Tuesday, October 19, 2010

how to date vintage.

Well, firstly I wouldn't consider myself an expert at this yet but I'm getting there!

It can be quite hard to determine which era a piece is from but I do have a few tips that may help you figure out if that pretty dress you have in your wardrobe is from the 50's or the 60's...or maybe is it an early 70's piece? Let's find out!

1. The style
It can be difficult to determine a vintage piece's birth just by style but after a while you can get the hang of it. The dresses in the 1950's and early 1960's can be quite similar but the big difference is that design was a lot freer in the 1960's. The A-line style was very popular in the 50's which spilled into the 60's also but the introduction of the 'mini' and pinafore dresses in the 1960's changed everything and made a clear division between the two decades. The 70's was all about the long maxi dresses, as well as flared trousers, platforms, ethnic style clothing and anything 'disco'. The 1980's was all about power dressing for women so lots of padded shoulders and business suits. There was also a lot of glitz and glamour in the 1980's, extravagant ball gowns and meringue style dresses. Think Madonna meets Princess Diana! And these days the 1990's is pretty much considered vintage and I suppose in a few months it technically will be, so for the 90's think Nirvana meets The Spice Girls!

2. The label (if there is one)
A label on the piece can be a great clue. Google it! A lot of the time you will find out the date of the piece this way.

3. Small details and construction
The older the piece, the more likely it will be hand-sewn so newer vintage pieces often have straighter stitching etc. Hemlines were also thicker before the late 1970's which is a good indicator.

4. Material
Like style, it takes time to determine the age of a vintage piece just by it's material but there are generally a few materials that go hand in hand with certain decades. Lycra was big in the 80's, polyester in the 60's and 70's and cotton and rayons in the early 60's and 50's.

So there you have it, follow these few tips and you'll more than likely be able to date any vintage piece (and I don't mean dinner and a movie!)


  1. Great post! I have serious trouble dating vintage stuff sometimes.

  2. Thanks girls! I had fun writing it! Still really just learning myself too :)