You've probably noticed that I'm obsessed with vintage. Not only do I love vintage for its uniqueness, but also because clothing holds history in the fibers of its fabric. Current events always influence the appearance of our clothing, so by looking at vintage we can learn about our history.
When I buy vintage, part of the thrill is to be able to research the garment and find out when it came into existence. There isn't much information on the internet about determining the age of a vintage garment, so I thought I'd share with you what knowledge I've gleaned from my researching. It's not very much, and I'm always learning new things, but I'll still break it into three posts. Because this is a blog and not a novel.
(This Brunny sweater vest was made in the 1960s.)
One of the fastest ways to estimate the age of a garment is to look at its label. Garments made after 1959 usually have assigned numbers printed on their labels. The very first number in the sequence is 13670, and these numbers are called registration numbers (RN's).When a clothing company is birthed, it is assigned one of these numbers.
(This Judy's circle skirt was made in the 1980s.)
Because the numbers are assigned only when the company is created, it does not determine the exact manufacture date of a garment. But it does give a good reference point. For instance, if you think an article of clothing was made in the 1930s, but it has an RN, you know right away that your first assumption was incorrect. So while it doesn't give a definitive answer, it does point you in the right direction. More research should be done once you know the RN and its issue date.
(This Charlotte Russe jean skirt was made in the late 2000s.)
And be sure to come back next week for part two!