A Mysterious History

Polka dots appear on everything from bikinis to bags in shades from bold to pastel and sizes from large to small. But from where did these dainty dots come? Although fashion designers and fashion fanatics have appreciated the polka dot for years, the design's origin is unclear. In liu of a definitive historical explaination, here are three possible polka dot origins proposed in jest.

The Polka

The Itsy-Bitsy-Teeny-Weeny

Miss Minnie Mouse

polka bikini minnie

Scenario One

When Eastern European immigrants arrived in America with their accordians and their ethnic "old time" music, the American population was inspired to dance. Polka performers such as Viola Turpeinen and Frankie Yankovic dazzled audiences with their upbeat musical stylings and the polka was established as a pleasurable American pastime. With the advent of the polka craze came the demand for polka-like garb. A happy, bouncing pattern that imitated the polka's upbeat tempo was proposed, and the polka dot was born.

Scenario Two

The yellow bikini was unhappy. Although it was entirely more stylish than the staunch, one-piece bathing suit, its simple color and design left no room for self-expression and creativity. Frustrated and bored the yellow bikini decided to make a change. With the advice of a few friends and the help of a felt-tipped black marker, the yellow bathing suit opted for black circles, and the itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny polka dot was born.

Scenario Three

The Polka Dot was Walt Disney's brainchild. Faced with a design challenge of momentous proportions, the attire of Minnie Mouse, Walt Disney knew he had to come up big. After consulting various fashion catalogues and discussing the issue with his personal talor, Disney decided to innovate. Stripes, plaid, and argyle were out; they had all been done. When an ink blot fell from Disneys pen onto Minnie's skirt, Walt's problem was solved and the polka dot was born.