POLKA DOTS

THISDAY Style - - CONTENT -

The polka dot may be a strong fea­ture of dresses, suits, un­der­wear all the way to bed­sheets and numer­ous other prod­ucts. But as pat­terns go, this print hasn’t been around for that long. The eye-pop­ping pat­tern gets its name from the polka mu­sic craze that en­gulfed Europe in the mid-1800s.

THEY’RE NOT CALLED POLKA DOTS EV­ERY­WHERE.

In Ger­many, they’re Thaler­tupfen, af­ter the sil­ver coin called a Thaler, used as cur­rency through­out Europe un­til the 1800s. In Span­ish, the term is lunares, or lit­tle moons (also the word for moles). In French, clothes are à pois, or marked with peas. The English term comes from the mass pop­u­lar­ity of polka mu­sic in Europe and the U.S. in the 19th cen­tury.

IT’S UN­CLEAR WHAT DOTS HAVE TO DO WITH POLKA.

The con­nec­tion be­tween the dance and the pat­terns on all that spot­ted merch is murky at best. Pos­si­bly the spot­ted pat­tern evoked the lively half-step of the dance. It’s also un­clear whether mar­keters in­tended all those polka hats, vests, and shoes as dancewear, or if call­ing some­thing ‘polka’ just made a prod­uct seem more cheer­ful.

POLKA-DOT FASH­ION WASN’T POS­SI­BLE IN THE PRE-IN­DUS­TRIAL ERA.

Dot­ted pat­terns didn’t be­come pop­u­lar un­til there were ma­chines that could make them per­fectly spaced. In Medieval Europe, ir­reg­u­lar spots on fab­rics would have re­minded peo­ple of skin blem­ishes and of the blood-spot­ted hand­ker­chiefs.

THERE’S A BAT­MAN VIL­LAIN WHO LOVED POLKA DOTS.

Mis­ter Polka-Dot, a char­ac­ter who first ap­peared in a Fe­bru­ary 1962 comic, wore a skin-tight cos­tume cov­ered in colour­ful polka dots that would swell up to cre­ate deadly weapons at the push of a but­ton. He used a get­away car called the Fly­ing Polka Dot.

ARTISTS HAVE MADE CA­REERS OUT OF POLKA DOTS.

Chuck Close an artist who cre­ates pho­to­re­al­is­tic por­traits out of pix­e­lated dots dis­cov­ered about 150 dots be­ing the min­i­mum num­ber of dots to make a spe­cific rec­og­niz­able de­sign.

THERE’S A NAME FOR THE FIVE-DOT PAT­TERN ON A DIE.

It’s called a quin­cunx, or in French, quin­conce. The term comes from a pat­tern on Ro­man coins.

POLKA DOTS MADE FRANK SI­NA­TRA FA­MOUS.

His first hit, recorded with jazz mu­si­cian Tommy Dorsey in 1940, was a song called “Polka Dots and Moon­beams.”

CHIOMA IKOKWU ZAINAB BALOGUN NWACHUKWU OZINNA CHINKATA

IFE DORGU CHIMAMANDA ADICHIE

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