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1970s & EARLIER: Armholes of the ’70s and earlier were small openings, unlike the oversize “muscle man” armholes you might notice in a lot of ’80s garments.

1970s ONWARD: Once the ’70s hit, styles shifted to embracing the space between a woman’s skin and her sleeve.

Reason being that a zipper made it too easy to take one’s clothes off, thus only “easy” women would ever want to wear a garment with one!

1930s: The infamous zipper is rarely seen on garments.

Bakelite was invented in 1909 as the first ever synthetic plastic.

You know a button is bakelite plastic versus a more modern synthetic plastic because it’s almost always colored.

1960s: Buttons begin to take on a more “cheap” look, and aren’t the same quality of plastic as bakelite or lucite. That’s why they’re also called “hard plastic.” LEFT: 1940s Dress with Side Seam Zipper / RIGHT: 1950s Dress with Centered Back Zipper DATING TIP: Identify whether the garment has a zipper and if so, where the zipper is placed and if it’s metal or plastic.

PRE-1940s: French seams were used on turn of the century clothing through the 1940s.

1950s: Metal zippers are more accepted than ever in lady’s garments, and their predominant placement shifts from side seam to back and center middle seam (some dresses still zip along the side seam, however).

1960s: The zipper is now almost always a center back placement.

1960s & EARLIER: Before the ’70s, sleeves were tailored to the wearer’s arm.

The spacing between the fabric and arm was equidistant along all points of the sleeve.


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