×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Crazy for Polka Dots: Minnie Mouse’s Evolving Style

Over the years Minnie Mouse has transformed from sassy flapper girl to sweet style icon.

Known for her bright bows and polka dots, Mickey’s forever gal has inspired major fashion designers to create their own line of Minnie-inspired frocks over the past decade. And she continues to update her look — and gain new outfits — as Disney creates new adventures for her across the media landscape.

“I always tell people that she’s as much an actress as Meryl Streep,” says animator Rob LaDuca, executive producer of “Mickey and the Roadster Racers,” in its first season on Disney Channel and Disney Junior. “Like any other actress, she’s given a part to play and wears an outfit for that character.”

On “Mickey and the Roadster Races,” for example, Minnie has an everyday outfit of a pink dress with polka dots — a traditional look for the famous toon character — plus a garage outfit and racing duds.

“Like everything else, fashion changes,” says LaDuca, who began drawing Mickey and Minnie as a boy in his family’s Gramercy Park Italian restaurant, and doing so professionally for “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” a decade ago.

When he was a kid, part of those characters’ appeal was how easy it was to draw them — all those circles! — but nowadays he appreciates how sweet and helpful Minnie is.

The toon character, who is getting her star Jan. 22 on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, first appeared on the big screen with Mickey in the seminal 1928 short “Steamboat Willie,” wearing a polka dot outfit with a flower-pot hat. Befitting the era, she evoked flappers from the Roaring Twenties.

She soon got a bow, which has been a mainstay through the decades, and her character became a bit less sassy than she was at the outset. Her outfits have evolved, too: During the 1960s, for example, she wore a sporty hat and coat with a dash of red lipstick. 

But polka dots have always been a staple of her wardrobe — prominent not only on her onscreen outfits but licensed merchandise Disney sells around the world. It’s no coincidence Minnie will receive her star on National Polka Dot Day.

“Polka dots have always been a key characteristic of Minnie’s image, along with her bow and signature black, red and white color palette,” says Josh Silverman, executive VP, global licensing, Disney Consumer Products. “She has sported polka dots since her debut in 1928 and helped to make the iconic print a noteworthy fashion trend.”

Marc Jacobs, Anna Sui and Comme des Garcons are among the designers that have created Minnie wear during the past decade.

“The look of Minnie is so graphic and iconic that people want to play with it and interpret it themselves,” LaDuca says.   

He credits long-time Minnie voice actress Russi Taylor with helping to bring the character to life and inspire animators.

“She really embodies Minnie,” he says. “She’s a gem.”

More Film

  • I Lost My Body

    Netflix Pickup ‘I Lost My Body,’ ‘Buñuel,’ ‘Away’ Top Annecy Festival

    ANNECY, France  — Fulfilling expectations, Jeremy Clapin’s “I Lost My Body, the subject of one of the highest-profile Netflix deals at this year’s Cannes, won this Saturday the Annecy Festival’s top Cristal Award of best feature plus, in a relatively rare Annecy double whammy, the festival’s Audience Award. The first was expected, the second a [...]

  • 'Fausto' Review: Andrea Bussmann's Beautuful, Inscrutable

    Locarno in Los Angeles Film Review: 'Fausto'

    In more ways than one, “Fausto” is a film that likes to keep its audience in the dark: The bulk of its imagery is thickly cloaked in velvety night, often barely illuminated but for pinpricks of moonlight or a flickering candle, sometimes to the point where viewers must strain and squint to identify what they’re [...]

  • Toy Story 4

    The 15 Best Films of 2019 (So Far)

    By now, audiences have caught on to the way American distributors tend to stockpile their quality movies for end-of-year award-season release, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t treasures to be found in the first two quarters. In fact, sometimes it’s the movies that aren’t making a self-important Oscar push that wind up hitting closest to [...]

  • Chris Hemsworth (H) with Em (Tessa

    'Men In Black: International' Taking in $26 Million Amid Franchise Fatigue

    North American moviegoers spurned sequels this weekend with Sony’s “Men in Black: International” heading for a modest $26 million debut while “Shaft” will finish with a dismal $7.3 million in seventh place. “Men in Black: International,” the fourth iteration of the sci-fi comedy franchise, is performing under expectations, which had been in the $30 million [...]

  • Night scenery of the Bund in

    Shanghai Festival Defies Gloom to Open on Upbeat Note

    The Chinese film industry may not yet have emerged from a “cold winter” production freeze, nor its box office kept pace with 2018. But but those inclement elements did not put a chill on the pageantry at the Shanghai International Film Festival. The opening ceremony for the festival’s 22nd edition went ahead Saturday with the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content