National Polka Dot Day

Young woman wearing a polka dot dress, retro fashion, dancing in a lively outdoor park..
National polka dot day illustration

Get ready to rummage your wardrobe and bring out all things spotty‐because guess what? It’s National Polka Dot Day! Yes, you heard it right. There's an entire day devoted to celebrating the scintillating splotch-filled pattern that has bewitched many since time immemorial.

When is Polka Dot Day?

It's national polka dot day on the 22nd January.

A Brief History

When you think of polka dots, the nostalgic memories of Minnie Mouse or the flamboyant fashion of the 1950s may probably cross your mind. The history of National Polka Dot Day, though, began much recently. It all started when we noticed that every year, the mention of Polka Dot Day experienced a significant spike on the internet, with a record 2616 mentions in one day on January 22, 2017. It seems that the internet just couldn't get enough of these welcoming spots!

The Polka Dot Phenomenon

Abstract or consistent, small or large, polka dots have vivified countless outfits and accessories, adding a dash of innocent charm and vibrant energy. Benefiting from this versatile pattern, the fashion industry, through various designers and brands, has reinvigorated their collections with polka dot-themed creations time and again.

What to do on National Polka Dot Day?

To celebrate, all you need to do is embrace the spots! Wear your favorite polka dot outfit, bake a polka dot-themed cake, or even decorate your room with polka dot wallpaper. For a more communal experience, you can host a polka dot party, where everyone's expected to turn up in polka dot attire. It’s a day to acknowledge those endearing dots and to let the inner polka dot enthusiast come out in full force!

History behind the term 'Polka Dot'


The First Recorded Use of the Term Polka Dot

The term 'polka dot' was first recorded in 1857, appearing in a Massachusetts newspaper article to describe a patterned fabric. The polka dot pattern gained popularity alongside the polka dance, a lively Central European dance that was all the rage at the time. The term 'polka' was added to many words and phrases to capitalize on the dance's popularity, thus giving birth to the term 'polka dot,' referring specifically to a fabric or design featuring small, round dots evenly spaced on a contrasting background.


Polka Dots in Fashion

By 1873, polka dots had made their way into the world of fashion. Designer Joseph Fonde introduced a polka dot dress, which quickly gained attention and became a trend. The fashion industry recognized the playful and whimsical nature of polka dots, and they were soon featured in various clothing items, including dresses, blouses, and accessories. The pattern's popularity resonated with people, and polka dots became a timeless and iconic design element in fashion.


Polka Dots in Pop Culture

The 1920s witnessed the emergence of polka dots in pop culture. The polka dot pattern became associated with the vibrant and carefree spirit of the Roaring Twenties. Polka dot dresses were favored by flappers, who embraced the bold and unconventional fashion choices of the era. The pattern found its way into movies, advertisements, and even home decor, symbolizing a sense of modernity and excitement.


Polka Dots and Minnie Mouse

The 1940s marked a significant milestone for polka dots with the introduction of Minnie Mouse. Walt Disney's beloved character, Minnie Mouse, made her debut in 1928, but it was in the 1940s that she began sporting her signature polka dot dress. Minnie Mouse became an iconic figure, and her association with polka dots further solidified the pattern's presence in popular culture. The combination of Minnie's charm and the playful polka dot design further popularized the pattern among both children and adults.


Polka Dots' Resurgence

In the 1980s, polka dots experienced a resurgence in the fashion world. Fashion designers embraced the retro aesthetic, reintroducing polka dots into their collections. The pattern became a staple in 1980s fashion, adorning clothing, accessories, and even hairstyles. The bold and vibrant polka dot designs of this era symbolized fun and individuality. The resurgence of polka dots in the 1980s propelled the pattern back into the mainstream, reminding people of its timeless appeal.

Did you know?

Did you know that the word ‘polka’ itself doesn't have any connection with the polka dot pattern? The pattern got its name during the polka dance craze in the mid-1800s, though no one quite knows why.


fun remembrance fashion celebrate patterns

First identified

9th January 2016

Most mentioned on

22nd January 2017

Total mentions


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