Polka dot, one of a number of round dots repeated to form a regular pattern on fabric(s), has a special place not only in our wardrobe but in our memory too.
Polka dot, one of a number of round dots repeated to form a regular pattern on fabric(s), has a special place not only in our wardrobe but in our memory too. As a child, we saw it beautifully spattered across Disney’s darling Minnie Mouse’s red dress and matching bow; as a teen, we heard it in Sinatra’s ballad Polka Dots and Moonbeams; as a young feminist in Rosie the Riveter’s red headgear and as a fashionista took tips from polka dot’s chief exponents: Elizabeth Taylor, Lucille Ball and Marilyn Monroe. As the polka craze sweeps runways across the continent, experts share that this year, far from being itsy bitsy, these dots are big and bold.
“Traditional polka dots used to typically turn up on fun and quirky items of clothing, like bikinis or lingerie and summer dresses. But this season, they’re a new and far more interesting sartorial breed. Now these spots are huge, they’re colourful, wonky and they are meandering across bright fabrics. They are dancing on evening dresses that prove the new power of black and white together as well as appearing brightly on clothes around town in all manner of dots: pin dots, coin dots, large dots, extra-large dots,” says designer Rajdeep Ranawat about the freshest runway takes. He continues, “The modern polka is not a perfect repeat print, rather it is an asymmetric repeat which is more of a random placement with various sizes in the same print which makes them cooler than ever. In India, designers are embracing the pattern in bridal lehengas including saris by marrying harmonious modern-traditional outlines.”
Today, polka dots inevitably conjure the past, says designer Anuradha Ramam. She avers, “There’s definitely a nostalgia associated with polka dots. I think of the ’50s and ’60s. But if last fashion cycle was all about ‘ditching the dots’ in favour of gingham, this season a dose of fickleness every now and then is all you need. Wobbly polka dots are in and are used on clothes that are knotted or tied haphazardly or as asymmetric panels of colour. You can even opt for polka dots doubled as flowers. That’s two trends for the price of one. Oversized 3D polka dots recur on everything from backpacks to buttons and they’re worth a try.”
About various other options that one could go for, Indian American designer Tina Tandon shares, “For a casual take on the trend, try a comfy polka patterned T-shirt and team it up with a pair of peg-leg black trousers for the office, or tuck into a pair of denim shorts for outings. Also a smart button-down shirt in the pattern is a classic and androgynous option. A classic tea dress is a sweet alternative with a cute pussy-bow neck, flattering cap sleeves and a neat belt to give extra shape. As for textures and silhouettes: cleaner lines, angled cuts, kimono-style silhouettes or oversized tunics are in. However, if you prefer to pay lip service with just the merest hint of the trend, get your hands on a polka dotted summer scarf.”
Talking about tones and hues, she says, “Go for midnight blues, earthy browns, beige and burnt oranges as they are trending big this season.”