Dating clothing by rn number
Companies are required to label covered products with either the name or an identifying number of the business responsible for marketing the products in the U. While the FTC no longer issues WPL numbers, you may still find one in a wool garment. The number is issued by the Federal Trade Commission to U. businesses that manufacture, import, distribute, or sell products covered by the Textile, Wool, and Fur Acts.
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.
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.
--- However, homemade clothing often doesn't have serged seams, so it can look vintage even if it's not.
If your item's seams aren't serged, look for a manufacturer's tag to see if it's commercially made.