Lesser Know Label- Roger Van S for Fine Quality 50s 60s Purses

roger Van S purse

Roger Van S purse

Did I ever mention I love vintage purses?  I’m embarrassed to admit to how many I have stored in my closet! And one of my new favorite vintage purse labels is Roger Van S. Anyone who loves to collect and wear authentic vintage purses needs to know about Roger Van S bags, if you haven’t discovered them already!  I truly have no idea how I had never heard of this company before, up until I recently found this chic little black handbag at a flea market.  I was attracted to it for it’s beautiful pebble textured soft leather, interesting shape and lovely red lining inside. And it was obvious from the construction that it was a high quality piece.

So once I saw the label inside, I had to find out more about the company behind Roger Van S. I love to find out the history behind a label, which often adds to my appreciation of the piece.  And this case is no exception!


Doris Bryn in leotards

Doris Bryn in leggings

Doris Bryn, a model, who appeared in many magazines in the 1940s and 50s, met and married Roger Van Shoyck when they were both attending the University of Cincinatti.  While she was still a cover girl she and her husband started an accessory line with the labels Roger Van S. and Mr.R. And, though their products bore her husband’s name,  Doris was the actually the chief designer.

The photo above shows two models wearing what we now call “Leggings”. Doris is on right wearing hers beneath a dress. Yes,  these were popular even back in 1943! She also appeared in Vogue, Ladies Home Journal,  Cosmopolitan and Look magazine, was a Palmolive Girl and appeared in ads for Camay Soap before she took up her career in accessory design.

Anyway, according to this article from Duke University, which houses a whole collection of historical manuscripts called the “Doris Bryn Papers”,  not only did Doris design beautiful, fine quality purses, she also designed, belts, shoes, jewelry and dresses.  And originally the business ran as a craft cooperative to employ disabled veterans.

Their cutting edge designs were elegant and sophisticated, selling at Lord and Taylor, Neiman Marcus, B. Altman and other high end department stores. And in 1966 Doris won a design award from the Leather Industries of America.

Roger Van S umbrella purse

Roger Van S umbrella purse

Here is a photo of one of their unique handbag designs from 1949

Buyer at Thalheimers' department store & Roger Van S.

Buyer at Thalheimers’ department store & Roger Van S.

Above two photos are courtesy of Bag Lady Emporium.

After my find, I immediately started looking for more Roger Van S. bags. And I discovered there is a limited selection on line. Here are a few that have caught my eye. Click on images to take you to product page.

Black Roger Van S bag with brass filigree trim

Black Roger Van S handbag with brass filigree trim

 Available on Poshmark for &74.00

The ones below are all on Etsy.

Roger Van S. Wicker and leather purse

Roger Van S. Wicker and leather purse

For the jetsetter! Vintage Roger Van S wicker purse with  leather patches embossed with famous travel destinations!  $40.00

Roger Van S envelope clutch

Roger Van S envelope clutch

60s Roger Van S. tapestry envelope clutch. $48.00

Roger Van S black leather belt

Roger Van S black leather belt

 I even found this black leather Roger Van S. belt with fabulously unique buckle! Only $39.99

Do you own any Roger Van S. bags or other accessories? If not, be sure make a note to keep an eye out for this lesser known  label when out shopping antique malls, flea markets, etc.  The quality is definitely superior to  new handbags in the same price range.

Have a glamorous day!

By | 2015-03-04T17:16:10-04:00 March 4th, 2015|Fashion, Labels to Look For|2 Comments

About the Author:

Hi, I'm Theresa, owner and chief classy dame at the Blue Velvet Vintage online boutique. Lover of mid century fashion and home decor, classic films, Old Hollywood, pretty dresses, red lipstick, swing dancing and retro culture in general. Between my ecommere site and vintage style blog my mission is to revive the eras of classy dressing and inspire women to add more glamour to their lives! So don't be shy! I love to hear from others who share my appreciation of the styles of the past.


  1. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell March 18, 2015 at 9:01 am

    That’s a great idea Jessica! I think purses, especially vintage ones, would make interesting display pieces. What great way to show off your favorites and expand your storage options.

  2. Avatar
    Jessica Cangiano March 18, 2015 at 2:48 am

    Engaging, wonderful look at this line. I’m familiar with it, but have not yet had the pleasure of owning any Roger Van S offerings. Hopefully one day!

    So true about the wealth of purses in your wardrobe. Between modern and vintage, I have amassed my fair share, too, and had to get creative with storing them, as we live in a fairly small condo. My solution? Store those that aren’t used frequently along the tops of book shelves. It does the job and looks fun, too! 🙂

    ♥ Jessica

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