Spotty. Dotty. Polka Dots. Ruby Shoo is mad for them. From Plague to Pretty... a history

Ruby Shoo Hannah Tortola Red Spot

Ruby Shoo are dotty about polka dots!  They have featured in nearly every collection since the brand began.  


A few interesting facts I have found out 

Polka dots were once associated with the plague, disease and being unclean!  It wasn't until the industrial revolution that the machinery was developed to space the spots evenly.  Uneven dots were judged as a sign of disease... so this would not have been something we would have wanted on our shoes!

Other cultures have revered spots and dots for centuries.  Dots in a specific formation called çintamani crop up frequently in Buddhist, Hindu, and Islamic design and practically served as the logo of the Ottoman empire in the late-16th to early-17th centuries.  Aborigine art often features dots.

The English term polka dot comes from the craze for the Czech peasant dance and music that swept east to west from Europe around 1850.  

Polka dots go hand in hand with flamenco dresses and historically have been used on the ruffled designs since the same time.

Frank Sinatra released a song called “Polka Dots and Moonbeams” in the ’40s and the Mad Max era into the 1950s had polka dots in spades. Marilyn Monroe was a huge fan of a dot.  They have a nod to playful girlie-ness with a feminine, sexy edge.  How could Marilyn NOT have worn them!

Princess Diana in the 1980s and Julia Roberts in THAT brown dress at the Polo in Pretty Woman kept up the polka prominence!

As a girl in the 1980s I had so many spotty dresses.  I also had a white bikini with multi-coloured spots. I always think of that when I hear the Timmy Mallet song (if you know, you know!)

So Ruby Shoo is not the inventor of the polka dot by any stretch of the imagination.  But they have brought them to footwear in a way no brand has previously done.  The two key colours they tend to love a spot in is navy and white and red and white.  Both of these look so crisp and fresh, pretty, playful, they epitomise the brand.

I am dotty about dots.  I love how they can be teamed with jeans for a fun look, the Minnie Mouse- Marilyn Monroe connotations, the way they liven up an outfit.  So thankyou Industrial Revolution... without you my feet would have nowhere near as much fun!

Ruby Shoo Issy Red SpotRuby Shoo Issy and Milan in Red Spot

Ruby Shoo Trixie and Riva Navy and White Polka Dot

Ruby Shoo Trixie and Riva in Navy Spot

Ruby Shoo Trixie & Riva Cream Spot

 Ruby Shoo Trixie and Riva in Cream Spot

Ruby Shoo Hayley and Santiago in Red & White Spot

Ruby Shoo Hayley and Santiago in Red & White Spot

Ruby Shoo Evie Wedges in Navy & White Spot

Ruby Shoo Evie Wedges in Navy & White Spot