How To Date Clothing Tags: A Comprehensive Guide [FAQs]

How To Date Clothing Tags

Have you ever wondered when that vintage dress you found at the thrift store was made? Or maybe you just want to know how old that t-shirt in the back of your closet really is. Whatever your reason may be, dating clothing tags can be a useful skill to have. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to date clothing tags.

1. Look for a copyright date

Many clothing brands will include a copyright date on their tags. This is a great place to start when dating a piece of clothing. However, keep in mind that this date only tells you when the design of the tag was copyrighted, not necessarily when the garment was made.

2. Check for a union label

Union labels were used in the United States from the early 1900s until the late 1980s. These labels can provide valuable information on where and when the garment was made.

3. Look for fabric content

The fabric content of a garment can also give you clues as to when it was made. For example, polyester became popular in the 1960s, so if a tag lists polyester as a fabric content, you know the garment was made after that time.

4. Check for care instructions

Care instructions can also provide helpful information. If a tag includes instructions for dry cleaning, it’s likely the garment was made after the 1920s when dry cleaning became more widely available.

5. Look for branding changes

If a brand has changed its logo or branding over the years, this can also help you date a piece of clothing. Research the brand’s history to see when these changes were made.

6. Check for size changes

Sizing standards have changed over the years, so if a tag lists a size that doesn’t match up with modern sizes, it’s likely the garment is older.

7. Research the brand

Researching the brand can provide valuable information on when it was in operation and what types of clothing it produced.

8. Check for country of origin

The country of origin can also give you an idea of when a garment was made. For example, clothing made in Japan before the 1980s was often labeled “Made in Occupied Japan.”

9. Look for style cues

Finally, look for style cues in the garment itself. Certain styles and trends were popular during specific time periods, so if you can identify these, you can narrow down the garment’s age.

10. Ask an expert

If all else fails, ask an expert. There are many vintage clothing dealers and collectors who specialize in dating clothing tags.


Can I use these methods to date any piece of clothing?

These methods are most effective for dating vintage or older clothing. Newer clothing may not have as many clues as to when it was made.

Can I date clothing tags from other countries?

Yes, many of these methods can be applied to clothing tags from other countries as well.

Are there any resources available for dating clothing tags?

Yes, there are many online resources and books available on the subject.

How accurate are these methods?

These methods can give you a general idea of when a garment was made, but they may not always be 100% accurate.

Why is it important to date clothing tags?

Dating clothing tags can be important for collectors, historians, and anyone interested in the history of fashion.


Knowing how to date clothing tags can help you identify valuable vintage pieces, add to your knowledge of fashion history, and make better-informed buying decisions.


When researching a brand, look for old advertisements or catalogs that can provide more information.


Dating clothing tags can be a useful skill to have for vintage clothing collectors, fashion historians, and anyone interested in the history of fashion. By looking for copyright dates, union labels, fabric content, care instructions, branding changes, size changes, country of origin, style cues, and doing research on the brand, you can get a general idea of when a piece of clothing was made.

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