My method is hardly scientific, but after several weeks of exploring this subject, I can safely conclude the following:
It is going to be another polka-dotted spring.
First, I saw a cotton hoodie sweater covered in multicolored dots on the cover of a catalog.
Then I saw a child's dotted sun dress hanging on a rack at Lord & Taylor.
Then I saw the utterly charming "Birthday Pattern" collection of dishes and serving pieces at Wegman's, just jumping with polka dots in pink, turquoise, blue and orange.
The handle of the cake server and ice cream scoop had polka dots. The runner and cloth napkins had polka dots. The border of the charger plate, cake plate and ice cream bowls had polka dots.
My heart started pumping. I love polka dots. Though tempted, I did not buy any of them.
Not that polka dots are new to springtime. Dots -- particularly small ones -- have long been part of the spectator or nautical looks in fashion, in navy-and-white or black-and-white.
They are prime candidates for anything preppy -- from watch bands to coat linings to purse covers.
And a polka-dotted silk scarf has always been an easy way to transition into spring.
But I love polka dots for the home, too, and I'm not talking dainty ones.
In the past year I have bought white sheets with big pink polka dots on them. I also could not resist a white lamp with pink dots on the ceramic base that I spotted in a catalog at a greatly reduced price. How a polka dot item this cute could ever end up on clearance is beyond me.
Granted these were for our young daughter's room, but just pulling those delightful, dotted sheets from the dryer makes doing laundry a tad more fun.
"Here, I thought you might like these," a friend told me recently, pulling a torn-out catalog page from her purse.
She was referring, of course, to the set of black and white polka dot plates and matching mugs, and she was right! (I did not buy these, either, nor did my friend offer to buy them for me.)
I'm not alone. Designer Kate Spade puts polka dots on everything from beach towels to wine decanters.
Bialetti designs blue, yellow or pink fry pans with big polka dots on the bottoms of them.
You also see dots in various sizes and configurations on bowls, plates, luggage, wrapping paper, shower curtains, bath accessories, laptop bags, spiral notebooks, picture frames, cocktail shakers, and more.
And what child or teen wouldn't love to apply to her bedroom walls colorful polka dot "Wallies" -- those prepasted, vinyl-coated wallpaper cutouts that have become so popular.
I have read that the polka dot craze taps into other recent trends -- namely the resurgence of preppy and feminine fashions as well as the appeal of retro things made contemporary.
And while polka dots are nothing new -- I grew up eating off of dotted place mats and once bought my mother a bright green canvas bag and matching floppy hat which she actually wore from time to time -- I will never tire of them.
In a serious world, they offer whimsy and charm. And there's nothing dotty about that.