What does ILGWU stand for? International Ladies Garment Workers’ Union
It was formed in 1900 and had many different labels throughout the decades through 1995. A fantastic link to use as a reference to labels and the history of the ILGWU itself is located here at the Cornell University Website.
The label I’m showing here is from the 1960s and dress shown.
There is copyright symbol and other markings that show this label was used from 1963 – 1974. Although, in 1970 the label changed to Red, White & Blue and added the MADE IN USA to help promote the line with increased competition from the Imported market.
Therefore we know this label is prior to 1970 and more details of the piece tell me it is most likely mid to late 60s. These are all tools that help identify and date vintage clothing. See more of this item for sale here.
An RN or a registered identification number is issued by the Federal Trade Commission, upon request, to a business residing in the U.S. that is engaged in the manufacture, importing, distribution, or sale of textile, wool, or fur products. Businesses can use this number on product labels instead of the company name. Look for RN on a label or by themselves on the clothing. With this you can search the manufacturer online using this number. More information to apply for OR search RN information is found here at the Federal Trade Commission.
How does this relate to dating vintage clothing?
There has been a formula that helps to date a RN number for clothing from 1959 and later. And I will explain.
RN numbers were first used in 1952 – 1959 and listed using numbers 00101 to 04086 (3 to 4 digits without counting the 0 in front)
1959 they began a with the a new series of numbers starting with 13670 (5 digits)
Anything under the number 13670 is pre- 1959. And will have 3 to 4 digits in the number. The formula is not exact and other factors should be applied when dating the age of a piece. The RN was registered that year but may be used again. Approximately 2635 numbers were issued per year **. So with that knowledge you can use a math equation of:
Sample example I will use RN 35385 – Item looks to be from the late 60s (Button down shirt dress style with long maxi pleated skirt, cinched cuff sleeve, belted with rounded collar. Bold color and pattern)
Take the RN 35385 subtract 13670 (1959 starting number) this = 21715 divide that number by 2635 (average issued numbers per year) which equals 8.2 – round down to 8 for the difference.
Add that number or 8 in this case to 1959 and we get 1967. It’s not an exact science but it helps get you get close to dating when the RN was registered. Only one RN number will be issued per manufacturer. Here you can search the FTC database to give you the manufacturers name and address of business. It will not tell you that the business is no longer active or not. More research must be done to determine that. I also know that this manufacturer, who happens to be Vested Gentress Inc. started in 1961. They may have not registered the RN till later? Businesses are not required to have RN.
Content listings were also required to be on the clothing as of 1960. Some manufacturers complied earlier than that date anyways showing content before requirement took effect.
** Please note that this number differs from site to site you research. I have personally reached out to the FTC to confirm this number and have not heard back as of yet. The other number used is 2165 for average amount of numbers issued per year. That will change the number about 2 years. I will update site when I hear back from FTC for help getting a factual number to use.
How to Measure for Men’s Shirts:
Make sure buttons are closed and not pulling open when you measure across the chest. Sleeve is measured from the shoulder seam at top of shoulder to bottom of cuff. Length of shirt is measured from back of collar to bottom of shirt. Shoulder to shoulder is measured at the back of shirt to the hem of where the sleeve begins. Use something you own to compare measurements for accuracy.