What was dating like in the 1940s
I wrote about eight easy ways to identify your garment as vintage, which helped you to recognize whether that great maxi dress you thrifted was actually from the ’70s or was just a 2012 lookalike.
Speaking of thrifting, I’ve also shared clues on how to identify vintage clothing labels in a thrift store and I’ve explained 11 ways to know a piece is vintage by its labels and tags and how the ILGWU union label can help you to date a garment’s era, too.
1960s: Buttons begin to take on a more “cheap” look, and aren’t the same quality of plastic as bakelite or lucite. That’s why they’re also called “hard plastic.” LEFT: 1940s Dress with Side Seam Zipper / RIGHT: 1950s Dress with Centered Back Zipper DATING TIP: Identify whether the garment has a zipper and if so, where the zipper is placed and if it’s metal or plastic.
1920s: Zippers were invented in the late 1800s but weren’t used in clothing until the 1920s, and only in men’s trousers and children’s clothing because they were considered for women to wear!
TOP LEFT: Frenched Seam (1900-1940s)/ TOP RIGHT: 1950s Pinked Seam / BOTTOM: Post ’50s Serged Seam DATING TIP: Identify whether the garment has frenched, pinked or serged seams.
PRE-1940s: French seams were used on turn of the century clothing through the 1940s.
Reason being that a zipper made it too easy to take one’s clothes off, thus only “easy” women would ever want to wear a garment with one!
It’s amazing how history has evolved the most simplest of garment details — and how when you compare pieces of the past, you can begin to see how this “puzzle” of dating vintage clothing isn’t as complicated as you once thought!
Metal zippers begin to be replaced after 1963 with the invention of nylon, which introduces the plastic zipper.