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While these three tips won’t tell you the exact year or even the definitive era of a piece, they will point your detective skills in the right direction of where to learn more so that you can decide the true vintage style origin of your thrift store find for yourself.

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She says that She has a good point, but how are you to know if you don’t know how to identify or date vintage clothing.

So you toss the dress into your cart for purchase without ever knowing its true vintage identity.

CAUTION: The RN# issue date does not give the manufacture date of the garment. A registered identification number or RN is a number issued by the Federal Trade Commission, upon request, to a business residing in the U. that is engaged in the manufacture, importing, distribution, or sale of textile, wool, or fur products. They may, however, use the RN in place of a name on the label or tag that is required to be affixed to these products. RN numbers were issued under the Fur Products Labeling Act from 1952 through 1959.

gov History WPL numbers were issued from 1941 through 1959 under the Wool Products Labeling Act. These numbers start at 00101 and continue to 04086.

What you’ve just found is a “union” tag, identifying the piece as clothing made by a group of American workers who have banded together (“unionizing”) for better employment opportunities and fair wages.

HOW TO SPOT IT: Look for union tags sewn immediately behind or next to the designer/label tag of a clothing garment.

If you have a maker tag, and you are trying to determine how old the garment is, but you don't have the RN #, you can enter the company name into the database, and, if the company has a number, it will come up with the company name and address.

How to Estimate the RN # Issue Date Since the database doesn't have the actual issue dates for the numbers before August 6, 1998, how do we determine approximately when the number was issued?

If it was issued in the 60s, you will need to use other means to determine a date for the garment.

NOTE: If something has an RN # of 13670 or higher, it cannot be older than 1959.

It is helpful if you have something you think may have been made in either the 1960s or the 1980s.