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How to spot Authentic Vintage at a Thrift Store

   Vintage refers to any clothing that is twenty years or older. So, before you go on a hoot and a shout about your find make sure it is timeless vintage!  Here is the thing, not all vintage is stylish. You have to somewhat have an "Vintage eye" to know the difference.

   Modern styles today seek inspiration from clothes of the past. If you are a new vintage hunter, you might be tricked simply from the garment’s style. You have to check the item for a few distinct characters to truly determine if your find is vintage.
 First and most effective way to spot an authentic vintage item is to check the tag. If it looks like this (left picture) you've found gold! 

Here are a some more things to look for:

  • Union Made
 ILGWU, International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union Clothes that are made from this union are marked with ILGWU. This union was formed in 1900 in New York City. If you find the ILGWU tag to be red, white, and blue, then this garment is dated later than 1974 but earlier than 1995. ILGWU has changed their label eight times since 1900 so the design of your ILGWU garment’s label could give you an idea of the approximate date. Visit this source for tag photos and more information on ILGWU tags.
    • ACTWU, Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America
  •                                             This union is common for men’s vintage attire. Check out this site for more information this union tag.
  • Garment Care Label     
If your piece of clothing has garment care instructions, then your garment is dated at 1971 or later. In 1971, the Federal Trade Commission required all clothing manufacturers to include a garment care label
  • Label Font
This might be a long shot for beginners but vintage garments do have different typography on their labels. This takes practice. The labels of today are different from the labels of yesteryear. Some familiar brands of today also have produced clothes for decades. If you see a label with the same brand name as a modern manufacturer but with a different design than the modern label, you have just found some vintage delight my friend!
  • Lot or Style Number Tag
Sometimes I will find a vintage garment that lacks any recognizable label but does have small tag that classifies a string of numbers as the lot and style numbers. To be more precise, this tag usually has an older font not used by modern manufacturers. The lot and style numbers were a way for earlier manufacturers to keep track of their garment. The lot and style number tag is also popularly placed underneath the brand label.
    Although you could possibly come across really cool authentic vintage in a thrift store, you will not find a thrift item in a vintage store. I’ve had luck finding some of my favorite vintage garb at “The Sal” on Josey Lane in Farmer’s Branch. I love this little hole in the wall.  
    There are chances you could find a thrift outlet that you would have to hunt through thousand of clothing to find vintage treasure. I found a Family Thrift  outlet in Fort Worth I’ll check out later this month. I can’t wait to share! 
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