Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Vintage or not? : How to tell the difference between vintage and reproduction clothing.

As the market for reproduction vintage wares has grown so much it can often be hard to tell the difference between items, that 60's style dress at a charity shop may look in impeccable condition, but is it a well looked after vintage find, or a reproduction piece?

High street shops are awash with vintage style clothing, when high street chain's can pick a classic 60's design and turn it into a mass produced modern piece of clothing you can see just how easy it is to find vintage style clothing on the market today. With vintage still as popular as ever the market is still booming for vintage clothing, and many an item can easily be mixed up with the real deal, but how do you tell the difference between what is and what isn't a vintage find?

The first and easiest way to date an item to see if it really is vintage, will be to look inside for a label, look at the style on the label and the lettering, a quick search for the name of the designer or company listed will tell you if it's a vintage find or not. Of course you can't always stand in a shop, or at a stall looking up the name of a vintage designer, but it gives you an idea if the find that you recently snapped up is the real deal or not.

Another way to check the age of the item is to look for fabric content listings on the label, this was introduced in the UK in 1986 as a legal requirement, so it can help to date those vintage finds if you can't find any sign of fabric content on the label. Labels like care labelling are a bit of a grey area as these have never been mandatory in the UK, but those care symbols that we commonly find on items were only introduced in 1963, so they can help to date an item in a fashion.

The sizing can be a dead giveaway, as I've discussed here before, vintage sizing can be quite different to modern dress sizes, so a small sized 18 dress is most likely a vintage find. Detailing on the item is another great way to date pieces, fastenings like zips can be a real giveaway to the items age, is it located on the back of the dress or the side? Zips were often placed in the side seam up to the 1950's, whereas pieces with a zip in the back are generally dated from the late 1950's onwards.

The construction of the item can often help to date items too. Mass produced clothing on a large scale only really came into it's own in the late 1940's-1950's, so an item that's been handmade and incredibly detailed is more likely to date prior to this period.

With such impeccably made reproduction finds and so many high street copies, at first glance it can be difficult to date that find, but a closer look at the item's labels, quality and construction will really help to date that dress or pretty top. Of course, if you love it then it doesn't matter if that find is truly vintage or not, a perfectly made reproduction piece may be in much better condition than it's vintage counterpart, or it may come in a different coloured fabric that you prefer. Either way it's a great lesson in dating vintage pieces, and will certainly come in handy when your out shopping!

Images: Flickr commons & Pinterest

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