How to Identify Vintage Maxi Dresses by the Era

Vintage Maxi Dresses

Maxi dresses are a classic vintage look. By definition, a maxi dress is a floor or ankle-length dress for informal occasions. They are sometimes fitted at the top, but will typically be loose all over. They are comfortable, versatile, and effortlessly fashionable. 

We can see the maxi dress style in the fashion of the 40s and 50, but the design really took off in the 1960s. The free and flowing style came and never left, paving a way for comfortable yet high-end female clothing and redefining what was in trend. It allowed fashion to say goodbye to the mini-skirts and corset-style tops of the previous decades, welcoming a new style of clothing. 

The maxi dress never really went out of style, rather, adapted itself to the trend of the era. Because of this, vintage and secondhand stores are full of beautiful maxi dresses. From the earlier prototypes of the maxi dress to the classic 70s floral designs, we can be sure to find a maxi dress perfect for us. In order to find the best maxi dress, we need to shop at the best online vintage clothing store and visit reliable retailers. This means we can identify the era of the maxi dress and find top-quality pieces!

Okay, so how do we actually identify vintage maxi dresses by the era? What are our top tips?! 

Identify the Brand

When buying any vintage clothing, it is super important to look at the tag or label before you buy. It tells you so much about the garment and lets you identify the brand of the clothing. 

When you know the brand, you can give it a quick search on Google to find out more about the company and when it was manufacturing clothes. However, because this might not narrow it down that much, this is just the first step on how identifying the era of a maxi dress. 

Identify the Fabric 

Perhaps you have a maxi dress, and you have identified the brand as Liberty London. But, because this department store has been open for over a hundred years, this fact really doesn’t help in finding out the era of the dress! So, what next? 

Take a look at the fabric type! 

Here is a general guide on fabrics and decades. Of course, maxi dresses were made out of different types of fabrics in each decade, but these materials were the most popular. 

  • 50s – Rayon, nylon, and chiffon
  • 60s – Acrylic, cotton, and linen
  • 70s – Polyester and cotton
  • 80s – Polyester and cotton 

Identity the Colors and Patterns

Hopefully, now that you know the brand and fabric of the garment, you are getting there with identifying the era maxi dress! 

The next step in figuring out the decade of the maxi dress is taking a look at the colors and patterns, and considering what was in style in each decade. This can be difficult, especially if you are new to vintage clothing! However, there are some trends of each decade to look out for when you are shopping for maxi dresses. 

The 1950s were big on the full skirt, so maxi dresses with a corset-style waist and circle skirt are typical for this decade. Pastel or dark colors were in fashion, with simple styles and designs. 

When the 60s came, so did big, bold colors and patterns! Maxi dresses from the 60s are pretty loud pieces, with floral designs, paisley prints, and bright colors. 

The 70s still used floral and paisley designs in their maxi dresses but tamed it down a little. The colors were as not as eye-catching as the 60s, and many 70s maxi dresses incorporated lace into their design. 

Maxi dresses from the 1980s are typically made in bold, block colors and exaggerated cuts. Shoulder pads were big in the 80s, and many maxi dresses used them in their design. Pastel colors and abstract designs were also used in maxi dresses during this era. 

The 90s welcomed in a much more demure maxi dress look, with dark colors and subtle designs. The grunge movement of the time incorporated dark florals and simple cuts into their dresses, creating a laid-back but very cool vibe! 

Find The Right Maxi Dress for You!

Whether you are shopping for vintage clothing online or visiting your local thrift store, you will notice the abundance of maxi dresses. These wearable dresses are perfect for both day and night, and allow you to be comfortable and confident in your outfit. 

Whatever your style, whether it be cottagecore, grunge, or retro, there sure will be the perfect maxi dress for you out there with vintage clothing! 

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