How to: Tell if Clothing is Vintage

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 I definitely learned so much and got some great tips from some great blog posts or websites giving advice on how to tell if clothing is actually vintage (1980s or older) or not. So I thought I would create my own blog post with all the things I've learned so far from my experiences with vintage clothing.

Zips/Clasps: Vintage zips are usually quite easy to spot. Most of the time they are metal, but quite a lot were plastic as well even though plastic zips did become a lot more common later on. You can also sometimes tell by the shape, vintage zips are more of a diamond shape and are normally smaller than modern zips. Also older zips are more visible all the way down the clothing, whereas on modern pieces they are normally more hidden. As you can see in the photos below the 1950s Harrods Dress on the far left has quite a visibly placed zipper and the actual zip is quite square and metal.

1950s Harrods Dress Zip - 2 Modern Dresses Zips

Fabrics/Materials: This is another way to quite easily distinguish between retro and modern clothing. Vintage fabrics include: Rayon - was very commonly found during the 1940s. Polyester - invented in the 1950s under names like Dacron until the 60s. It became labelled as polyester in the 70s. Acrylic - popular in the 1950s. Also you can kind of tell by the patterns on vintage clothing and colours used compared to modern fabrics, for example 60s patterns are very bright.

1950s floral material - Modern floral material

Labels: By looking at labels on clothing, you can usually get a good idea if an item is actually old or not. Vintage labels older than the 70s were a lot of the time hand sewed, so the text or logo was sewn on. After then most were printed onto the label however some would still have been sewn on. Also look out for a copyright date that will give you a big clue on dating the garment! The label might also have 'made in', then a country that no longer goes by that name and with some research you can find out how old the clothing is.

1960s Marks and Spencer Label - Modern label

Clothing sizes: Sizes on items of clothing are quite different to modern women's sizes, so that's another thing you can look out for. After doing research most vintage experts say that the size of a vintage garment pre-1980s is roughly 6 dress sizes larger than today's sizes. After then most sizes are pretty much the same to modern sizes. For example I am a size 8-10 in modern clothing but in anything really vintage I fit into up to a size 18. So it is quite different! So a lot of true vintage clothing will seem to be very large sizes, if you measure a garment and compare it to your size to work out the size it must be, the bigger the difference is the more vintage the item will be. Also a lot of very vintage sizes were odd like size 7 for example or had half numbers like size 6 1/2.

These are the main things I find helpful when dating clothing. Most of the time, if your not too bothered about narrowing down the exact era, it fairly simple to work out if clothing is 25 years old or older. I hope this has helped some of you if you wanted some tips on how to find true vintage clothing. I also found Musings From My Bedroom Floor's post really helpful and Sammy Davis Vintage's post is really good too.

Do you have any tips you've found to be helpful when dating clothing? I'd love to hear any experiences or tips you use.

Daisy x

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