Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday 5: Five Easy Ways To Date A Vintage Piece

Dating vintage is one of my favorite parts of the experience. For those who are noux to vintage I don't mean you hanging out with it like you do with the guy you met at Starbucks until you figure out if its really a "good fi"t. Even though that can be an interesting and possibly equally thrilling process. What I mean by "dating" is figuring out an approximate or exact era your piece was made. To some this can be a fun and exciting challenge, for others a nauseating headache, but I hope to bridge the gap with these five simple hacks to help you out. 

1. Know the Trends:
I really got into it while taking TXMI 4290... also known as History of Dress and Fashion: Nineteenth Century to the Present. I had no clue about the matter until we began to dissect each era look by look. At first it was tedious but after countless hours flipping thorough issues of Vogue and Bazaar (I had to write a research paper) and began to love the process. Each era is known for various looks:
-The Flapper in the 20s with its dropped Waist and Boyish silhouettes ruled 
-Dior's New Look of the 50s featured small waists and full skirts that ruled the decade
-Narrow cuts and super hi waists of the 70s
-Shoulder Pads and working women suits in the 80s

And this is just to name a few... It will take some time, but would make the process easier. Whats better is Im developing a cheat sheet to make this even easier! 

2. Check the Tags:
A tag or a lack there of can tell you a lot about a piece. Fabric content, labels, and other information can be found on tags that can give you clues but a missing tag can be the biggest. Tags were not  commonly placed in clothing until the 1960s. So if your piece is missing one, it could be a helpful clue. But be careful because it could have just been lost over time.

3. Use your Notions 
How your piece is held closed is an even better clue into its era. Clothes were held clothes by hook and eyes, buttons, or snaps. Zippers were not added until the late 30s and were metal. Plastic zippers didn't make become popular until the 1970s.

4. Fabric Content
Textiles is a broad but also a guide way to help you identify the age of a piece. Knowing a few facts about fabric types and when they were heavily used is important. Natural fibers like cotton, silks and wools have been popular and remain popular even today. Synthetic fibers however all have a period in which they became more commonly used. Knowing when these were invented and first put into use can help you determine (along with some of the other indicators listed) its era. For example

-Faux Silks (Rayon and Acetate) is a common synthetic most commonly used in the 40s during depression were low cost really counted
-Spandex or Lycra (or a girls best friend) was developed in the late 50s and used mostly in swimwear and active pieces until more recent times.
-Nylon was first used in stockings in the late 30s but fell out of popularity during war times. They made a huge resurgence in the 60s

This can be a lot to remember but the cheat sheet will cover it!

5. Construction 
The last thing that can help you out is how its made. The construction is a hidden key. Small details including seams, linings, and the cut all help in determining the time. Examples:

-Finished seams or decorative hems are popular before the 60s . After that, the machine overlock became common a this point.
-Full linings attached were not popular until the 1980s. Prior to this a  lot of linings and slips were sold separately. 

I hope these tips helped! For all my nouxbies is there anything left to help you on your journey?for my fellow vintage lovers do you have some favorite tips to share? Leave them in the comments below. 


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