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Speaking of thrifting, I’ve also shared clues on how to identify vintage clothing labels in a thrift store and I’ve explained 11 ways to know a piece is vintage by its labels and tags and how the ILGWU union label can help you to date a garment’s era, too.
1970s – TODAY: Plastic zippers found along the center back of a garment officially reign supreme — and are what we’re left with today!
TOP LEFT: Frenched Seam (1900-1940s)/ TOP RIGHT: 1950s Pinked Seam / BOTTOM: Post ’50s Serged Seam DATING TIP: Identify whether the garment has frenched, pinked or serged seams.
In the Western world, people ironed their clothing with "sad irons," which were extremely heavy iron bars with handles that were heated in a fire.
People would take the iron out of the fire, holding it with a cloth.
You know a button is bakelite plastic versus a more modern synthetic plastic because it’s almost always colored.
Test a button’s bakelite authenticity by spraying a Q-tip with 409 cleaner and rubbing it against the button. 1950s: If the button is clear, you’re most likely looking at lucite, a transparent type of plastic invented in 1931.It’s amazing how history has evolved the most simplest of garment details — and how when you compare pieces of the past, you can begin to see how this “puzzle” of dating vintage clothing isn’t as complicated as you once thought!LEFT: 1940s Bakelite Plastic Button / RIGHT: 1960s Plastic Button DATING TIP: Identify whether the buttons are bakelite plastic, lucite plastic or modern plastic.Lucite buttons were most popular on garments of the ’50s.1960s: Buttons begin to take on a more “cheap” look, and aren’t the same quality of plastic as bakelite or lucite. That’s why they’re also called “hard plastic.” LEFT: 1940s Dress with Side Seam Zipper / RIGHT: 1950s Dress with Centered Back Zipper DATING TIP: Identify whether the garment has a zipper and if so, where the zipper is placed and if it’s metal or plastic.PRE-1940s: French seams were used on turn of the century clothing through the 1940s.