What was dating like in the 1940s
1960s: Buttons begin to take on a more “cheap” look, and aren’t the same quality of plastic as bakelite or lucite. That’s why they’re also called “hard plastic.” LEFT: 1940s Dress with Side Seam Zipper / RIGHT: 1950s Dress with Centered Back Zipper DATING TIP: Identify whether the garment has a zipper and if so, where the zipper is placed and if it’s metal or plastic.
1920s: Zippers were invented in the late 1800s but weren’t used in clothing until the 1920s, and only in men’s trousers and children’s clothing because they were considered for women to wear!
While “pinking cutters” were patented in 1893, it was the invention of the pinking “shears” (essentially scissors) by Benjamin Luscalzo in 1952 that popularized this seam style.
1960s: Serged seams replace the pinked seam in the 1960s.
I wrote about eight easy ways to identify your garment as vintage, which helped you to recognize whether that great maxi dress you thrifted was actually from the ’70s or was just a 2012 lookalike.
Speaking of thrifting, I’ve also shared clues on how to identify vintage clothing labels in a thrift store and I’ve explained 11 ways to know a piece is vintage by its labels and tags and how the ILGWU union label can help you to date a garment’s era, too.
LEFT: 1940s Bakelite Plastic Button / RIGHT: 1960s Plastic Button DATING TIP: Identify whether the buttons are bakelite plastic, lucite plastic or modern plastic.
1970s – TODAY: Plastic zippers found along the center back of a garment officially reign supreme — and are what we’re left with today!1940s: The zipper is accepted in women’s clothing, horray!Zippers (always metal) are most often found along the side seam.Test a button’s bakelite authenticity by spraying a Q-tip with 409 cleaner and rubbing it against the button. 1950s: If the button is clear, you’re most likely looking at lucite, a transparent type of plastic invented in 1931.Lucite buttons were most popular on garments of the ’50s.