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Monday, September 13, 2010

All Hail the Mighty Dot (Sept. 13, 2010)

Ok, are you feeling happier now? I am! Do not tell me that polka dots are not cheerful. I won’t have it. I love this pattern! As always, I must pinpoint why I love something. It’s not that I have to be scientific about my preferences, but haven’t you noticed that things you like make you FEEL a certain way? So it’s no coincidence. We like what we like, yes, but WHY?

Polka dots are simply fun. This idea floated to the surface for me relatively recently. I’ve been attracted to polka dots for a while, but lately I’ve been thinking about them more. Here are some thoughts:

· This pattern is playful. Occasionally you see them in a more formal context but for the most part, they have a whimsical vibe. For me, fashion should be fun, not serious.

· Usually either the dot or the background is a happy color. You haven’t seen a lot of gray dots, right? And I love happy colors: red, pink, yellow, etc. Bright colors cheer us up.

· I recently noticed that polka dots are often used in little girls’ clothing, which is inherently much more fun than grown-up clothing (which generally believes it needs to be serious). Why do kids get all the fun? Maybe grown-ups would be happier if they had more FUN clothing!

· Perhaps I associate dots with fun because of memories from my childhood, when I wasn’t consciously studying things. Perhaps it is the images from those years that make associations so strong. For instance, Minnie Mouse wears a red dress with polka dots, and her character brings up happy thoughts. She’s cheerful. Disneyland is a happy place. And I know that some people hate clowns, but clowns have fun outfits, often polka-dotted. You get the picture.

· Could my appreciation involve associations with 1950s and 60s design? Polka dots were big then, and I do like midcentury design for its playfulness.

I did a little research on why we call this pattern the Polka Dot. Some sources claim that the name comes from the mid to late-1800s, when Polka music and dancing were invented. Polka dancers sometimes wore clothing that had dots on it, and the name stuck. Another site says that there was no connection between Polka music and dotted fabric. It may not matter, really, because the dot is here to stay. So thank you, whoever you are, for giving us dots!

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