We love our polka dot loving ladies of Old Hollywood. In fact, we could probably fill an entire Pinterest board with all the amazing polka dot styles rocked by icons such as Ava Gardner, Sophia Lauren, Greta Garbo, and of course the unstoppable Bettie Page. As we drool over photos of their amazing vintage wardrobes, we can also take away some timeless fashion lessons from these gals.
If you’re trying to emulate the Hollywood stars of a certain era, take a close look at the size of the polka dots. Bigger and rounder dots are associated with the 1950s: Katherine Hepburn and Natalie Wood were two starlets that were photographed in ultra-feminine dresses with large dots and oversized skirts. Stars with larger than life personalities were big fans of the ultra glam style.
The 1960s saw stars use polka dots to create more mod fashions. Polka dots were smaller and paired with ruffled collars and empire-waist skirts. Shift dresses with polka dots became popular with the stylish likes of Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy. In later decades, Hollywood stars enjoyed large and small polka dot styles either arranged haphazardly or ordered neatly.
These style rules still hold true today. There are no limitations on what kind of dots you can find on the webpages of your favorite online retail store. However, keep in mind that sometimes less is more. For instance, smaller dots are a better choice for a classy brunch with the ladies while larger dots are a great way to accentuate your curves when heading out to the club for the night.
The teenie weenie polka dot bikini was so inspirational that there was a song created in its honor back in 1960. A halter-top polka dot bikini in a bold color such as yellow, red and green, for instance, is a timeless piece to add to your wardrobe.
Plus, a high-waisted bottom to the bikini can provide you with more coverage if you’re feeling particularly modest. If bikinis aren’t your bag, women of all shapes and sizes look jaw-dropping in a one-piece polka dot swimsuit.
Back in the 1950s and 1960s, designers like Yves Saint Laurent found a way to express their love for polka dots by releasing a slew of belts, scarves, gloves, and handbags. Starlets such as Jane Fonda and Elizabeth Taylor looked particularly glam when tying back their tresses with a polka dot headscarf. Modern girls can hide a bad hair day with a polka dot scarf or create a more understated look by using a polka dot headband.
Although it sounds close to impossible, there are ways you can overboard with polka dots. A head to toe polka dot ensemble may not always work style-wise. A solid print can be a girl’s best friend when wearing polka dots. For instance, Greta Garbo toned down her polka dot blouses with solid white jackets while Betty Grable was often photographed with polka dot tops, solid shorts, and a fun oversized hat.
Most of all, vintage polka dot Betties were bold and not afraid to take fashion risks. See a pair of polka dot jeans that are to die for? Want to pair a polka dot tank with an animal-print skirt? Why not? You don’t become a fashion trailblazer by dressing uninspired.
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