Backstage at the Goldstein: Polka Dots

Readers,

Polka dot sophistication.

Polka dot sophistication. (photo: Goldstein Museum of Design)

Image consultant Brenda Kinsel asked a question on her Facebook page May 24 that caught my eye:

I’m reading the book Wear This Now. In their list of ten things to toss now, #2 is “Anything with polka dots. Even if they come back in season briefly, they never last, and more often than not, you end up looking like a five-year-old in them.”

Agree or disagree? Or strongly disagree?

Lots of comments followed, many strongly favoring polka dots.

(photo: Goldstein Museum of Design)

(photo: Goldstein Museum of Design)

Me? I love polka dots. But there’s much more to polka dots than the dots. How about

  • the size of the dots and the spacing between them
  • the colors of the dots and of the background
  • the amount of color contrast
  • the texture and drape of the fabric
  • the combination of dots with other patterned or plain fabrics
  • the silhouettes of the garments

    (photo: Goldstein Museum of Design)

    (photo: Goldstein Museum of Design)

Pondering the many facets of using polka dots, what did I find in the Goldstein Museum of Design office on my latest volunteer work assignment but a rack of polka-dotted garments, perhaps pulled for student research.

Some of the garments read awfully busy and trendy to my eye. But one polka-dotted dress on the rack stood out from all the rest in its timelessness and sophistication.

Here’s the description of item number 1997.023.056a:

Short Dress and Bubble Capelet In Sheer Pink Fabric Printed With Large Forest Green Polka Dots Over Pink Linen. Dress Is Sleeveless and Has Princess Seaming In The Bodice and A Gathered Knee-Length Skirt. Back Has Two Emerald Green Velvet Bows Placed At The Waistline and Neck Snap Closures. Bodice Has Open Keyhole Back.

(photo: Goldstein Museum of Design)

(photo: Goldstein Museum of Design)

This dress by Jane Derby is dated between 1958 and 1962.

Polka dots: fresh and forever.

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2 thoughts on “Backstage at the Goldstein: Polka Dots

  1. My take on polka dots is either you love them, as I do, or you intensely dislike them, even if they are trending right now or you are indifferent and follow trends and probably don’t have a sense of your own style anyway. I love them, I think they are classic, a bit unpretentious and fun, Just Plain FUN!!!

  2. I love polka dots. They can be fun, loud, sophisticated and elegant. And the fact that they keep reappearing in fashion suggests they are indeed “classic”.

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