Y’all already know I love the thrill of the hunt…for the best vintage items that is! There’s something so exciting about finding a perfectly kept dress from the 70’s or a classic pair of pants from the 90’s. But how do you know if it’s too good to be true? After all, with the resurgence of vintage inspired clothing, how can you ensure your new finds are actually vintage? By the tags of course! On Today’s blog post, I am sharing all you need to know about identifying vintage tags and identifying vintage garments to win big on your next thrift shopping excursion!
These tags can often be found next to designer labels on garments and can easily be identified with the “ILGWU” acronym and the blue circle. These garments are made by unions who were organized for fair wages and safe working conditions. There are a variety of tag variations used between 1885-1976, meaning you are likely to find a union label or two on your hunt! Plus, clothes with a union label were made right here in the states. Many of these were cut in the 80’s when more and more fashion was produced overseas. Sammy Vintage does a lovely deep dive on Union Labels and the entire history of them here!
Vintage Brand Logos vs. Their Modern Logos
Brands evolve! It’s all a part of how they grow and reinvent themselves to a whole new demographic. With this evolution comes entirely new logos, branding details, and of course, new tags! Using the Vintage Fashion Guild’s free label resource library, you’ll be able to search a brand and see the evolution of the brands labels. You might even find you found a piece with their original label, which means you could score BIG!
This has happened to me with a few brands before, where I recognize the name, but can’t seem to place the tag with the brands current branding. From Ralph Lauren to Saks, I have seen countless labels, some with brands I haven’t even heard of! Finding this guide has me so excited to start my next thrifting adventure!
Checking the Fiber Content
This may seem like a weird one, but I always do this! I find that fiber content says quite a bit about the era that the garment may have been made. Even what it’s called can indicate a vintage find! The fibers timeline from the Vintage Fashion Guild is another great resource that you can rely on for understanding the potential era the fabric came from. But also, fabric content tags weren’t required until the 60’s, while in the 50’s fiber content tags simply just said the fabric in the garment. Sammy D Vintage does a fabulous job of explaining the fiber content and tag labels in this post.
For Those “I Have Never Heard of this Brand…” Moments
Theres a list for that! The Vintage Fashion Guild has created a list of vintage tags that you may or may not have heard of! The Labels Resource is a great place to start if you find a label on your next shopping trip that you may not recognize. Or try their fashion timeline catalog to try and identify there era of a garment based on fabric, silhouette, and colors!
On an average thrift store run, I do generally run into one or two pieces where I have to do a good ole fashion google a brand. But the Vintage Fashion Guild has made searching and researching your next vintage find incredibly easy!
Go have fun and find something one of a kind!
The next time you’re out thrifting, go have fun with it! Enjoy the thrill of the hunt, go in with zero idea what you’re looking for and just browse, or take a group of friends and see who can find the earliest manufactured piece! Just remember that thrifting is fun and all about the thrill of the hunt. Whether you find something from the early 2000’s or early 1920’s, both are equally as exciting and have a story to tell! Happy thrifting!