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Since then, I've practiced on hundreds and hundreds of items. I've also included other sources to contact at the bottom of the page. Older garments also sometimes had very large seams to allow for alterations.
They might also be finished by "pinking," or cutting with zig-zag scissors.
And a newer item with a metal zipper could have been homemade. The US government started requiring full care labels that year, and many clothes made before then did not have them.
These variations of ILGWU labels were used through 1995--close to the current vintage cutoff year of 1993. UNION LABEL USED FROM 1955-1945 (with AFL-CIO) After 1995, the union adopted a label that says "UNITE" on it. For more details on when each kind of union label was used, see the Vintage Fashion Guild's guide to union labels, here.
My day job is business research, so it was easy to find a lot of great sources. A dress with a tiny waist and huge, below-knee skirt screams 1950s, while a slim-fit dress with huge shoulder pads is probably from the 1980s. If your garment has "serged" seams, it probably dates to after the mid-1960s.
I read a ton of books and talked to lots of people. See the "Retro Fashion History" and "Vintage Fashion and Art" links below to learn more about silhouettes and see lots of great photos by decade. Serged seams were uncommon before the mid-1960s, when manufacturers began using sergers routinely to finish seams.
You’ll find dresses, skirts, sweaters, coats, shoes, HATS, and more.
We carry one of the largest vintage hat collections in the valley. One reason we have so many fabulous vintage hats is because of one of our Dealers, Dianna Hanson, also know to us as the “Hat Lady.” Dianna has been collecting for many years and her personal collection has grown to more than 1000 hats.