Since 1960, clothes have been required to carry labels saying the fiber content (with percentages) and place of manufacture.
I've rounded up the most important tips I've found as a vintage shop owner about how to date your vintage finds.
When I was setting up my business, I really wanted to finding the best and most reliable resources so I could offer the best possible product to my customers.
--- Another excellent resource for labels is the Vintage Fashion Guild's label resource. Metal zippers often indicate an item made before 1960, when plastic zippers for dressmaking became more common.
Here, dedicated vintage fashion lovers have collected and compiled histories of the labels of hundreds of vintage clothing manufacturers, often giving you dates when a certain maker's label was used. Metal zippers are still routinely used for heavy-duty uses like jeans and jackets.
--- However, homemade clothing often doesn't have serged seams, so it can look vintage even if it's not.
If your item's seams aren't serged, look for a manufacturer's tag to see if it's commercially made.The following information is a guide to identifying and dating vintage clothing, suits, coats, pants, jackets, and workwear that was sewn by the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America based on the union label that is present on the garment.There are five different known union tags that were used to identify ACWA as the clothing manufacturer.And a newer item with a metal zipper could have been homemade. The US government started requiring full care labels that year, and many clothes made before then did not have them.Keep in mind, though, that a lack of care label doesn't necessarily mean the piece is older than 1972. And not all clothes were made in the US, obviously. If you're still not sure, you might check out the Vintage Fashion Guild forums.Lots of garments from the 1950s will have a fiber tag without a percentage--for instance, simply "Cotton." Of course, people sometimes just cut tags out, so lack of a tag doesn't always equal vintage.