Lady Manhattan, Part II

I’ve spent a great deal of the past three days looking for ads for Lady Manhattan, but I’ve not found a single one in my fashion magazines in the years between 1953 and 1962.  They did advertise, as there are ads for sale on ebay (something I really do not understand) but maybe they were placed in regular women’s magazines like Good Housekeeping or McCall’s.

One thing that made me think my silk blouse was later 1950s was that a 1954 ad I saw on ebay  had a facsimile label as part of the ad.  That label is the one you see above.  While I could not locate an ad in my magazines, I did happen upon a second Lady Manhattan blouse.

What is really interesting about this earlier Lady Manhattan shirt is that it is so similar in construction to a man’s casual shirt.  I’ve seen a lot of men’s shirts from the early to mid 1950s that have an open collar like my new lady’s shirt.  The fabric is a nice cotton shirting like you’d expect to find in a man’s shirt.

There is a chest (breast?) pocket, and the sleeves are inserted like those in a man’s shirt.

There is a placket for the cuff opening, something that is not usually seen in a woman’s blouse.  I was really surprised at the French cuffs.

The seams are flat felled, and are the smallest, neatest ones I’ve seen on a mid-priced garment.

If you look back at the later silk shirt, you can still see vestiges of a man’s shirt in the design.  The open neck collar, the French cuffs, and the curved hemline are almost identical to this cotton shirt.  But the fabric is softer, the pocket and cuff plackets are gone, and the seams are French.  It has the feel of a blouse rather than of a shirt.

I actually bought this piece to wear, as I’ve been looking for some prints to add to my mostly solid and striped wardrobe.   I found it in a fantastic vintage clothing booth in an antique mall in Taylors, South Carolina, which is in the Greenville area.   She also has an Etsy shop, Kate Dinatale Vintage.  It was such a pleasure finding a vintage store in my area where the items are beautifully presented and reasonably priced.


And finally, here is the full view.  And today while rummaging through my button box, I found a forgotten pair of mother of pearl cuff links.



Filed under Shopping, Sportswear, Vintage Clothing

12 responses to “Lady Manhattan, Part II

  1. i think you will love the fit….the mens tailoring will give it a more crisp look…i hope you love it!


  2. Lynne

    Another absorbing look at vintage fashions, Lizzie. I poked around for 1950’s Lady Manhattan ads and found some from between those years. What I noted in particular, though, is that the ads from 1954 and 1955 (primarily) featured an advertising campaign for man-tailored Lady Manhattan Golden Needle shirts that were “the shirt off his back.” They noted the: French cuffs; tapered sleeves; convertible collar–smart when closed, elegant when open; French fronts; anchored buttons; etc. in their Lady Manhattan shirts.

    I also found a 1956 label that did not look like yours, but a 1954 one that was styled like yours, without the Golden Needle addition, although that Golden Needle was mentioned in the ad. So, I think you are exactly correct that the shirt seems to date to 1954-1955.



  3. Helen

    Love your shot of the label on this blouse. Great design with the golden needle and with curly font of Lady Manhattan . Enjoy owning it!


  4. What high quality construction! It’s certainly better than my best work.


  5. Beth Pfaff

    I think there was a Manhattan shirt manufacturing factory in my hometown of Lexington , N.C. It was probably there in the ’50’s and 60’s. I am know it is long gone now, but I wonder if there is any information on the plant and its products. I never knew anyone personally who worked there.


  6. I came across two Lady Manhattan blouses and thought of you. They appear to be from the 80s and the print on one of the blouses and the labels are sweet. I tweeted photos of them to you as I thought you’d might like to check them out.


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