Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Reliability of RN Numbers

You will see an RN number on most of the clothing out there. It’s a good way to date things. 

But IS it?
 Kristen Wiig Funny Faces

There are a lot of reasons to be careful using them.

If it has in Roman numerals chiseled into the item, it should be in a museum.
...just kidding…

First, the math:  I’ve always hated math and I’ve gone my entire life without once using algebra, so WHY DID I HAVE TO BE TORTURED WITH THAT IN HIGH SCHOOL??

…but I digress…

There is special math to use with an RN number.

The first RN number was issued in 1959.  That number was 13670.
So you would take the RN number on your garment and subtract 13670.  There is an average of 2365 RN’s issued per year, so you then divide your number by 2365.  The number you come out with is added to 1959 and that is supposed to be the year your garment was made.
…but a lot of times, it is NOT! 
Check out this dress:
Look at the details: 

~~rayon that is slightly distressed-looking  
~~tea length 
~~HUGE shoulder pads, shaped like half a pie (or a capital D) 
~~REALLY loose in the bodice and the skirt is tight 
How totally and completely 1980s is this dress?

The RN # is 42435.  So let’s do the math:
42435 – 13670 =  28765.  28765 divided by 2365 = 12.163 (so let’s say 13)
1959 + 13 = 1971 !!!!
There is no way this dress is early 70s.  So then you would have to check out different ways to date it.  The company (Incite) is nowhere to be found.  It was never trademarked or registered for trademark.
So we have to go by the fabric, the styling, and those tell-tale shoulder pads.
Plus it helps if you were around in the 80's to see this fashion phenomenon and properly identify it.

I have a basic, classic button down shirt from the catalog company known as “Tweeds”.  The first time their label was ever used was 1987.  The RN number on my shirt is 72830.
72830 – 13670 = 59160, divided by 2365 = 25.014.  1959 + 25 = 1984.
I got the shirt around 1993/1994.  Do you see how you have to be careful?

So what is an RN# supposed to be?  To make it really simple, let’s just say that was when the pattern for the garment was created. 
Once I had a corset that was styled SO 1950’s.  Even the fabric was 50's corset fabric.  The RN number put it right around 1959/1960.  However here was a smooth Tyvek tag on the inside and remember what I said about smooth Tyvek?  (maybe you should go back to my “When labels are a good thing” –post?;postID=6784840758516237596;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=6;src=postname)  
These were from the late 80's to the present!  So this was created using the vintage pattern and even the vintage fabrics, but it was made much more recently.

There are CA#’s too, but you cannot devise a formula for dating from them.  Those are on clothing from Canada.  I’ll get to WPL#’s someday, but right now I need another nap…
What’s new in my shop is showing up there on the right of the screen>>>>>>>>

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


If you are somewhat resourceful, you can get what you want.  Just don’t be afraid of a little work.

All right…..sometimes more than a little.

It’s worth it to get what you really want.

Maybe you don’t care if your underwear matches.  Maybe you do.  If you do, “underwear” becomes “Funderwear”.   Once I wanted funderwear in aqua.  Good grief, forget finding a week’s worth in that color!  So I bought everything in white and dyed it aqua.
Problem solved. (I got what I wanted)

I have been a lover of berets for a long time.  Once I wanted one with a leopard print (once again, Hey I’m from New Jersey)  I looked everywhere but eventually found a newsboy cap in leopard.  (In a thrift shop of course), so I got it and cut the newsboy peak off of it and VOILA:

I seem to have inordinately long arms.  As a kid, I remember my Mom trying coats on me and my wrists never seemed to be covered.

I’m thinking I may be a bit behind in the evolutionary chain….

So to this day, my wrists are always hanging out and when the weather gets cold, my uncovered wrists make me even colder.
So I bought a pair of those ugly fuzzy socks in a thrift shop and cut the toes off, winding up with this:

I slip my hands through the toe end and cover them with my long sleeves (that are never long enough) and let the sock cuff hang out at the wrist.
Toasty....but I'm looking for more in different colors....

One “trendy” (yes I said that) thing that I do like is skinny pants.  I found a white pair (guess where?).  They were super skinny and great-looking BUT, even though I have been done with “The Monthly Curse” for years, I just know that if I wear white pants, it will come back to haunt me!!!!! 
So I dyed them black and wound up with a unique pair in a mottled grayish color that goes with everything.

I am super picky about shoes.  Just looking at the high heels they make nowadays makes me break a hip.  I’m even fussier about sandals.  I am one of very few who can’t stand thongs.  (!!!!)  I found a pair of what was perfect for me in black:
… and after wearing them, I found them so comfortable, I went back to see if they had them in any other colors. 
They didn’t.
So I got another black pair, applied some bleach and glued on a little decoration, getting this result:

A lot of people ask where I got them....

Stain on a favorite piece of clothing?  Sew some lace or an appliqué over it.  I clean with bleach a lot, so I am always getting bleach spots on my clothes and even though they are “knock-around” clothes, I still like to fix them.
Love that vintage jacket or sweater but it has moth holes?  Lace and appliqués are a great way to cover them.  Then you wind up with a one-of-a-kind piece:

OK…I went a little crazy on that one--I grommet-set rhinestones on it too.  The appliques came from of a piece of damaged vintage lingerie-- BUT it was a fabulous late 40s/early 50s jacket and it needed saving!  

Check the thrift shops for vintage lace and appliqués.  Check for them online too.  They can make a modern-day piece look vintage just by sewing it on.  These vintage laces, and ribbons and even feathers (if you can find them) come in handy for making plain recent-day hats look vintage too.  Don’t forget vintage brooches.  Even when they are missing stones they can be fun as hat trim:

Once I looked for a really unusual belt.  I didn’t limit myself to women’s accessories.  I found this in the little boys dept.  (..and now  it’s for sale in my shop):

....a little shameless self-promotion there....

Remember my last post “Buy It Big”?  Don’t limit yourself to plus sizes.  Check the men’s stuff!

So the bottom line here, is that if you dress “outside-the-box” and want exactly what you want, there’s always a way to get it.  It just takes some resourcefulness.
OK…and some extra work too…
(here comes a bit more shameless self-promotion)
Here's what's new in my shop this week: