Going Dotty

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By Michelle Crowe



Christy Turlington wears Christian Lacroix Haute Couture Fall Winter 1991.


Rounding out our summer series on print and texture, are polka dots, fashion’s most cheerful print. It is nearly impossible to spot these dots and not smile.

Perhaps it is our collective wish to finally transcend the decade’s bumpy start and finally enter our roaring twenties. After all, Miss America wore a polka dot bathing suit in 1926 and Minnie Mouse debuted her iconic polka dot dress in 1928.


Sofia Loren is a lifelong fan of polka dots.


The 1980s were a heyday for dots. Bill Blass, Yves Saint Laurent, Victor Costa, Ungaro, and others splashed dots over everything from raincoats to pouf dresses with glorious results. The decade closed out with one of cinema’s most memorable dresses, the chocolate brown and cream polka dot dress with complementary hat and gloves worn by Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. The ultimate 80s icon, Princess Diana loved dots. The Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex have both been spotted in dots in this summer.


Julia Roberts in a still from Pretty Woman.


Our love of dots could also have to do with the idea that rounded shapes inspire feelings of safety and positivity while sharp angles have an edge of danger. This comes from designer and author Ingrid Fetell Lee’s book, Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things. A polka dot dress is wonderful choice for date night or ladies’ brunch. Dots pack a graphic punch that lends itself nicely to art events like gallery walks and auctions. Of course, no vacation is complete without a seaside photo snapped of a dotted sundress or bikini. Dots are timeless, even when they are having a moment, like now.


Tabitha Brown’s sold-out collection at Target included a polka dot story.


Whether it’s the shape or the nostalgia for a favorite character or scene in a movie, polka dots are happy, and happiness is always welcome. Wishing you an August filled with good cheer and plenty of polka dots.