Here at iChoose, it’s kind of our job to keep an eye out for glasses trends. We don’t know if you’ve noticed, but polka dots have made a comeback, which is pretty convenient given our polka dot glasses sides collection. In honour of the iconic pattern, we thought we’d delve into its history a bit and find out where the obsession for polka dots came from, and why we’re still so in love with them after all this time.
Following the European ‘polka’ dance craze, the first recorded use of term ‘polka dot’ in any kind of sartorial sense was in reference to a scarf in the 1857 issue of a magazine called ‘Godey’s Lady’s Book’. However, it was during the 1920s when our love affair with polka dots really began, as Miss America introduced it to the world for the swimsuit portion of the pageant. She wasn’t the only polka dot pioneer either – Disney’s Minnie Mouse first appeared in 1928 drenched in polka dots, which quickly helped the pattern become a pop-culture hit.
Pictured: Bedford Red and Spot Me Purple
In the spring of 1940, polka dots had become so popular that the Los Angeles Times wrote: "You can sign your fashion life away on the polka-dotted line, and you'll never regret it.” It seems the words were taken to heart by Hollywood royalty throughout the following decade, with noted ambassadors Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor famously donning the dot on a number of occasions. And of course, there’s no forgetting Marilyn Monroe’s historic polka dot bikini shoot.
When fashion designer Christian Dior used the print in his New Look collection, Vogue described it as a “direct, unblushing plan to make women extravagantly, romantically, eyelash-battingly female”. The dress went on to become his best selling piece in 1954.
Skip ahead a few decades and polka dots became one of the many fashion fads of the 1980s, with the help of one of the most popular and daring stars of the time, Madonna. She showed us exactly how versatile the print can be – in contrast to the feminine aesthetics of polka dots held previously, here they were paired with the boldest of colours and styles, and blended with gothic lace tights, choker necklaces and dark eyeliner to create a completely new style. After all, ‘80s fashion was all about excess and experimentation!
However, in 1990, Julia Roberts was on hand to show us that polka dots hadn’t lost their fun and flirty nature. Her lead role as Vivian in Pretty Woman saw her adorn a brown polka dot dress for the famous polo match scene. So memorable an ensemble it was that high fashion and high street retailers alike are still taking inspiration from it today.
Fast forward to the 21st century, and the pattern is still dotted about on catwalks across the globe, with the surprisingly versatile print being reimagined and reconfigured, as shown by fashion front-runners Balenciaga and Armani. Most memorable is Louis Vuitton’s collaboration with artist Yayoi Kusama in 2012, which was a singular exercise in stunning excess. Every item in the collection featured Kusama’s signature bold spots, from dresses to polka dot accessories like hand bags and purses.
Although the print found its home in traditionally feminine clothing ranges, it also came to prominence in the era of post-war American prosperity, so it’s popular in vintage men’s collections too. Particularly when it comes to quirky accessories, in both casual and formal settings, polka dots in menswear remain mostly limited to small, measured use on items like scarfs, ties, socks, and pocket squares.
We’ve seen the likes of Brooklyn Beckham and Harry Styles in polka dot shirts, but most male celebrities opt for something less daring, as demonstrated by Justin Bieber’s GQ cover shoot where he wore a polka dot tie, and a paparazzi shot of Daniel Craig signing autographs wearing a red polka dot scarf.
Accessorising with polka dot prints is an easy way to tastefully integrate them into your outfit – that is if you don’t feel like going completely dotty and wearing a polka dot printed outfit, like the Duchess of Cambridge has often done. Rachel Weiz and Kourtney Kardashian have even attended formal events wearing polka dot trouser suits – which were a huge hit with fashion editors, we must add!
Bags, shoes, and purses are, of course, great options, but how about polka dot glasses? With just a quick glance at designer collections we can see a selection of polka dot covered glasses. It’s no wonder Marc Jacobs found space for the print in some of his signature sunglasses. As he quite rightly (if we may say so ourselves) suggested: “there’s never a wrong time for a polka dot”.
Pictured: Berkeley Brown and Spot Me Red
But don’t worry – you don’t have to opt for glasses with an eye-watering price tag. Our iChoose bundles start at £60 and come with a complete pair of glasses, plus a free pair of interchangeable sides, allowing to you click and change your look as you please. Available in black, white, red, pink, and purple, how about customising your glasses with our polka dot sides – a timeless classic that doesn’t look like it’s going out of style any time soon!