Dating clothes photographs updating the schema

Sleeve styles are quite distinctive to each era, and so can often be a telltale sign of original vs later copy - 80s-does-50s dresses often have puff shoulders and wide armholes, whereas original 50s designs generally have quite snug-fitting sleeve cuffs.On the other hand, don't automatically assume that a batwing sleeve sweater is 80s - Dolman sleeves were quite popular in the 50s.If you want to wear vintage clothing it's very helpful to be able to put a rough date on garments.Even if you don't intend to be a purist about things, it helps to know an item's approximate era in order to avoid being taken for a ride by unscrupulous or ignorant sellers and overpaying for something that's been misdescribed.Plastic zips were uncommon before the 1970s, so if for example you're looking at a circle skirt, a metal zip will be a good sign that it's an original 1950s skirt, while a plastic zip can be an indicator of a later item.Style Obviously, the first factor in dating a garment is the style.

Popular sleeve styles in the...(Note: These are just the dominant sleeve styles from each era, as a guide)Look also at the length of the skirt - the timeline below briefly illustrates skirt styles and lengths from the 1930s to early 60s (I'll be discussing this in more detail when we come to the Building a Vintage Wardrobe series): So a "1950s" dress with a skirt that finishes above the knee might be a square dance dress from the 1970s or later (likewise for froufrou petticoats); though it's possible it was designed for a teen or short lady.Zippers & Closures The second thing I look at is the style of zip.None of these on its own will be enough to determine whether a garment is proper vintage, but looking at all together will help you to draw a reasonable conclusion.If you know your stuff there's a chance you might find a bargain that's been mis-labelled as later than it actually is by a seller mistaking the original for the revival.

If you want to become something approaching an expert I can recommend getting a month's trial subscription to and settling down for a long session with their collection of historic Sears & Roebuck catalogues.

Familiarising yourself with these will give you an appreciation of the finer details which can help more accurately date a garment.

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