The dolly and dotty look is one of the most iconic vintage fashion times, often referred to as ‘retro’. The look was originally popular in the 1970’s and 1980’s, but it has come back in recent years. Making up a large part of the fashion history of the era and as a symbol of old school living. In this article, we will be discussing the fashion and history behind this trend.
What is Dolly & Dotty Fashion?
First created by the Mary Quant fashion designer in 1967, it was originally worn by models to appear more ‘slim’ on magazine pages. The look was later popularized by the late 1960s, when the style was even considered the ‘look of the decade’, for a period of time. The look was mainly based on the concept of mixing and matching different colors and patterns. The Dolly & Dotty look used flower prints, polka dots, rose prints, geometric shapes, and stripes to create an overall image. With so many different styles to choose from.
The dolly and dotty look was considered a very popular style during the period in which it was worn. The look was popularized by other models and celebrities during the 1970’s. The dressing of the dolls was also accompanied by a pop music movement during the period. Especially within the punk rock subculture as well as glam metal. The dolly and dotty fashion look consists of a close-fitting blouse, often with a velvet or polka dot pattern, along with a bias cut skirt and fitted bodice. Today the look often includes a polka dot pattern of some sort and more vintage clothing design.
Polka Dot Vintage Dress
When thinking about vintage clothing, feminine dresses are often thought to be the main style choices. This is true for the dolly and dotty look too. The feminine dresses were often made with bias-cut and a fitted bodice, along with a flowing skirt. Matching prints were also very popular during the time, as well as statement necklines. Sometimes the dress itself has its own design and material too. These were often made out of velvet, satin, silk, or cotton, and other fabrics. Below we have picked out some vintage polka dot dresses, which are all perfect for the dolly and dotty look.
The first dolly dress is a 1950’s Audrey Hepburn dress. Designed with a vintage swing dress style and a polka dot pattern, this is the dress of choice for those wanting to dress as a 1950’s dolly look. Made with a short sleeve, a pleated skirt, and a bow for extra detail. This is the perfect style for those looking to dress up a bit more as less. The second dolly dress is one of the most popular styles from over the past fifty years. An absolute must-have if you want to recreate the era, and style from when it was popular. A polka dot pattern on a vintage cocktail dress, with a black detailed finish. This Helter dress is the look that we all think of when we think about dolly and dotty style. The final dress in our selection is another one from the 1950’s. A classical red and white polka dot dress with a flared skirt. Perfect for both parties and everyday wear. Make a with lolita fashion look in mind, this vintage dress is a must-have when recreating the dolly and dotty style.
Polka Dot Skirt
A vintage skirt is another essential part of the dolly and dotty look, which is perfect for the retro fashion look. During the dolly and dotty look, the skirt was often made out of a material such as cotton or wool along with a straight-shaped and flowing fit. Some of them were made to resemble retro school uniforms, while others had their own unique designs. Again with an overlay of patterns, these colorful vintage skirts were perfect for showing off those feminine curves. Below we have picked out a few vintage school skirts along with some other midi skirts for you to choose from.
The first skirt is a long vintage midi skirt. Available in multiple polka dot colors, this is the perfect choice for the dolly and dotty look. The colors are a great way to add a pop of color to an overall look. This midi skirt comes with a bowed belt created a smocked waist look. A perfect vintage style for everyday wear and for an elegant location. Next, we have a ruffle boho mini skirt. Made with a seam along the center of the skirt, this is perfect for those with a retro fashion look for everyday wear. Designed with an elastic waist, the skirt is comfortable to wear for any warm weather. Lastly, we have a more classical skirt with a pleated vintage design. With a pocket on the front of the skirt, the skirt is perfect for those who want to recreate that school girl look from this era.
Polka Dot Shirt
A quality polka dot shirt is another great part of the dolly and dotty look. These shirts were often worn during the 1970’s and 1980’s with high waist skirts, along with other feminine apparel. The beautiful splash of color on these polka dot shirts made them perfect with complementing colors on prints and patterns. Today, with the vintage high-waisted skirts back in style, the tucked-in tops are also making a comeback. Below we have picked out some original dolly and dotty shirts.
When it comes to styling a shirt over a polka dot skirt, a thin layered and tucked-in top is key. The first shirt is a retro blouse top. Make with a buttoned-down center and a short sleeve top, the blouse comes with several different colors to choose from. The second polka dot shirt is a simple yet effecting dotty look. A vintage button-down full-sleeved blouse, this is the perfect shirt to wear every day. Made with a V neck and heat polka dots it is a more modern take on the classical vintage shirt. Lastly, we have the Cuffed chiffon blouse. A polka dot patterned shirt that is made with a longer sleeve. Perfect for those who want to dress as a dolly and dotty look on a warmer day.