vintage polka dot fashion

Spotlight on Spots | Vintage Fashion Inspiration

Spotlight on Spots | Vintage Fashion Inspiration

From Dalmatian spots to polka dots, no one can argue that fashion went totally dotty from the 1930’s to the 1960’s. Balmain, Dior and Schiaparelli made spots a glamorous choice for well dressed women.

At some point, mainstream fashion saw spots go from stylish to childish, relegated to the playground and Disney characters. They’re still popular in vintage reproduction clothing, where in my (probably unpopular) opinion they’re horribly and un-inventively overused. A default print alongside cherries and red roses.

I’d love to see spots brought back in a thoughtful, sophisticated way, taking inspiration from our favourite fashion decades when the versatile dot was anything but twee.

Delightfully Dotty Daywear

Today’s style lovers are likely most comfortable with spotted fabrics being used for daywear. Their simple charm lends itself to casual trousers and blouses, but also to feminine shirt dresses and full skirts – silhouettes less common in 21st century ease-focused dressing.

Polka dots have also been popular in beachwear through the decades. Appearing in swimsuits and resort wear, spots seem to capture the carefree mood of vacationers. How fantastic is the woman in eye catching polka dot beach pajamas? (And why is she holding a fake pig!?)

My personal favourite garment here is the 1957 silk crepe skirt with huge balloon dots in pinks, reds and oranges. It’s a novel approach which stands out in a sea of evenly spaced polka dots.

Polka Dot Eveningwear 

Polka dots aren’t something modern fashionistas associate with formal wear, but vintage designers couldn’t get enough of the simple dot in woven or printed patterns. These gowns showcase the romantic allure of spots when paired with hourglass silhouettes, sensual off-the-shoulder necklines and romantic full skirts.

There’s nothing childish about Suzy Parker in that slinky cowl back, or the sensuality of Schiaparelli’s daintily dotted, figure hugging gown from 1953. These dots are decadent, mature and oh so elegant.

Spot On Suits & Coordinates

Woven silks, textured spots and natty polka dots made an appearance in chic coordinates, especially in fifties and sixties fashion. Layered spots made for graphic suits and two pieces, while solid colours made contrasting polka dot blouses and bows look sharp and fresh.

I’m absolutely in love with both the green outfits, from 1958 and 1945 respectively. Having gloves made to match your dress feels like the ultimate in intentional style.

 

Outerwear, Underwear & Accessories

Spots of all sizes pervaded the realm of accessories too. Spotted gloves and hats, worn with solid fabrics or matched to yet more spots. (If there’s one thing we know, it’s that the 1950’s were not intimidated by matchy-matchy outfits).  Outerwear and underwear featured decidedly bold dots in polka and irregular styles.

 

I became slightly obsessed with spotted clothes while researching for this post. The variety of patterns, colours and dot sizes is incredible, and I truly believe that the designers of the past were more inventive with how they used prints than designers are today. There were far too many photos for one post, so I’ve created a Pinterest board dedicated purely to polka dots and spots!

Do you have a favourite dotty design I didn’t feature? Slide into the comments below, or into my Facebook or Instagram DM’s so we can swoon over it together!

 

With Style & Sass,

Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, 4 comments