monroe also made pictures wearing a dotted swimsuit, and you could see her wearing dotted clothes quite regularly.

Polka dots are not related to dance anymore, but they became a common and classic pattern on many fabrics.

In 1960, singer Bryan Hyland sings « Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini » on all the radio stations. Dots are fashionable again !
You can also find them in the 80s, where fashion was inspired by the 40s.

And what about nowadays ?

Dotted fabrics are still common and rather popular, particularly with the vintage / retro trend. You can also find dots in many “mainstream”  fashion collections, particularly in spring and summer.

The dotted dress has also become the emblem of neo retro and rockabilly culture, inspired by the 50s and rock n roll culture.

So this is it for the historic part. From a folkloric dance trend to classic print.

 

 

What about me now ?

I guess everyone did the same. I tried to wear modern pin up outfits, and therefore I tried the very popular dotted dress, in blue and white.
But it has been a big NO-NO. Also modern pin up is not for me at all. It is not me.

Now I found what I like the most, and it’s 40s style. Even if dots were present back then, I don’t own any dotted piece. Even if it is a classic print, I think that dots are too much of a stereotype.

For me, they are not an emblematic print of the 40s, as when I look at old photos I can’t see a lot of them. To me they are more of a modern symbol of Pin Up, Kustom and Rockabilly culture.

I’m not afraid to say it : I do not like dots.

I get this question quite often, because people are surprised. And all this because of the modern pin up image with the dotted dress.
So many people associate dots, bandanas, vivid colors and tattoos automatically to neo pin up or retro girls, because they might not know that it’s not the same.
By the way I should write a blog about the difference between the two.

Even if it happened that sometimes I like a dotted item, a shirt or a skirt, but now I can’t stand them anymore, because of the “rock and modern pin up” association.

Fashion is like music. There is a huge choice of clothing cuts and fabrics, so don’t be afraid to dislike dots (and rockabilly)  (et le rockabilly) o((*^▽^*))o

Estelle,
Bonbon Maléfique,

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