Blouse Patterns: Polka Dots

Figure 1.--This boy in a portrait taken about 1890 wears a polka-dot blouse with large collar and cuffs. Note that the dots appear to be two different colors.

A polka dot is a dot or round spot repeated to form patter, especially on a textile fabric. Polka dots appear to have been an American creation. The first use of the term appears in America about 1880-85. HBC has noted some polka-dot blouses in various portraits in the late 19th century. I'm not sure how common the were. Presumably they were white shirts with colored dots, perhaps some pastels shirts also came with polka dots. The dots were various sizes. I'm not so sure what colors the dots came in. Some blouses apparently had more than one color of dots. I have noted the polka-dots in the 1980s and 90s, but am not sure about the precise chronology. Interestingly this appears tobe one of the few times that boys have worn polka dots. I'm not sure at this time just what the conventions were for the polka-dot blouses.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: May 19, 2001
Last updated: May 19, 2001