If you’re new to vintage it can often be quite confusing to spot what is truly vintage and what is retro. Ebay and some more dodgy vintage shops are full of last week’s Forties look-a-like Primark tea dresses labelled as vintage – be it deliberate or not. So how can you spot if something is modern? one good tip is to look at care labels.

Care labels, the washing instructions you can find in most modern clothing, were introduced in the US in 1971. In the UK they are still not mandatory today but most clothing from the mid-Seventies onward does contain them. So if you do find a care label in a piece of clothing, you can be pretty sure it was made between the Seventies and now.

This can be very useful. Take a look at the two coats in the picture for example, they look and feel very similar, both are cut in a Fifties style and both could seemingly be vintage.

If you take a look at the labels though, you’ll see that the blue coat only has a brand label, while the green coat does contain a modern care label. It is in fact from Topshop, where I bought it a few years ago.

So if you do come across a piece of clothing that looks Sixties or pre-Sixties, doesn’t have a brand label or doesn’t give you other clues, then check for the care label. If it does have one, you can be fairly sure you’re looking at a modern repro version.


3 Responses

  1. Perdita

    A bit of a novelty worth noting- some high end stuff I’ve seen from the 60s had something similar to a care label recommending a dry cleaner (as in one in particular). Strange but true! Obviously people didn’t move house much- they thought- back then!