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So whether you’re a vintage clothing newbie or an expert looking to brush up on her skills, keep reading for the 7 secrets you to need to know to date clothing as vintage!

LOOK FOR: A metal zipper placed either in the side seam or back middle of the garment. VINTAGE HISTORY: Metal zippers were first used in garments in the 1930s, but during that era they were rare.

Knowing how to date clothing as vintage is a skill that’s taken me years to acquire, and one that I’ll build upon for the rest of my life.

To give you the tools to talk the talk and walk the walk of a vintage fashion expert, I’ve put together this article outlining seven tell-tale signs your piece is vintage, and advice on how to analyze each sign to identify the era your piece was most likely made.

Side zippers are most frequently seen on garments from the ’30s and ’40s.

Back middle zippers are common on garments from the ’50s and ’60s. Between 19, the amount of clothes sewn at home increased by 50 percent!

The care label tag is required to include one method of care to keep the garment in quality condition, such as “machine wash cold” or “dry clean only.” If the garment was made by a brand but is missing care instructions, you can confidently conclude the piece was produced before 1971. VINTAGE HISTORY for CALIFORNIA TAGS: Beginning in the 1930s when casual clothing became more popular for women, clothing companies found their home and style inspiration from the Hollywood glamour associated with the west coast lifestyle.

Beginning in the ’70s middle back zippers were always used on a garment. By 1974, numbers dipped to 44 million women sewing at home.

LOOK FOR: Handmade garments without labels or tags. VINTAGE HISTORY: The American sewing industry boomed beginning in the ’50s, despite ready-made clothing available from mail order catalogs and department stores. But by the 1980s, women were purchasing mass produced fashion that was less expensive than ever thanks to outsourcing of production to Asian countries.

LOOK FOR: Clothing brands “of California," "of Florida," "of Hawaii," etc. Companies like Alice of California, Murs of California, Koret of California, Marc of California (above) and Cole of California were born in the 1920s and 1930s and continued producing styles into the 1970s.

Zippers became available in plastic (called “woven” zippers) beginning in 1963, and beginning in 1968 nylon (plastic) coil zippers were used in practically every single mass produced garment.Also important to note for accurate dating is placement of zipper either along the side or in the back middle of the garment.