Coach has been a cult favorite among women for years. While Coach bags cost a pretty penny, there’s also Coach Outlet at a much more affordable price point. So, what exactly is the difference between Coach vs Coach Outlet?
The unwavering popularity of Coach handbags comes from its classic styles and high-quality craftsmanship that’s been consistent for decades. The brand launched in 1941 and the cofounder, Miles Cahn, drew initial inspiration from detailed baseball gloves and paper grocery bags.
He wanted to create a handbag that was similar in durability and appearance. After quite some time, he launched a collection of 12 handbags with no idea just how large the brand would become.
Over the years, Coach handbags have garnered quite the cult following, which we suspect is because each bag is constructed from high-grade leather in a cute design. Each bag must pass through multiple steps in the production process, ensuring that there are no flaws or compromises to the quality.
While they aren’t as expensive as brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton, Coach bags are still considered extremely fashionable. The handbags feature modern designs and are carefully created with beautifully colored leathers.
Coach has thrived in the handbag industry for so long as its price point is lower than other luxury brands without having to compromise design or quality. Coach prides itself on creating bags that are made to last so that you don’t need to invest in a new designer bag every season.
When it comes to where the brand ranks among current popular designers, we would say it’s below Marc Jacobs, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton but above Michael Kors and Kate Spade, or at least on par with the latter two.
Despite starting with handbags, Coach has added wallets, footwear, accessories, and briefcases to its list of stylish offerings. Fashionistas can find Coach products at two stores: Coach and Coach Outlet.
The second is preferred by those who love a good bargain or discount, but what’s the actual difference? Let’s get into it.
Coach Vs Coach Outlet: How They’re Different
The most significant difference between Coach and Coach Outlets is that the bags created for sale at Coach Outlets are usually lower in quality.
It’s a common misconception that bags originally sold at Coach end up at Coach Outlet. While you may sometimes catch a bag at a Coach outlet that you’ve also seen in store (for example, you can get the popular discontinued Coach Cassie bag there), for the most part, Coach Outlet bags are specifically made for the outlets and never enter a regular Coach store.
In fact, Coach bags come with a unique stamp that signifies they should not be sold at Coach Outlet. Whenever you shop at an outlet store, it’s safe to assume that the product quality will be a little lower than what you would get at the actual store.
If you’ve spotted a cute bag at Coach and are waiting to get it with a discount, you should keep an eye on internal sales at Coach.com, Nordstrom, or other retailers – it most probably won’t end up at Coach Outlet.
If you’re looking for a bag that you can use daily for a long period of time, we suggest splurging on a handbag from Coach. But if you’re only wanting the bag for occasional use, nothing serious, then a bag from Coach Outlet will totally suffice.
Or, if you’re just after the logo on the bag, either one suits! Just choose the style that you like the most.
Our Top Picks From Coach vs Coach Outlet
To demonstrate the differences between style and price at Coach and Coach Outlet, we’ve rounded up some of the brands’ bestsellers below.
1. Shoulder Bags
Shoulder bags are extremely easy to carry, making them great for everyday use. Whether you’re going out for dinner, heading to the mall, or meeting a friend for a coffee, a shoulder bag can carry all of the essentials.
There’s adequate room for your lipstick, powder compact, cellphone, cardholder, car keys, and whatever else you might need. Shoulder bags feature a strap that’s long enough to be comfortably worn over your shoulder.
Coach’s Pillow Tabby Shoulder Bag 26 is one of their newest styles which became an instant bestseller. It features a structured silhouette that’s similar to a past 1970s design with super soft leather and the brand’s signature gold hardware.
The bag comes with a detachable short strap for shoulder use and a longer strap so it can also be worn as a crossbody bag. This incredibly chic bag retails for around $395 at Coach and other large retailers.
At Coach Outlet, you sadly won’t find the Pillow Tabby bag. However, the Everly Shoulder Bag is quite similar. It’s made with refined pebble leather and comes with a detachable top and crossbody strap.
The bag also has the brand’s signature gold hardware. The Everly Shoulder Bag retails for around $129.
2. Crossbody Bags
Crossbody bags are the best for traveling or events where you’ll need your hands. Since they hang across your body, weight is dispersed and your arms won’t be restricted so you can hold two glasses of wine at once.
Both the classic version of the bag and the quilted version of the bag feature a turnlock closure, detachable strap so that it can also be worn as a shoulder bag, and is made from leather. The quilted version of the bag retails for around $325, while the more classic version retails for $250.
You’ll find plenty of similar colorful and neutral crossbody bags at Coach Outlet, like the Mini Brynn Crossbody, which retails for around $119. It’s also a shade of pink and comes with the same detachable strap so you can wear it in several different ways.
3. Satchels / Top Handle Bags
What’s a satchel bag, exactly? Well, it’s characterized by the short handle extending from the very top of the bag.
The Willis Top Handle 18 With Quilting from Coach is one of its most popular satchel styles. It comes in several colors and has the brand’s signature gold hardware, a turnlock closure, and a detachable strap. This bag costs $450.
The Serena Satchel from Coach Outlet costs much less (approximately $131) and is equally as cute. It has a detachable strap, a multifunctional pocket inside, and is made from crossgrain leather.
Backpacks have made a big resurgence in popularity, which is likely because people just can’t get enough of their functionality. Toting all of your items around in a backpack keeps them out of the way.
Plus, a backpack can fit a lot more in it than a small crossbody or shoulder bag. If your back gets tired, you can always carry the backpack by its little strap at the top.
Coach has tons of options when it comes to backpacks. We love the Carrie Backpack in Black ($395). This backpack is made from polished pebble leather and has an outside zip pocket for your lip balm collection. The straps are adjustable and it can fit a 13-inch laptop, making it perfect for office workers.
If you want to spend a little less on a backpack, check out the Jordyn Backpack With Signature Canvas Detail in Black. It’s eerily similar to the Carrie Backpack but costs a fraction of the price: just $119.
5. Tote Bags
Tote bags tend to be long-lasting and durable if they are taken good care of. They are by far the best style of the bag when it comes to carrying books and your laptop to school or your lunch to work each day.
If you’re on the market for a classic tote bag, the Willow Tote ($295) will check all of your boxes. It’s made from polished pebble leather, fits a 13-inch laptop, has four protective feet on the bottom, and has a turnlock closure so your items stay inside.
When shopping for a practical tote bag, opt for black or neutral color as it will match more of your oufits. If you already own a simple tote, you can start branching out into funky patterns and bright colors.
The Zip Top Tote ($109) from Coach Outlet comes in several colors, including black, and has a few inside pockets. It’s made from crossgrain leather but unlike the Willow Tote, it does not have protective feet. This means you’ll need to be careful when setting it down on surfaces so that it doesn’t get dirty.
Clutches are ideal for formal events or on special occasions where you don’t want a crossbody or large shoulder bag taking away from your gorgeous outfit.
Clutches are much smaller in size, which means you’ll have to really narrow down your essential items before leaving the house—your spare pair of socks might have to stay at home. Clutches are also great for when you’re going out to dinner or shopping as it’s light and won’t weigh you down on your shoulders.
Many fashion enthusiasts like to have a little fun when it comes to their clutches. If this sounds like you, the Tabby Chain Clutch in Colorblock Signature Canvas from Coach should most definitely be your next purchase.
This clutch, which retails for $295, and comes either coated with tan or in pink leather and the brand’s iconic canvas. It has a snap closure, several small pockets inside, and comes with a detachable strap so that you can wear it as a crossbody bag if needed.
The Mini Camera Bag from Coach Outlet can be used as both a crossbody bag or clutch as the strap can be removed. It comes in tons of different colors, is made from refined pebble leather, and has two credit card slots inside. This adorable bag retails for $99.
Everybody needs a good wallet as it’s responsible for carrying all of their cash and cards. Even though it spends most of its life hiding inside of your bag, it should still be fashionable.
Every lady should have a larger wallet for their everyday satchel bag and a smaller wristlet wallet that can be stuffed inside of their shoulder or crossbody bag.
Because we like to jampack so much into our bags these days, Coach’s Skinny Wallet has become extremely popular. It has 15 card slots, room for bills, a coin pocket, and is made from calf leather.
This rather slim wallet retails for around $150. Depending on your personal style, the Skinny Wallet comes in neutral and bright colors.
The Long Zip Around Wallet from Coach Outlet only costs around $115 and is made from crossgrain leather. It only has 12 card slots (three less than the Skinny Wallet) but also has a coin pocket and enough room for bills.
This wallet also comes with a detachable strap so that it can also be used as a clutch or wristlet. The hardest part about this purchase will be deciding on a color, as there are so many options!
In conclusion, we hope you learned something new from our Coach vs Coach Outlet analysis. Next time you think of the two, think of them as two distinctly different brands with different designs and quality, that just happen to share the same logo!
Now, it’s your turn to let us know: when it comes to Coach vs Coach Outlet, is there one that you prefer over the other?