50s dress

The 1950s

The 1950s was the polka dot's biggest decade. Everyone from moviestars to housewives dressed up in dots, and the polka dot pattern has been often associated with the 1950s ever since. Because the decade was an innocent, carefree, prosperous one in American history, the polka dot carries connotations of innocence, happiness and properity also.

50s shoes
70s dress

The 1970s

The 1970s were a chaotic decade, and that chaos spilled into the fashion world. Designers drew ideas from previous decades and combined them in new ways to create an amalgamated 1970s style. The polka dot piece pictured at right combines a 1950s neckline, a 1960s pantleg and a polka dot pattern to create a 1970s jumpsuit.

70s jumpsuit
80s purse

The 1980s

Like the 1950s, the 1980s were optimistic years. Fashion designers incorporated the decade's optimism into their designs by calling upon the standard happy pattern, the polka dot. Whereas the 1950s were the decade of polka dot formal wear, the 1980s were the decade of polka dot accessories. Economic growth fueled consumer confidence, the fashion industry boomed, and there were more polka dot fashions to be found on the shelves and on the streets than ever before.

80s scarf