Leather purses are a timeless piece that only gets better with age, which is exactly why finding a quality vintage bag is both stylish and practical. Many women can own a leather purse for decades and pass them down because they chose a classic, well-made item. I am going to go through my top four brands for finding your own classic leather purse to carry you through both this season and seasons to come.
Dooney & Bourke: I am a big fan of Dooney both vintage and new because of the styles and quality. Their signature “all-weather leather” is so durable, which is why you can easily find authentic, vintage Dooney bags.
Vintage bags can be found in stores, but you may have better luck online. The advantage to buying in store is you can examine the product yourself to see if it is real or a knock-off. This article has some great tips for authenticating the handbag, but I think the best give away is the stitching. Dooney bags have incredible stitching, so if there is any stitching that looks crooked, it’s a knock off. When buying online, check the photos against the tips for authenticating the bag and don’t be afraid to ask questions. I find that Etsy is the best place for vintage Dooney bags and most sellers are pretty up front about the product.
New Dooney bags can be found on their website, or at Macy’s, Norstrom, and Carson’s. I find that Macy’s will sometimes run sales that include Dooney & Bourke, which is the best time to buy them. I have the zip top bag (below) in white for summer, and it’s my favorite purse. I think structured hang bags with a top handle are so timeless and lady-like.
Coach: This brand can be a little tricky, but it seems that lately they have been coming back to their roots with a more subtle style. I enjoy the understated, classic look as opposed to the giant “C” pattern across the entire purse. My friend has a vintage Coach crossbody, much like the one below, that was her mom’s. I bet she will be able to give it to her future daughter someday as well. Again, Etsy is a great place to find vintage Coach items.
New Coach purses can be found at their retail stores, Macy’s, and online. I’m not familiar enough with the product to know any tips on when they run sales, but I believe Macy’s is a better bet to find them on sale as opposed to their retail store. This red cross body is gorgeous and you can see the quality just from the photo.
Fossil: I’m a big fan of Fossil from their watches to leather goods, and am very impressed with their hand bags. They come out with great styles every year that are classic with a little bit of an updated retro look that works really well for their products. If you want to score a Fossil bag very inexpensively, check their outlet store and buy out of season. Many outlets (like J Crew Outlet) will make items at an “outlet quality” for the store, but the Fossil outlet is directly from Fossil retail stores so you’re ensured the same quality they sell at full price. Earlier their summer my mom found two Fossil hand bags 80% that are perfect for fall & winter. Check out these two (here and here) from their current collection:
Lauren Ralph Lauren: I’m not talking about their high end $2500 Ricky Bag here, I’m talking about the Lauren Ralph Lauren brand. It’s reasonably price, nice quality leather, and has that perfect subtle monogram in gold lettering on it. Ralph Lauren is as classic as you can get, which is why I gravitate towards this brand so much. You can find Lauren Ralph Lauren purses at many places, but you can also find them at TJ Maxx and Marshall’s from time to time. The purses below (here and here) have the equestrian look that will never go out of style.