Vintage Dating Tips - When it comes to dating, it is always nice to have someone guide the way and let you know what you are doing wrong, what to do and what not to do . Thankfully, guides such as the ‘13 Tips for Single Dames’ exist to tell you things not to do, such as pounding back tequila and passing out in a restaurant booth. The images date back to the February 1938 issue of Click Photo-Parade magazine. Although, even though the ‘13 Tips for Single Dames’ tells you not to, if you happen to be on a bad date, this may just be the solution to ensure that the loser never calls again Join 10,000,0000 people getting Better & Faster w/ Jeremy Gutsche's Innovation Keynotes ➤. Related Top 10 Slideshows Video. Pro Services.
Have you ever watched a really old TV show like Leave It To Beaver or The Brady Bunch or anything else made or set way back when? Have you noticed how different the approach to was back them.
There was a lot more courting, talking on the phone, meeting your date’s parents before going to the school dance or the carnival. It all looked so wholesome that it almost makes you want to barf, right?
You’re not alone. To be fair, not everything was all peachy keen as it seemed–hey, all young people rebel, even in the ’50s and ’60s, you’ve seen Grease–but there were definitely way more conservative approaches to dating now than there are now. Most of these guidelines were written up in advice books geared towards teens. Yeah they’re just as corny as you’re imagining. Corny and super sexist. Here are eight vintage dating tips that will definitely make you go WTF.
Which of these tips is the most ridic? Which do you think are actually pretty accurate? You can follow the author, , on or .
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Your fingers stroke the fabric along a garment’s back and neck, hoping to find a label or tag and your much-needed clue to its vintage authenticity. Your search comes up empty, so you turn the garment inside out to look along the side or bottom seam. “ A-ha!” you squeal. A label was sewn into the bottom side seam, a square of fabric that while tiny, is a huge source of information for performing the important detective work a good vintage lover knows and loves: Dating the era of one’s vintage piece!
Over a year ago I shared my “11 Ways to Tell It’s Vintage by Labels & Tags.” The story was such a hit that it inspired me to write stories on how and the can help when determining a garment’s era and fashion history.
This article is your go-to reference for tips and tricks to reveal a garment’s probable vintage era based on the details of its labels and tags alone! Not all vintage pieces have a label or tag, however — especially if it was handmade, which vintage prior to the 1980s often was. Be sure to visit my article for tips beyond the tag. According to my tips, what is the probable age of your favorite vintage garment?
I’d love to know, so please leave me a comment below the post or by saying hello on , , or by (which emails content not on the site — including behind-the-scenes of thrift stores and vintage photoshoot pics!) xx, SD VINTAGE CLOTHING LABELS Feel free to scroll through the post to read these 13 tips for using your garment’s tag to help identify its vintage era, or click any of the links below to be taken immediately to the text within the article!
Vintage Clothing Label Vintage Clothing Label Vintage Clothing Label Vintage Clothing Label Vintage Clothing Label Vintage Clothing Label Vintage Clothing Label Vintage Clothing Label Vintage Clothing Label Vintage Clothing Label Vintage Clothing Label Vintage Clothing Label Vintage Clothing Label Vintage Clothing Label: COPYRIGHT LOOK FOR … the most obvious: A copyright year.
HOW OLD? Approximately the year noted on the tag, or a few years later. NOTE: The catch to consider is that the copyright date isn’t always the production year of the garment itself, but rather the date the brand or logo was copyrighted. WHY IT’S VINTAGE: If you’ve got a garment with a copyright year of 1992 or earlier, then by industry definition you’ve got yourself a huge piece of the puzzle dating your garment as vintage!
Vintage Clothing Label: MADE IN U.S.A. LOOK FOR … “Made in U.S.A.” or the design of an American flag on or near the garment’s brand tag.
The verbiage should be up front and not behind the tag. HOW OLD? Typically 1980s. WHY IT’S VINTAGE: While statistically speaking I don’t have the numbers to back it up, we can all agree that only a small percent of garments today are actually Made in U.S.A. Secondly, the production country of a modern garment is typically found behind the tag — not frontside, as seen here on this 1980s Jeanne Marc label.
Vintage Clothing Label: NO ZIP CODES LOOK FOR … a boutique’s address with the absence of a zip code. HOW OLD? Pre-1963. WHY IT’S VINTAGE: Zip codes weren’t invented until 1963, when the growth of America made it necessary to institute zip codes for the postal service to more easily track addresses. Today, (Manhattan) New York has more than 40 different zip codes.
Clearly, “De Pinna” wasn’t aware of theirs when they made this garment before 1963! RESOURCE: The history of Vintage Clothing Label: WOOLMARKS LOOK FOR … either the absence of, or the design of a “Woolmark.” HOW OLD? Pre-1939 if the made-from-wool garment has no label identifying it as wool.
The garment isn’t older than 1964 if it has the first Woolmark logo (100% wool); no older than 1971 if it has the second (60% wool) and no older than 1999 if it has the third (50% wool). WHY IT’S VINTAGE: The Woolmark logo was first placed on the tags of wool clothing in 1964 as a marketing technique to encourage consumers to buy the natural fiber of wool over synthetics polyester and acrylic.
NOTE: Because the Woolmark logo is licensed and therefore costs money to use, not all garments made from wool are labeled with a Woolmark. RESOURCE: The Vintage Fashion Guild’s Vintage Clothing Label: MATERIAL NAMES LOOK FOR … the type of material noted on a garment, particularly if it has an unusual name like “Dacron Polyester.” HOW OLD? 1958 to 1970 if labeled with Dacron Polyester (shown above).
POLYESTER: Invented 1941, first commercially used 1953 but most popular 1970s or later. Look for vintage names Celanese, Kodel and Vycron. NYLON: First commercially used in 1939. Look for vintage name Qiana Nylon, found on garments approximately 1968 to 1970s. LYCRA: Invented 1959, also referred to as Spandex. ACRYLIC: First commercially used 1950. Look for vintage names Orlon, Acrilan, Zeran and Creslan. WHY IT’S VINTAGE: The invention of synthetics during World War II was an exciting time for American fashion — and for the clothing companies themselves!
Chemical companies like DuPont released these marketing names to create incentive for consumers to buy a garment, labels included trade names like “Qiana Nylon” (versus just Nylon) or “Dacron Polyester” (versus just Polyester). RESOURCE: Fabric Link’s Vintage Clothing Label: COUNTRIES THAT NO LONGER EXIST LOOK FOR … countries or colonies which no longer exist.
HOW OLD? Pre-1999, considering the British Colony of Hong Kong gained its independence before the dawn of the new millennium. WHY IT’S VINTAGE: While dating a garment to 1999 doesn’t make it vintage, you can date garments with countries like “Yugoslavia,” which divided into Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, and Slovenia in the early 1990s.
RESOURCE: guide of About.com. Vintage Clothing Label: HALF SIZES LOOK FOR … the use of “half” sizes with 1/2 after the whole number size, i.e. 16 1/2. HOW OLD? Pre-1970s and no older than 1940s. WHY IT’S VINTAGE: According to one of my sources, half sizes were introduced in 1940s sewing patterns for “shorter” women.
The half size denoted the garment’s shorter length. The sizing was with an even whole number and “1/2” because odd numbers were denoted for junior sizing (at that time, petite women and not teenagers).
My other source references half sizes as indicators of a vintage plus-size garment beginning at size 20 1/2. RESOURCES: Explanation of Half Sizes on Sewing Patterns by & Explanation of Vintage Plus Sizes by Vintage Clothing Label: RN NUMBERS LOOK FOR … an RN number of five to six numbers, proceeded with “RN.” HOW OLD? 1959 and earlier for numbers listed 00101 to 04086 and post 1959 for numbers listed as 13670 or larger. WHY IT’S VINTAGE: RN numbers were first used in 1952 and listed from 00101 (first number) to 04086 (last number).
In 1959 the numbering system changed and began at 13670. Thus, you can “take a guess” at how old a garment may be by comparing its RN number to 13670. Shown here is 17272, which I would guesstimate puts this garment in the mid ’60s. HOWEVER, PLEASE NOTE: RN numbers do NOT necessarily identify the year a garment was made. They rather identify when the RN number was first issued for the company to use. Thus, a ’70s dress may have a RN number closer to 13670 than another ’70s dress of comparable production time.
BEST RULE OF THUMB: I’ve personally decided that RN numbers of 6+ digits are from the ’80s or later, while RN numbers of 5 digits are of the ’60s and ’70s. RESOURCES: The WPL, RN & CA Labeling Guide . Vintage Clothing Label: LOT NUMBERS LOOK FOR … the verbiage “lot” usually followed by a number or number with a letter.
HOW OLD? Pre-1979. WHY IT’S VINTAGE: Lot numbers were used to process and track garments as they were produced in factories. For whatever reason, lot numbers ceased use around 1979. I assume the outsourcing of clothing to more countries abroad had something to do with it!
Vintage Clothing Label: ODD NUMBER SIZES LOOK FOR … odd sizes, i.e. 3, 5, 7, 9. HOW OLD? Pre-1980s. Vintage junior sizing was invented not as a sizing system for teenagers (traditionally seen today) but rather petite ladies!
WHY IT’S VINTAGE: Odd number sizes ceased use around the 1980s when the production of separate petite lines began.
Odd sizing became more standard for pre-teen and teenage women of modern day — remember the store 5-7-9? One of my favs growing up, because all sizes were 5, 7 or 9! Vintage Clothing Label: MADE IN MEXICO LOOK FOR … “Made in Mexico” verbiage. HOW OLD? 1950s is the probable era of a vintage garment that was Made in Mexico. WHY IT’S VINTAGE: Although you can certainly buy modern clothing that was made in Mexico, vintage clothing made in Mexico is most likely from the 1950s.
Reason being that travel to Mexico was quite popular during the era and Mexican styles (particularly circle skirts) caught on as a trend. If women weren’t vacationing to Mexico and buying them there, they were being bought and sold in American boutiques.
NOTE: Best to use this tag tip if you already know that the garment is vintage to prevent confusion with a modern piece also made in Mexico.
Also, for more vintage geographic know-how read more about the influences of & in my Dating Clothing as Vintage article. Vintage Clothing Label: CARE INSTRUCTIONS LOOK FOR … a care label or the absence of a care label. HOW OLD? 1971 or newer if the garment has a care label with at least one suggested instruction on how to wash/”care for” the garment. Pre-1971 if there’s absolutely no care instructions to be found on a tag.
WHY IT’S VINTAGE: Read more on how to date vintage by its here. Vintage Clothing Label: UNION TAGS LOOK FOR … a union label, either from the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU) or from one of the other 6 unions or union subgroups, including HOW OLD? Typically 1920s to 1980s, depending on the tag design you’re looking at. WHY IT’S VINTAGE: Read more on identifying and dating the age of here, and how to date vintage clothing based on 6 other in addition to ILGWU here. Vintage Clothing Label: MY NAME!
Oh … and that tag up there? Well you know it’s vintage cause it has my name on it! Although clearly for a male named Sam Davis, I just about died when I saw this tag on a men’s jacket in The Family Vintage Jewels, who kindly let us shoot the tags of their vintage clothing!
Sam Davis, are you out there? Your jacket is calling your name! Thank you to the for loaning vintage clothing for creation of this article. DATING VINTAGE BY TAGS & LABELS QUICK TIPS: How to Know Your CLUES: How to by Construction THRIFT: 3 Ways to Identify UNIONS: Your Complete Guide to ILGWU LABELS: A Breakdown of the by Era VINTAGE FASHION RESOURCES & The Vintage Fashion Guild’s Vintage Fashion & Textile from Archivia Vintage by Carmen & Ginger Zip codes weren’t invented until 1963?!?
How did I not know this?? <–mind blown. Another bookmark-worthy post. I'm going to have to print this (along with the fabulous ILGWU Label Guide), sit down with ALL my vintage clothes, and compare the details of the labels. I'll let you know if I solve any vintage mysteries! Natalie, you are my biggest support when it comes to these educational-based articles.
Thank you!! I’ve done so many these past few weeks as I wrap my head around it all, too. I would LOVE to hear what you learn. Perhaps you have a piece that is older than you think.
I have too found this, myself, now that I have more knowledge. What I thought was late ’60s is in fact early ’60s, vice versa. It makes a huge difference!
Thank you Natalie! Hello! You mention that companies stopped using lot numbers before 1980. Could you provide me a source for that information, if possible? I have a vintage item listed on Etsy that, for some reason, has been flagged as not being vintage, but it has a lot and style number and was made in the USA, etc etc, so it is clear to me that it is AT LEAST from the 1980s. However, Etsy requires a “reliable referral source” to confirm that a piece is vintage, so I’m wondering what source you used to find that information?
Love your site. Does anyone here know anything about “tads” jeans/bell bottoms? I have a pair from the 70’s that are amazing and I cannot find any info online about them. I had a guy offer me 100$ bucks for them, and while I probably won’t get rid of them I would like to find out more. All I can tell is that they are an American brand. The internet fell short on this one!
Hi there, I came across an amazing vintage hat today, I am very curious its age. The hat has the union made label with the smooshed globe followed by a 6 that you describe in detail, thank you for that. It also says “CO 824786”. Any idea what time period this may be from? So happy to have found this fantastic website. Thanks in advance for the help Hi, Sammy! Love your page! I am an enthusiastic collector (and wearer!) of vintage pretties.
I recently ran across a label on an embellished denim jacket with a registered trademark that, unfortunately, is difficult to decipher. I wonder if you, or some of the other vintage-lovers, might recommend the best way to go about identifying it. I’m pretty good with puzzles but this one has me stumped. Thanks for your good help! Suzanne Hi! My name is Sammy and I created this website as a place for myself and others to share their love for finding, selling and styling vintage.
I believe that all woman can make vintage fashion a part of their wardrobe, and I hope that you’ll join me on this journey as we spread vintage love together!
As we approach that magical time of year we thought we’d offer some tips to our lovely single vintage lovers out there, who are looking for love over the Christmas period! These tips have been offered by the lovely Miss Yazmin Joy Vigus, a lovely lady blogger over at which is a collective blog about love, life, and finding joy!
Over to you Yazmin… In an age where texting is preferable to speaking on the phone, first impressions are made on Facebook rather than in person, and dressing up and going on a real bonafide date is becoming the thing of urban myths, I can’t help but wonder: Is there really room for classic courtship in the digital world? (We sure hope so Yazmin!) 50s diner milkshake dates…retro, romantic, and delicious.
Yes please! So … lets talk about vintage dating tips for the modern man or woman: 1) Be on time “[Being late] can be traced to nothing more interesting than carelessness mixed with a little selfishness, in more or less equal parts.” Millicent Fenwick.
Vogue’s Book of Etiquette (1948) Being on time is a simple but vital characteristic of classic courtship that will never go out of style. I was recently made to wait 30 minutes for a time-neglecting date to turn up.
30 minutes! In a digital society where we’re used to instant feedback, immediate responses, high speed action, we seem to have lost a sense of real time keeping. Of course, after extended apologies, the outing was resumed (no-one is perfect after all), however it is worth mentioning that it gave a distinctly bad first impression. (SO uncool Yazmin!) Turning up on-time displays an attitude of respect for those in your company and a wider indication to the way you live your life.
Written in 1948, Millicent Fenwick’s ‘Vogue’s Book of Etiquette’ was a bible-length tome on the strict rules women were supposedly expected to adhere to in mid-century society!
2) Why talk isn’t cheap, baby! Nothing beats good conversation on a date. While a riveting discussion has partly to do with chemistry, mutual interests and a shared sense of humour, it’s easy to lose your nerve and descend into a jibber-jabbering verbal mess!
In The Entertaining Lady: An Informal Guide to Good Living (1949) Vera Bloom gives some top classic tips on making great conversation: “…being yourself, and really hearing the person you’re talking to, instead of wasting your energy worrying about what impression you’re making, will do more towards making you a good conversationalist than all the high-pressure charm hints that have ever been given.” Yes, Bloom makes a clear and simple observation that is just as applicable today.
The trick to making good conversation is to simply be yourself, listen to the other person, and try to relax! 3) How to avoid unflattering questions! In life we are often faced with arduous questions which infringes on our privacy. ‘When did you start smoking?’, ‘Did you eat the last profiterole?’, ‘How long has it been since you did the horizontal tango?’ Often on a first date you may not wish to reveal all your dirty little secrets, but what do you do if you are posed with an uncomfortable question?
In her 1963 etiquette manual Charm for Young Women, Anne Culkin offers some timeless advice: “We are under no obligation to answer the personal questions directed at us. Yet we do not want to discipline another to the point to embarrassment. This we will not do if we become a little vague about the information they seek, or if we have a suggestion of amusement in our voice when we say: “Mary, I don’t think you meant to ask me that question?” For instance, if your date enquires after the unflattering pictures of yourself in Magaluf, in which you are passed out outside the kebab house with mayonnaise in your hair, simply reply: ‘Jonathan [or insert appropriate name], I don’t think you meant to ask me that question’ and then continue to tuck into your goats cheese and caramelized onion tart.
(yum yum Yazmin!) 4) To kiss or not to kiss? That is the question! A conundrum that is as equally vexing in 2013 than it was in 1963! “There is nothing wrong about a brief, affectionate goodnight kiss which will not arouse passion. Do not feel, however, that he won’t ask you out again unless you kiss him the first night or that you must repay him for the coke and hamburger he bought you.
This is too high a price to pay, even if you had a large coke.” – Anne Culkin, Charm for Young Women (1963) It does seem rather far-fetched to impose a kiss that is both equally affectionate yet non-passionate, but hi-de-ho, Anne’s traditional sentiment rings true for modern daters.
Kissing on the first date is okay so long as you are comfortable and happy to do so. However, you shouldn’t feel obliged to return the favour just because he/she may have bought you M&Ms at the cinema!
Ohhh now this has gone and got us all gooey! 5) ‘I don’t believe I agree with that!’ There is some behavior that never seems particularly agreeable in a first date scenario.
In the Art of Dating (1967), Evelyn Millis Duvall suggests 6 Classic Dating Faux-Pas that still ring true today. ‘A date is wholly satisfying only when each person is considerate of the other. Dating is not fun if either of you: a) Flirts conspicuously with others. b) Brags about previous conquests. c) Gossips about other dates. d) Clings too closely to members of your own sex. e) Avoids participation in the activities. f) Makes an issue over minor mishaps.’ What do you think, dear vintage lovers?
How far would you agree with these ‘common dating blunders’? So why courtship? Maybe a little too much for the first date BUT there’s no harm in a bit of PDA! Is courtship important in the 21st century? Sure it is. There is no reason why a man or woman of modern values can’t enjoy classic chivalry and romance. (Well said Yazmin!) Not only can it be jolly good fun – more importantly it might also be an opportunity to forge a beautiful relationship.
James A. Magner explains in The Art of Happy Marriage (1947): “The principal purpose of courtship is precisely to find out whether the two persons are so constituted that they can work as a team. This applies not only in the order of surface attraction or superficial sex appeal, but also in moral and spiritual qualities, personal interests, intellectual and cultural development, religious and social views, and the various sustaining qualities that carry people through periods of difference and difficulty.” Today, vintage courtship and dating etiquette is less about proprietary and maintaining social expectations and more about how you choose to behave.
Like most things vintage, chivalry is not about emulating the exact mentality of these by-gone eras, but more about expressing the sentiment of chivalry. Why not ignite a bit of rustic romance and sizzle into your dating life? It’s about making the other person feel special. Enjoying quality time. And showing mutual respect and consideration.
Is chivalry dead? Hopefully not. Maybe it just needs a revamp. You can take us on a date any time, Elvis! Well that certainly gave us some food for thought! Big thanks and love to Miss Yazmin Joy Vigus for her beautiful thoughts on vintage dating culture in the modern age.
She’ll be back soon with more joyous blogs for us! Feeling the love? Then why not check out our blog on here – after all we started planning our wedding when we were 6 years old, so there’s no time like the present! And don’t forget to keep an eye out for fair dates for our upcoming ! We’ll be back soon with more pre-loved inspiration and humbling stories! Alex and Sam x
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