In this blog post I will be discussing an authentic 1960’s formal floral sheath dress that I own manufactured by International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU). There’s so much history compacted into this charming dress – from its manufacturer to its design. I had the opportunity of doing this photo shoot along with another style at The Inn at Market Square Hotel in Zion, Illinois as well as in the town center. This day was a little chilly, will a slight Lake Michigan breeze.
I bought this authentic dress from a local vintage flea market event that occurs monthly in my area called the Grayslake Illinois Vintage & Antique Expo. While browsing at a vendor’s table, I came across this beautiful dress hanging behind a few other vintage dresses. I was particularly drawn to the color of the dress – it appears to be a pinkish-nude or very light tan-brown. At first I was hesitant to purchase it because it didn’t have a size tag. I figured if it’s too big I could get it altered. It was only $18 and worth every penny!
To my surprise it fits comfortably. It has a little bit of room but it’s not too drastic. It’s made of heavy durable material aligned with subtle floral patterned lace and built-in slip underneath. It has a textured feel due to the lace pattern. Overall, I love the feminine floral charm of this dress without being too "showy". It's very graceful and has a classic sheath style. Notice the rectangular shape and circular neckline - which are a few 1960's dress traits.
A Brief History of International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union Tag
As you purchase authentic vintage garments, you may notice a tag on an item that says “International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union” or ILGWU. International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union is among the largest labor unions with predominately a female membership and immigrants. It formed in 1900 and dissolved in 1995. In the early 1970’s the tag changed to red, white and blue colors to promote Americans buying American-made garments and to save American jobs.
Pictured here is an image of the tag from the dress. It appears to be a greenish color. After research it appears to be an authentic vintage dress, dating from the very early 1960’s. Whoa! Talk about owning history!
By examining the stitching of the dress, I believe the dress wasn’t particularly handmade – but created with machinery.
to Dress Up Vintage Apparel – 1960’s Formal Dress
If you have an authentic vintage dress of this style or something similar, I will offer some tips on how to dress it up either modern style or vintage style.
If you’d like to keep a vintage style with this style dress, you can wear vintage gloves and hat. Heels will definitely put a feminine touch to it too!
As pictured, you can see that I’m wearing a brown belt. I figured a belt would give it a nice feminine charm and plus it helps hold in extra space. Using a belt will help your waist look smaller as well.
Due to the unique color, I decided to wear white heels and white gloves to brighten the look. For the fall I would wear brown gloves and brown shoes. It would give it a lovely autumn look as well. Since spring is here and summer is approaching soon, it’s all about bright colors for now! I’ll definitely post a autumn look with this dress later this year. In the photo above I'm wearing a light spring coat by Jessica Simpson. The blush color of the coat matches nicely with the dress.
Since this dress is more formal style I’d suggest wearing gloves, jewelry and heels. This is a wonderful dress to wear to a formal event such as an exquisite dinner, fundraiser event, wedding, or a theatrical show.
Full Outfit Details
Dress: International Ladies' Garment Workers Union
Year: Early 1960's
Gloves: Authentic 1950's
Heels: Leg Avenue
Coat: Jessica Simpson
Location: The Inn at Market Square Hotel - Zion, Illinois
Photos by: Benjamin Scott
View more vintage and vintage-inspired fashion and accessories and more photos from this shoot via my Instagram and Facebook!