If you’re new to vintage it can often be quite confusing to spot what is truly vintage and what is retro. Care labels, the washing instructions you can find in most modern clothing, were introduced in the US in 1971.
Ebay and some more dodgy vintage shops are full of last week’s Forties look-a-like Primark tea dresses labelled as vintage – be it deliberate or not. In the UK they are still not mandatory today but most clothing from the mid-Seventies onward does contain them.
So when trying to identify an outfit look one year after the date on the tag.
Also, outfits had only one label or tag but often several clothing pieces.
) The feel of it tells me all about the lingerie’s sensual nature.
However, if I question something, if there are confusing or conflicting issues, I will then check construction and, especially if this is for someone else, then I will look at the tags and labels for clues to confirm or deny suspicions. Then as now, tags and labels are often cut out of clothing — especially lingerie, where they look less than desirable beneath sheer fabrics. Since I cannot heft or feel Lea’s vintage Warner’s nightgown or peignoir, here’s how I use the label information to confirm what my eyes see in the photos.
What I love about vintage catalogs is the practical insight they give into the fashion world at the time.
If you take a look at the labels though, you’ll see that the blue coat only has a brand label, while the green coat does contain a modern care label.
The zip as we know it today was actually first patented in 1913, although it wasn’t not really used for fashionable clothing until the Thirties.
Zips before the Thirties were metal, although in the early Thirties a number of companies began to experiment with using celluloid (plastic) to make zips.
By now, I can pretty much just “heft and eyeball” a garment and deduce the age.
Visually, period style details tell me most of what I want to know, both in terms of the age of the item and what I want to wear.