7 Tips for Identifying Vintage Clothing ...


These days, vintage is a fairly generic term.

Anything ‘vintage’ is seemingly on-trend, so the term gets thrown around quite a bit.

In general, any item of clothing produced between the 1920s and 1980s can be considered vintage.

The following tips should help you identify true vintage pieces.

1. Ask Questions

Ask Questions

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Inquire about an item’s origin, if possible.

If you have inherited an item from a family friend or relative, ask about previous owners to gauge an approximate time of purchase.

If buying from a store or dealer, they may be able to tell you specific details about its origins.

2. Check the Care Label

Check the Care Label

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Checking the care label can help narrow down the date that an item was made.

For example, care symbols were introduced in 1971, so if you spy these on the label then the item was made after 1971.

In the USA, fabric content labels date back to 1960.

While they may not be able to provide specific dates, checking labels is still a useful method.

3. Assess the Sizing

Assess the Sizing

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For women’s wear, standard sizing scales have changed greatly and continue to fluctuate.

One of the reasons for this is that the proportions of many garments have changed over time.

The prevalence of vanity sizing is also another reason.

For example, a size 14 in the 1950s is comparable to a size 6 in today’s measurements.2

4. Check the Fabric

Check the Fabric

Photo Credit: Fontourist

Read the garment labels to determine the fabric used.

You will often be able to associate certain fabrics with certain eras.

Crepe was a classic fabric of the 1940s.

Nylon, the first synthetic fabric, was not widely used for clothing until the 1950s.

Polyester dominated the 1970s.

If there is no fabric label, compare the fabric against those in your current wardrobe.

Determine the Cut
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