Vintage lingerie history....A little tidbit on dating your garments, brand labels etc.
Dating vintage lingerie can be a little tough to pinpoint down to the exact date when it was produced. If you familiarize yourself when labels and fabrics were used, styles and cuts, you can estimate when it was made. Vintage magazine adverts and vintage clothing catalogs will tell you the approximate year of production. There are many other ways to "guestimate" the era of your vintage piece, such as garment labeling (Union labels, RN numbers, and garment care instructions).
- Prior to 1941, most lingerie was created in glorious fabrics of rayon satins and silks. Shortly after 1941, you will see a lot more lingerie was being created in various nylon and nylon blends, although rayon was still used too. Nightgowns and peignoir sets created in fluffy chiffon nylons were very popular in the 1950s and 1960s, and moving forward to the 1970s/80s you will see more all nylon sets without chiffon.
|Pillowtab on a real vintage panty (Vintage Vanity Fair Panty)|
- Vintage lingerie can be dated other ways. If there are "care instructions" on the label, your garment is AFTER 1971.
- Most vintage slips had metal hardware/sliders etc, prior to the late 1960s. Vintage half waist slips and panties, might have a "pillowtab" in the waist and the brand labels are mostly sewn in place in side seams, and hems.
- Panties that have all nylon gussets are most likely made before 1970, and might have a "pillowtab" in the waist.
These panties are even being created in what the seller calls "vintage nylon" and getting away with calling them vintage. PISSES ME OFF! Also, you will see a slew of "vintage nightgowns" that are not real vintage. When in doubt ask your seller if they are authentic true vintage or not and not reproduction panties or nightgowns.
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Garment Labels:Wool Product Labels (WPL): Used from 1941 to 1959.
Registered Numbers (RN): Starting in 1959 and still currently in use. If your garment has no RN number, it most likely is made before 1959. Also, there is a wonderful guide on eBay with the RN numbers of lingerie brands.
Care of Garment Labels: The FTC required in 1971 that textile manufacturers list the garment care instructions on labels (Care Labeling Rule). The labels must have washing, drying, bleaching, ironing, and/or dry cleaning instructions. Rule of thumb, if your garment has care instructions it is most likely created AFTER 1971.
Union Labels (ACWA and ILGWU):
ILGWU: International Ladies Garment Workers Union. Formed in 1900, briefly joining the CIO in 1937, rejoined the AFL in 1940. AFL-CIO merged together in 1955. In 1995 the ILGWU reformed as UNITE. Union labels will show these name and date changes.
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