With feminism on everyone’s mind (yep, down the back, that includes you boys) can we still embrace feminity? With pinks, pastels and polka dots ruling the runway, where do we stand in the fight for equality?
Polka dots have a past, we can’t deny it. Their cinematic debut in 1928 was pioneered by none other than Minnie Mouse and while Disney brings with it its own questions about gender equality, it is the 1950’s polka dots that cause me the most trouble. The 50’s were a time of gender conformity and when we don the polka dot are we transporting ourselves back in time? When we wear the polka dot are we emulating the 1950’s ‘American Dream’ and the post-war ideal of the ‘perfect wife’? Or are we just taking a trend into the 21st century and making it our own?
In 1951 Marilyn Monroe wore a polka dot bikini to the beach (a decade before Brian Hyland released the iconic song.) So yes, there was another avenue for the polka dot, one torn away from the kitchen sink but perhaps not exactly where it needed to be. While Monroe has become the subject of numerous feminist debates, her polka dot wearing does not solve my problem.
Can I wear polka dots and be a feminist? Can we, modern, empowered, women, reclaim the trend?
I mean yes, surely. If one of the goals of feminism is to stop shaming women for what they chose to wear then that movement must be inclusive of all clothing. If I campaign for women to wear short skirts and not be the victim of sexual harassment then surely I must embrace frills and polka dots without casting judgment.
Zooey Deschanel famously argued that she can be a feminist and wear a Peter Pan collar and perhaps the same can be said of polka dots.
Well, I’m taking the plunge. I’m not wearing polka dot to fit into any man’s dream, American or otherwise and while my yellow polka dot bikini may continue to be the victim of the male gaze, at least I know I’m wearing this trend because I love it!
As mentioned above, the polka dot is an incredibly feminine print. It is often seen alongside ribbons and bows. This bodysuit from Zara is no exception to the rule and ties into a girly bow at the shoulders.
I’ve themed the polka dots with distressed, patchwork denim. The loose fit of the jeans adds contrast and gives the outfit edge.
The bodysuit is navy and white so I decided to put a bold orange shoe to finish the look. The colour block makes the outfit stand out and the heel dresses up the denim.
The bodysuit is in the sale for €5.99 and you can purchase it online here.
The jeans are from Karen Millen but unfortunately are last season. A very similar style can be found in River Island. They are €33 in the sale and you can purchase them here.
My shoes can be purchased in red for €160 from Karen Millen here.