I remember the moment I found this skirt — it was buried in the racks of a Wal-Mart sized Salvation Army in the boonies of southern Pennsylvania last summer. It was an under appreciated, under seen, under worn and until that moment, under Found piece of vintage glory … and for the thrift-savvy price of less than $5!
It was — and still is — in mint condition. Its forest green base with just the perfect geometric mix of bright red, yellow and blue plaid was undeniably bolder than the average color palette of a modern skirt, as if this piece were a couture piece made from the finest dyes. The skirt pleats had hardly been touched, much less sat on or walked in. It was almost as if this skirt had found its way straight from the factory where it was made and into the thrift store I shopped it from.
While undeniably made in the US because of its estimated vintage birth year of the late 60s or early 70s, the skirt was missing a proper union tag. Unions were heavily regulated in the production of US clothing by the 1960s. The Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America had formed in 1915 in Rochester, New York, and over the next decades would successfully unionize hundreds of factories across the United States, as well as forming a union just for women working in the clothing industry, as well.
So, due to the absence of a union tag in the skirt, a few conclusions can be made.
First, it was not made in a unionized factory, but it’s clear that it was made in a US factory because of another tag: a “Lot” tag that says “Lot [insert number here]“. The number of pieces in a lot varies, as determined by the company directing the production of the piece. The company could therefore order 10 “lots” of 20 pieces, or 200 total pieces, from a factory.
Second, the skirt may have been an inexpensive “brand” because it was not made in a unionized factory, where wages were typically higher and therefore the production cost of the garments more expensive. That price different was then passed onto the consumer, who would pay a bit more for clothing made by union workers.
Third … enough about the back history! It’s time to get a closer look at this magical mint number, scored for about the same price as my favorite drink at Starbucks but worn with a whole lot more love!
I rocked it at a photo shoot for the national consignment store Second Time Around for an upcoming post on tips to shop consignment … but if you scroll down after the jump, you’ll see how this skirt was styled in a Sammy Davis Vintage photo shoot last summer with Ashley There Photography. Model Rebecca wore it with a light pink, sheer top and brown flats. We added a brown belt to draw connection from the shoes to the waist, and to tone down the “brights” of this bold, beautiful print!
Check back to the site later this week for posts on how to recycle vintage fur, a brand-new video on my latest vintage closet clean out … and how 2011 style trend predictions were influenced by the past.
Hope everyone is having a fabulously fashionable Monday — and staying warm if you are in cold weather areas!
THE LOOK: Pretty in Plaid!
’80s HAIR BOW: Vintage closet clean out in Long Island
NECKLACE: Compliments of friends “cleaning out their closets”
BRACELET: Compliments of friends “cleaning out their closets”
MODERN LACE SHIRT: The Limited, circa 2004
RIBBON BELT: Vintage closet clean out, Maryland
BELT BUCKLE: 1920s, previously owned by 90-year-old Great Aunt
PLAID SKIRT: Salvation Army find!
SHOES [unseen here]: Brown heeled Naturalizers, department store sale
SAMMY DAVIS VINTAGE & ASHLEY THERESE PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTOSHOOT
Tags: 1970s fashion, Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, ashley therese photography, factories, plaid skirt, pleat skirt, rebecca werner, salvation army, sammy davis style, second time around, thrift store outfits, thrift store style, union tags, unions, vintage fashion, vintage fashion history, vintage fashion style, vintage outfit, womens vintage