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One clue is that graphic design, on more recent labels, extends from the manufacturer right to the size tag - like the use of negative space above the size tag on the LOFT label shown above.Sizes have trended back to small, medium or large in the most recent decade.The style of the jacket, along with the older logo style on the label date this to the late 1940's or early 1950's.During the later part of the 1950's and the early part of the 1960's items were often imported from the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong.
You rarely see a dress marked a size 2, 4, or even a 6 before the 1980's.
Take a look in your closet and tell me if you see anything made from Dynel, Acrilan, Fortrel, Lurex or Vycron. The style of the label's graphics can also be a clue as to the time period of the clothing.
While many of these fabrics provided great wash and wear, non-fading and permanent press options, many of them were still experimental and later proved unstable. This Checkaberry dress has great late 1960's graphics, and, although marked a size 12, is closer to a modern 4 or 6.
They are often beautifully embroidered and designed.
There is also an annoying manufacturing trend that develops in the 1990's to label almost everything as needing to be dry-cleaned! Modern labels continue to be sophisticated, with new materials tried all the time.