In the picture above a Saint Laurent’s frogged hussar coat and Dior’s evening coat. From Vogue September 1969, in case you were wondering. So no , I didn’t use a current fashion photo, these are not available anymore but if they are for you for some reason, hail to you!
In case yo haven’t figured it out, I specialize in vintage, and want to bring all my wisdom to you haha. So let’s talk zippers. They were called that way because of duh, the sound they make when you zip them up!
Who needs a psychologist when a zipper can tell you all you needed to know and beyond. Here goes, how to identify yourself and the vintage clothes on your back just by looking at the zipper. But, caution, vintage garments can have the zipper replaced later on or the garment can also be new produced and have a vintage looking zipper to obtain the vintage look. Zippers are a good indication, but always look at the garment as a whole. Take note of different finishes, between handmade seams or machine made, and look at the tissue as well as the style of the garment.
The zipper AB-Z
Metal zipper. Zippers were not commonly used on women’s dresses until the late 1930. If there’s a metal zipper present, it might be an indication that the dress is pre 1960.
Plastic zippers start to appear in the 1930’s on haute couture dresses as a sign of modernity. These zippers resemble the style of the metal zipper with its individual teeth. This is a good sign the garment is 1930’s to 1960’s.
Then, around 1960, the nylon plastic zipper came along in haute couture and became very popular from 1968 on in mass produced garments. Because you know, copying was always a thing, even in the sixties.
But, before zippers where placed, press stud or hook fasteners where totally on trend. This might be an indication that your garment might be pre 1930’s. And if you found a so and so, hurrah!
Where the zipper is placed
If the zipper lies under the edges of both seams rather than just underneath one you’re dealing with concealed zippers. and your vintage piece is likely to be post 1958. I like the concealed zipper, I sometimes wonder why the hell it took them so long to invent them. And how and why today’s fashion designers sometime choose a bare zipper is beyond my comprehension.
From the 1940 on, zippers were no longer inserted in a flap in the seam and appeared in sleeves, necks, replacing button fasteners as a modern feature.
The side seam zipper can be an indication that the garment is pre 1940’s since side seam zippers were used from the late 1930’s till the 1960’s. Front zippers could also be seen from late 1930’s as an alternative to the button front dress.
Side seams and full back center zippers, snaps are becoming rarer from the 1950’s on.
In the 1960’s the popular zipper is full back center. On rare occasions the side seam zipper still show’s up. From the 1970’s on the zipper is placed in the center back half and full, rarely there is any other placement.
So now you know, whenever in doubt, flip ya zipper !