When in doubt, wear a Handmacher suit!


When in doubt, wear a Handmacher suit!

I’m a huge fan of vintage skirt suits, and if you are curious about the reasons, read my article about the 1940s-1950s suits.  I don’t look for any particular brands when searching for a new addition to my growing suit collection. With the exception of the Taylored by Handmacher suits! You can see in the picture below, an example of one of my lovely 1950s Handmacher suits. The exact same one, at least style-wise, was featured in Harper’s Bazaar from 1952.


1950s suit woman Vintage fashion blogger

In the picture on the left, I’m wearing the 1952 Handmacher suit, that appeared in Harper’s Bazaar ad.


A brief history of  Handmacher suits.

  • Alvin Handmacher, the president and co-founder of Handmacher-Vogel Inc., was one of the biggest manufacturers of women suits in the USA in the 1940s, 1950s and the first half of the 1960s. According to the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS), the TAILORED BY HANDMACHER logo was first used in commerce in 1940, so it’s safe to assume that this was the year of the brand’s “birth”.


  •  Handmacher’s ads were very prominent and published in magazines such as Vogue, Harper’s and Mademoiselle. The 1949 TV ad for Weathervane suits was one of the most successful advertising campaigns of its time.

Handmacher suit Ad


  • Advertisement in LIFE magazine from May 11, 1953, reads;


Calanese* acetate wonder fabric used exclusively in the most famous suit in the world. Handmacher’s crisp, cool Weathervanes solve summer suit problem-cost only $25 and $30


Who designed the elegant, stylish and beautifully tailored Handmacher suits?

It was no other than the famous American socialite Jane Derby.

I found in a news article from The Evening Sun (Baltimore, Maryland) 21 July 1958 that Jane Derby, during one of her trips to Paris;

She turned from client to apprentice, working for three couturiers. She was taught to select fabrics, to draft and cut patterns and “to work from the muslin.

After her return from Paris to the USA  she opened a dress shop. And in 1938 presented her first Jane Derby Collection of ready to wear suits and dresses. In 1946 she started designing the famous Handmacher suits for Handmacher-Vogel, Inc. Jane Derby was known for her elegance, sophistication and extraordinarily good taste, which she translated into her designs. Remember, when in doubt, wear a Handmacher suit!


  • Until 1953, Alvin Handmacher was the main sponsor of LPGA tour -The Ladies Professional Golf Association. The person responsible for convincing Alvin Handmacher to invest a lot of money into LPGA was its tournament director, the brilliant Fred Corcoran, knows as “Mr Golf”. Corcoran’s daughter wrote in her book Fred CorcoranThe Man Who Sold the World on Golf;


Fred wouldn’t go so far as to say that without Alvin Handmacher and his Weathervane Championships, there wouldn’t be a women’s pro tour today. But make no mistake about it – Alvin put the Ladies’ PGA in business.


The legendary “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias represented Weathervane women’s sports clothes manufactured by Handmacher who paid her $10000 a year to wear his clothes. 


*Editor’s note

I would gladly represent the Handmacher brand in exchange for an endless supply of his magnificent suits.

Here is a new to me late 1940s Handmacher suit.

Paired with;

A 1940s brooch

A 1950s gloves

French Sole Penelope Ankle Tie

Wolford tights

1940s Handmacher suit Vintage fashion blog


1940s Handmacher suit

Handmacher ad

French Sole flats

1940s Handmacher suit vintage fashion blog

4 Responses
  • Avatar
    Eva Bayrak
    May 2, 2020

    I love your site!! I am a vintage obsessed and collector, and I try to buy mostly vintage, but sometimes is tricky to find day to day basics for my outfits, that is why I felt the need to create


    Ive just launched the first vintage inspired womenswear collection 100% made in Barcelona, Spain in a very sustanaible way. I hope you like it!


    • Dominique de Merteuil
      Dominique de Merteuil
      May 4, 2020

      Hi Eva,
      I’m thrilled to hear that you like It’s Beyond My Control!
      90% of my garments are from the 1930s, the 1940s and the first half of the 1950s. I know what you mean about the day to day basics, especially for running around the park with a dog. I usually opt for a pair of Jodhpurs I would wear for horseriding and a simple 1940s blouse.Thank goodness for dress shields! 🙂

      I’ve just had a look at your website and see that you are influenced by the 1950s?

  • Avatar
    April 30, 2020

    This suit, like all of your outfits, brings to the fore your striking and impressive looks! These suits are very flattering on someone of your height – love your delightful shoes too!
    Donna ‍♀️❤️

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