Polka dot prints in fashion are timeless!
Seen now as fun and whimsical, they weren't always seen that way.
In Medieval Europe, they were often seen as representing illness or disease. Because the ability to create evenly spaced dots did not exist at the time, dots on fabric would be scattered in a random pattern- reminding people of pox or rashes. In Shakespeare's "Othello", Desdemona's spotted handkerchief leads to tragedy in the play.
In non-Western cultures polka dots symbolized male virility or magic. More densely packed, small dots were indicative of stronger magic.
Before dots were called polka dots, dotted textiles in Europe had several terms. Dotted Swiss, the French called them quinconce after the dots on a die, and the Spanish called them "lunares" (little moons).
The term polka dots came from a dance craze in the mid 18th Century- the polka. It is believed that the print was associated with the dance because of the lightness and cheerfulness of the dance.
The 1930s saw a strong resurgence of the print, and since then it has remained a popular print in all realms of fashion.
Shop our collection here!
More coming from Marilyn's Room later this week!