How To Identify Vintage Clothing Tags

October 13, 2016

Vintage means value — but only if it’s authentic. With current trends, it’s tempting to market clothes that appear vintage as the real deal. That puts the burden on consumers and distributors to know the difference.

Fortunately, there are key indicators to know the difference. Vintage clothing brand labels are unique. With the right knowledge, they can be spotted and distinguished from wannabes. Below, learn more about identifying vintage clothing tags.

Why Do I Need to Know?

Getting duped is not only embarrassing, but it can cost you. Vintage clothing can be marked up, depending on the seller and demand. You want to be sure you get what you pay for.

Then, there is care and quality to consider. Truly vintage fabric could have different care requirements. If you want to properly maintain your vintage clothes, you have to be able to trust the source.

What Should I Be Looking For?

It’s all about the label.

You can ask questions about the origins of the clothes, but the details — intentionally or not — could be a little fuzzy or even misleading. At the end of the day, custom clothing tags put the information right in front of you in writing. Here are a few things to look for in vintage clothing tag identification:

- Care label: If the item has a care label (with washing directions) then it was made after 1971. That’s the year that care labels were introduced, so vintage items that are said to be older than that will not include this feature.

- Fabric labels: Fabric labels (think 100 percent cotton, etc.) were not introduced in the United States until 1960. Depending on the era of clothes you’re buying, this can get you in the ballpark.

- The fabric itself: Similarly, different fabrics were introduced at different times or were trendier during certain eras. If you know when certain fabrics were more popular (polyester versus nylon, for example), you can more accurately gauge age of the clothes.

- Size labels: This will take a bit more research and expertise on your end, but size labels can be a good indicator of when clothes were made. Women’s sizing scales have been updated time and again over the years. If you’re familiar with how clothes were sized in bygone eras and have a good eye for physical size, this can be a big help.

- Union tags: These were phased out in the ’80s, along with union labor in the clothing industry. If you see verbiage such as “union made” or the letters ILGWU (International Ladies’ Garments Workers’ Union), then you can be fairly certain that the item was not made within the last 30 years.

With the right attention to detail and a trained eye, you can protect yourself against vintage fraud and boast the most fashionable, authentic vintage clothes around. Take some time to do your research, and always remember to scan the clothing labels before you buy.