Updated on September 12, 2022 by Sarina

A polka dot pattern on fabric refers to evenly sized and symmetrically spaced dots printed or woven on fabric. The pattern usually involves contrasts and consists of light-colored dots on a dark background or dark-colored dots on a light-colored background. It is basicaly a geographic fabric pattern.

polka dots

Polka dots are traditionally black and white but can be any color or combination of different colors. Polka dots can be arranged on a fabric surface in a variety of designs depending on how they are placed and the colors. The emerging pattern is a timeless and classic design that is at the same time modern. It has been a favorite of textile/fashion designers all over the world.

The history of polka dots

Polka dots as a fashionable pattern seems to be first introduced in the 19th century. Before this, it may not have been the favorite of women as a pattern for clothing fabrics – considering that it was a symbol of disease and plague.

The term polka is associated with different polish words. The Czech term for a Polish woman is Polska. But the Polka dot is supposed to be named after the popular Polish folk dance, the Polka, which originated in what is now the Czech Republic.  It is a particularly lively dance, and the term Polka dots became popular in Europe after it was referred to describe the small dot patterns on fabric by a fashion magazine in the 1840s. The pattern it spread its lively energy and versatility all over the world, and the rest is pattern history

You have seen polka dots on many clothing designs down the years. Different categories of women wear polka dot clothes with their own panache. Those worn by Marilyn Monroe, Minnie Mouse, Kate Middleton, and flamboyant Flamengo dancers are all beautiful but with different vibes and energy levels.

Polka dots have undoubtedly been a popular choice for women’s clothing.

There is even a psychology book referring to women’s love for polka dots – Why Men Like Straight Lines And Women Like Polka Dots (by Gloria Moss)

Reference for the term – wikipedia

Different Types Of polka dot Patterns

Whether you prefer big or small dots, there is sure to be a polka dot pattern that is perfect for you.

Classic/traditional polka-dots

These are evenly spaced dots arranged in straight lines and rows with light colored background and dark dots.

Very large coin dots and very small polka dots
These are even and spaced dots with very large dots or small dots.

differently sized polka dots - big dots and small dots on green background

Mixed colored Dots
Polka dots in different colors.

polka dots

Polka dot designs in clothing 

Polka dots are a timeless fashion trend that can add a touch of fun and whimsy to any outfit. It is a versatile pattern that can be dressed up or down, and it can be used in both formal and casual settings. The polka dot pattern is also a great way to add a bit of fun and personality to your outfit.

As a summer attire, there is no competition for a strappy polka dot dress in a thin cotton fabric.

Polka dots are one of the most classic patterns out there, and they can be incorporated into many different styles.

Wearing polka dots doesn’t have to mean looking like a ’50s housewife – there are plenty of ways to wear this timeless pattern in a modern way.

How To Wear them according to bodyshape?

According to Christian Dior (in his book The Little Dictionary of Fashion) smaller polka dots are suitable for petit figures and big dots are good for tall people. And, if you want to look slimmer, choose light polka dots on a dark background.

Mixing other patterns with polka dots

Polka dots are usually paired with plain fabrics, but they can also be combined with other patterns to create an even more unique look.

A popular way to wear polka dots with stripes. This creates a fun and quirky contrast that is sure to turn heads. For example, pairing a polka dot blouse with a striped skirt is a fun combination. Or wearing polka dot socks with a plaid dress. But there should be a balance in size and color to avoid a too busy look.

Another popular way to style polka dots is by wearing them in an unexpected color. Black and white polka dots are classic but don’t be afraid to experiment with brighter hues.

Finally, don’t be afraid to mix and match different sizes and shapes of polka dots. Smaller dots can be worn on top of larger ones, or vice versa.

How to Style Polka Dot Patterns for a Modern Chic Look?

Although polka dots are often associated with a retro style, they can also be styled to look modern and chic.

If you are aiming for a chic look and think that polka dots may look too flambuoyant and colorful, you can do a few things. First, pick a color scheme. You can go for a monochromatic look.

Second, decide on the size of the dots. You can use traditional small dots for a very subtle polka dot styling.

Third, choose suitable fabrics. Polka dots can be made from a variety of materials, but for a chic look, stick to silk.

Read more on patterns here : Name of patterns on cloths

Patternalia: An Unconventional History of Polka Dots, Stripes, Plaid, Camouflage and Other Graphic Patterns by Jude Stewart

Are polka dots suitable for heavy body shape?

polka dot patterns - white back ground vs dark background

Do you love polka dots but feel like they’re not flattering on your figure? If you are on the heavier side, you may have been led to believe that polka dots are a no-no. But that’s not necessarily true! Polka dots can actually be quite flattering on heavier women as long as they are worn correctly.
Here are some tips on how to wear a polka dot dress if you are on the heavier side.
● Choose a dress with polka dots on a darker background. Darker colors are more slimming than light colors, so they will help to downplay your size.
● Choose clothes in small dots than oversized dots
● Choose clothes which are fitting on your body like a wrap dress which tightens at the narrow part of your body

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