Vintage or Not: 10 Tips on Distinguishing Real Vintage Clothes


All Blogs, Handbook, Style, Vintage / Thursday, December 12th, 2019

Let’s face it; there’s something so incredibly and undeniably alluring about vintage dresses that they’re still considered the best fashion era to this day. We’re all a little bit obsessed with the unmatched sophistication of the vintage fashion era. Some fulfill this obsession by collecting vintage dress or vintage style prints to give an elegant and classic touch to their wardrobe, and maybe you want to start collecting vintage dresses too. However, the question of how to distinguish real vintage clothes from fakes and rip-offs is what keeps you hesitant. Well, that’s totally understandable, because some shops can sell newly made clothes under the name of real vintage fashion, and completely rob you of your hard-earned money. Real vintage clothes can be pretty expensive, if we’re being honest, that’s why we want to make sure you’re always getting your money’s worth. After consulting experts who have been shopping for real vintage pieces for enough years to have a credible experience, we’ve made a list of 10 tips for you to keep in mind while shopping for vintage dresses and clothes so you never have to end up with a fake piece ever again.

vintage dresses that they’re still considered the best fashion era to this day

#1 Garment Care Labels:

If the designer or shopkeeper tells you that the vintage dress is an authentic piece from the 50s but you notice that it has a garment care label, then there’s a good chance that you’re being ripped off. That’s because garment care labels weren’t a thing in the United States until after the 70s as it was in 1971 that the Federal Trade Commission required all clothes to have care labels.

Vintage Outfits

#2 Metal Zipper:

Other than the garment care labels, the zipper of your vintage dress can also be a good indication of whether that piece is authentic or not. Check the zipper, and if the teeth are metal, then your dress is probably vintage because plastic zippers became common only after the 60s.

Elegant Woman dress in vintage dress

#3 Label Font:

It’s a no brainer than the garment labels of the past looked a lot different than they do now. Look out for the difference in typography and print, and you’ll soon have a real vintage piece on your hands. If it’s from a brand who has been making garments since the vintage era, then the difference in their logos and fonts since then can also be a good indication.

woman in white top and red skirt

#4 ILGWU Tag:

ILGWU, as in the International Ladies’ Garments Workers’ Union, has been making ladies’ clothes since 1900 and has changed their logo 8 times since their establishment. The color and style of their logo can give you an idea about the date of the vintage dress, once you look up all their logos online.

White Shirt with tie

#5 Unfinished Seams:

If you notice unfinished seams on the vintage fashion, then it probably was made before the 50s since pinking shears and sergers weren’t available at that time.

#6 Sewing Job:

Some vintage clothes might not have a tag, garment care label, or zipper for you to recognize its authenticity. Worry not and lookout for signs of the dress being homemade and imperfect since women mostly sewed their own clothes from the 50s to the 70s.

#7 Lining:

Retro Style Dress

If, while investigating your vintage dress, you notice that it has a lining, then it means that dress was definitely made after the 70s. Since women mainly wore slips underneath their dresses, there wasn’t any need for lining in dresses until the shift in fashion in the 70s.

#8 Where it made:

Check where your dresses were made from. If your vintage dress says it’s made in the USA or has an ILGWU tag, you can definitely trust it to be authentic and treat yourself to some classic sophistication.

#9 Polyester or Spandex:

The material of the vintage outfit is also something that you’ll have to be looking out for while shopping for vintage fashion. If it’s made from polyester or spandex, then it’s definitely not an authentic piece since these materials were not available at that time. Pure rayon, wool, and nylon were more popular materials at the time.

#10 It Says “Vintage:

This one’s probably pretty obvious as it is, but never trust a piece that has a tag which says it’s “vintage”. That’s because vintage pieces were not vintage during the time they were made, so it doesn’t make sense for vintage designers or producers to label them “vintage” at the time.

Remember these tips and look for all the above mentioned red flags while shopping for your next real vintage dress or any vintage-style print so that you can always get your money’s worth and fill your closet with the authentic and unmatched beauty and sophistication of vintage fashion.

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