Vintage How To: Dating. Part Two: Labels

Continuing on from Part One: Silhouettes (PDF) where I talked about using shape and style to date vintage, we delve into the world of vintage labels.

Labels are probably one of the most important clues in dating vintage. Labels can contain a treasure trove of information so you should take the time to study them. Vintage can have one or more labels, no label at all and can provide a variety of information on the designer, manufacturer, retailer, fabric-type, country of origin, size and care instructions.

Labels were hard to find in Australia prior to 1946 and it wasn’t until the mass production of clothing started in the late 1940s that labels were introduced. Labels which include fabric-type and care instructions usually date from the 1960s and sizing (shown in measurements) were required in the 1970s.

Vintage How to: Dating. Part Two: Labels | 1960s

Vintage How to: Dating. Part Two: Labels | 1980s

That’s a lot of information isn’t it? One thing to remember is the more information included on a label means it’s likely to be more modern.

There are online resources to help you date a vintage label. The Vintage Fashion Guild has an extensive online label database which can be super handy and you can also try searching for and comparing labels on websites like Etsy.

If you’re ever unsure about the date of an item, please feel free to ask me. I’ve spent a lot of time researching labels (Australian vintage in particular) and I’m more than happy to help!