Your Go-To Guide To Buying Vintage Single Stitch T-Shirts

What is a Single Stitch Tee?

The single stitch construction shows a single row of stitching securing the hem edges and sleeve cuffs of the garment. On most modern t-shirts the standard double row of stitching is now used. 

 

 

Key Dates

The single stitch construction was the most common method of t-shirt manufacture during the 1980s and 1990s circa within the USA. If you’re in the market for a pre 1999 vintage piece but you’re unsure about dates, the single stitch construction will generally always have the vintage stamp of approval. 

 

 

Look and Feel

The material of a single stitch t-shirt is almost as important, if not equal to the stitch itself. These tee’s have a softness no double stitch t-shirt could replicate. Single stitch garments do not hold creases like a firm cotton shirt; their breathable, paper thin fabric holds value like no other. 

 


Buying Single Stitch T-Shirts

As touched upon in the above point, when shopping for single stitch t-shirts the look and feel of the garment, from the material to how it hangs is a tell-tale sign that it is a vintage piece. If that isn’t enough to reassure you, the single row stitching construction that stands out amongst common double stitch tee’s will confirm that early 90’s era.


A Ringer T-Shirt has a different coloured neckline and sleeve cuffs to the body of the t-shirt. The single row of stitching might be hard to see with a ringer t-shirt, so consider the material and how it feels. If it’s soft enough to sleep in you’ve got yourself a single stitch tee. 


You may have heard the term 50/50 or Fifty-Fifty when shopping for Vintage t-shirts; this refers to the material composition being 50% cotton and 50% polyester. Yet again this blend provides a soft-to-touch garment that sticks out amongst any standard firm double stitch tee. 

 



Single Stitch Nowadays 

Brands and designers nowadays use the single stitch construction to replicate the Vintage aesthetic. Their thick lines of stitching secure slightly firmer and rigid fabric highlighting the difference in the original paper thin tee’s. 


To End

Vintage t-shirts are a gateway into vintage fashion; understanding what to look out for will not only simplify your shopping experience, but it will enable you to find unique pieces that will upgrade your wardrobe tenfold. 

January 08, 2021 — Hannah Smith

Is Your Vintage Ralph Lauren The Real Deal?

From Depop to Ebay, it’s never been easier to find vintage clothing online and, as with sales in regular brick and mortar stores, it’s the bigger-name brands which tend to be the most popular. However, one of the most difficult things to determine, especially when buying from individual sellers rather than established stores, is whether or not the items you’re interested in are actually authentic.

Big names in vintage clothing are often faked by sellers looking to make an easy buck, whether by switching labels or craftily stitching new logos onto off-brand garments. Even the most distinctive labels and items have been forged in a way that would be unrecognisable to the untrained eye, and thanks to its simple design, Ralph Lauren is one of the most popular brands with fraudsters.

 

Genuine Ralph Lauren label

Genuine Ralph Lauren label

Here, we’ll go through some of the key ways to tell an authentic Ralph Lauren garment from a fake.

Know the history of your favourite brands

This doesn’t exactly mean that you should be able to recall the names of designers and company CEOs like you used to learn kings and queens in history class. However, having a rough idea of when the label and designs you like first went on sale can immediately help you spot a few red flags. In the case of identifying vintage Ralph Lauren clothing, remember, for example, that the iconic polo logo was first introduced in 1971 and that the polo shirt came out the following year. This will immediately save you the risk of buying anything purporting to be “authentic” sixties Ralph Lauren clothing.

Inspect the polo player

Of course, the quality of the stitching for the brand’s polo pony logo should be second to none — after all, it’s the one mark that will distinguish your vintage shirt as a true Ralph Lauren. Over time, though, forgers have become far more adept at recreating it, and often hope to show off their skills by applying it to every item of fake Ralph Lauren clothing that they can. This in itself is a giveaway, as the horse typically shows up on tops and shirts more frequently than shorts, trousers, and jackets.

The quality of the stitching on the logo is also essential to consider. If it looks shoddy on the outside, it’s almost certainly a fake, but even those which seem perfectly-stitched at first glance need closer inspection. The inside of your garment will prove the truest test and if there are a few too many loose threads or lumps in the stitching for your liking, follow your instinct and stay away.

 

Fake Ralph Lauren label

Fake Ralph Lauren label

Always read the label

Often, fake labels will have been carelessly stitched onto existing non-branded clothing, so be mindful of how they appear when you’re trying to identify vintage Ralph Lauren clothing. The real labels fall into one of two categories — grey on blue for older items, and gold on blue for newer ones — and will either be displayed as tags sewn onto the neck, or in the case of some makes of t-shirt, printed on in the same colours. Any other Rycolour scheme should be an immediate warning sign. The label should be sewn onto the clothing with the same colour thread as the garment itself, which is also how the buttons should be attached.

However, it isn’t just the style, but the information on the label that will indicate whether or not your vintage Ralph Lauren clothing is authentic. The size will either be displayed on a separate tag next to the main label, or stitched in right next to it with a factory number printed nearby. If the label has been cut — and vintage Ralph Lauren retailers often have legitimate reasons for doing this, mainly to prevent canny shoppers from buying second hand and trying to return them to a retail store — the laundry tag will provide a final clue. These laundry tags are generally informative, offering relatively detailed guides on how to care for your garment. If the information is sparse, then so are the chances of your Ralph Lauren clothing being authentic.

Hemming and hawing

A final giveaway for spotting a fake Ralph Lauren polo shirt is the hem of the item. Unlike other brands of polo shirt, Ralph Lauren will always have a slightly shorter hem at the back than they do at the front, with a split at the sides. This is because when the brand first introduced these shirts to the market, they were designed to be tucked into the front of the wearer’s trousers or shorts. No split hem, or an even hem, means that the garment you're looking at isn’t the real deal and should be avoided at all costs.

December 18, 2020 — Ryan Fidell

The Complete Guide To Vintage Levi's Tabs

Why do Levi’s have different colour tabs? Why have some Levi’s got big ‘E’s’ and others small? Why has the tab been cut off on my vintage Levi’s? As the first name on everybody’s lips when asked about the world’s most famous Denim brand, Levi’s traces its origins to Bavarian immigrant Levi Strauss (1829-1902), who emigrated to San Francisco in 1850, where he noticed a demand for durable pants from the miners of the US Gold Rush, and Levi’s was born. However, it wasn’t until the 1890’s, 40 years later however, that Levi’s created their first pair of their most famous jeans, Levi’s 501.

 

Why do Levi’s have a red tab on the back pocket?

Instantly recognisable despite their small size, Levi’s tabs are the trademark of Levi’s. A small piece of fabric tied to the brand across the world, the Levi’s tab stands for quality and craftsmanship in line with the brand’s core values and production of high quality goods. Off the back of an expired patent in the late 19th century, Levi’s needed to set themselves apart. Many other jeans being produced at the time had similar pocket stitching, a patch on the waistband, and not to mention being blue. Thus, Chris Lucier, national sales manager of Levi’s at the time, came up with the idea of the red tab with ‘Levi’s’ sewn in white, such that the brand could be seen and recognised at first sight. By the turn of the century, with the brand growing in recognition, you immediately knew if someone was wearing a pair of Levi’s. The tab was then patented in 1936 and has since been at the forefront of ruthless copies around the world. It's so heavily imitated that Levi’s now hire full-time members of staff to catch out and sue the sellers of those using their red tab!

 

Vintage Levi's Denim Jeans

The Big ‘E’

A collectors item! Have a pair of Levi’s with a full capital spelling in Levi’s on the tab? You’ve got yourself a pair of pre-1971 jeans. As time progresses, ‘Big E’ tabs, as they’re known in the industry, are increasingly hard to come by, and even harder in top condition!

The Small ‘E’

So why did Levi’s change to a small ‘e’? In 1971, Levi’s decided to switch the spelling of the tab back to a lowercase ‘e’, in order to make it easier for collectors to differentiate the 2 era’s of Levi’s pre and post 1971.

Blank Tab

My Levi’s don’t have any text on the tab? As we mentioned before, Levi’s take counterfeit of their trademark very seriously, requiring legal over-time to maintain the right to market for their trademark. To strengthen this, Levi’s produce a limited batch of products with a completely blank plain tab, aside from their trademark symbol. This proves ownership and trademark of the tab and it’s positioning, not just the wording on the tab. My Levi’s tab is a different colour?

 

Vintage Levi's Blank Tab Denim Jeans

Orange Tab

Orange tab is the experimental arm of Levi’s design team, differentiating from the popular Levi’s fits such as the 501. In the 1960’s Levi’s introduced the orange tab as their ‘fashion denim’, spanning their entire range from Jackets to caps, flares and bootcuts, orange tab became a staple of the youth, blurring the lines between classic denim silhouettes, and moving away from the comfort zone of fits that Levi’s were known for. Orange tab are our favourite type of Levi’s, they’re slightly harder to come by, due to their age, but they often fill the void for that ‘perfect pair of denim jeans’ that everyone is always looking for! Top tip: To distinguish between 60’s and 70’s orange tab, and subsequently high value in the former, keep an eye out for care labels, as these weren’t legally enforced in the USA until 1971.

 

White Tab

Not seen too often, Levi’s White tab ran between the 60’s and 70s and are most commonly seen on Levi’s range of corduroy, including corduroy trousers and jackets. 

 

Women's Vintage White Tab Levi's Denim Jeans

Black Tab

Levi’s Black Tab complete with gold lettering was used during the 1960s for Levi’s products treated in the then- new Sta-Prest process, or anti-wrinkle, to you and I. Still used in the present day on black denim, Levi’s black tab are now solely used for aesthetic reasons only.

Silver Tab

Recognisable on chunky corduroy and baggy streetwear- inspired denim, Levi’s Silver Tab represents the grunge era of the late 80’s and early 90’s.

 

November 10, 2020 — Ryan Fidell