Coach Vs Coach Outlet: Are They The Same Or Is There A Difference?
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 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 slightly 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.
We have also noticed that Coach has been increasing its prices slowly but surely over the last few years; for example, in 2022, the popular Pillow Tabby 26 bag was sold for $495, whereas now in 2023, the same bag costs $550. In contrast to this, we haven’t seen any significant price increases with Coach Outlet bags – instead, some of them have actually decreased in price.
For now, this may just be an interesting tidbit to note, but it could signal that the brand is planning to create a further divide between the two lines in the future, which may or may not have an impact on the quality and styles offered.
With this in mind, while both lines offer great bags that are made with good-quality materials, we would recommend opting for Coach’s main line if you’re looking for a trendy bag that you can use daily for an extended period of time. If you only want a bag to use for the next few years, 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 without a doubt the brand’s most popular style, and is now available in multiple iterations, from the classic pillow tabby above, to hard leather and shearling version of the bag.
The Pillow Tabby, featured above, has a soft silhouette that takes inspiration from a 1970s design from Coach’s archives. It comes with supple, buttery soft leather and the brand’s signature C-logo at the front. The bag has 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 $550, and is available in multiple colors.
At Coach Outlet, one of the best-selling shoulder bags is the Payton Hobo bag ($129), pictured above in stylish sage green pebble leather for that luxe finish. Although small, the bag is surprisingly spacious, making it an ideal everyday handbag with a chic and versatile exterior and plenty of pockets inside to help keep you well organized.
If sage green isn’t your personal favorite color, the bag also comes in white and lavender leather, as well as Coach’s signature brown monogram canvas, and a chic, lighter monogram canvas with pink accents.
2. Crossbody Bags
Crossbody bags are a must-have in any wardrobe – they come in handy whenever you are busy and need both hands free, making them the ideal bag to travel with. Both Coach and the Coach Outlet have plenty of crossbody bags to choose from to suit any style.
We love the sleek and minimalist aesthetic of the Cassie Crossbody bag, perfectly finished with gleaming gold hardware. The bag has two detachable straps, a top handle, and a crossbody strap so it can be worn and styled in a variety of different ways. The Cassie bag is available in black, white, and red, all retailing for $295.
The Klare Crossbody bag is a great, affordable alternative from Coach Outlet. This bag is crafted from Coach’s signature coated canvas and cross-grain leather for a stunning combination of pattern and texture. The front flap is leather and decorated with the Coach logo, while the body of the bag is made from the Coach signature canvas in a dark chocolate brown shade.
The interior of this bag is split into three compartments so it’s easy to keep well organized. This stylish crossbody bag is available for just $179.
Satchels are the perfect work bag and will fit a smart aesthetic with a refined and polished look. There is a great range of satchels available from Coach, including this Ruby Satchel ($575) which is just beautiful.
This satchel is crafted from Coach’s signature monogram jacquard canvas and finished off with tan leather accents. The bag features glittering gold hardware, structured top handles, and a detachable shoulder strap. The top zipper opens to reveal a suede and fabric lining fitted with multiple pockets to hold everything you need.
The Rowan Satchel from the Coach Outlet has a very similar look, with a rounded silhouette, structured top handles, and a removable shoulder strap. This satchel is instead made from a brown signature canvas that is decorated with the Coach logo for a classic monogram look.
The exterior features a zipper pocket, while the interior is fitted with a series of slip pockets so everything is easy to find – plus this bag retails for just $105!
4. 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 bag when it comes to carrying books and your laptop to school or your lunch to work each day.
If you’re in the market for a classic tote bag, the Coach Willow Leather Tote ($350) will check all of your boxes. It’s made from polished pebble leather, and has a central zip compartment, with a turn-lock closure so your items stay inside, plus the protective feet ensure the bottom of the bag doesn’t get dirty. The great thing about this tote is that it is big enough to fit a 13-inch laptop!
When shopping for a practical tote bag, opt for black or neutral color as it will match more of your outfits. 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 cross-grain 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.
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, making it ideal if you have a busy weekend where you need all your essentials, or you are at school or college with lots of books to carry around.
We love the Coach Charter Backpack, which is made from polished pebble leather and is available in black and white. This backpack has a front zipper pocket and a main compartment that is fitted with more pockets so you can easily store all your essentials.
The Jordyn Backpack from the Coach Outlet has a similar look, with an exterior zip pocket and larger main compartment featuring slip pockets. The straps on this bag are adjustable, making it super comfortable to wear all day long.
The price difference is quite significant, even if the bags look the same, the Coach Charter Backpack retails for $395, while the Coach Outlet Jordyn Backpack is available for $149.
6. Clutches On Chain
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. These two crossbody bags from Coach come with a removable strap or chain, making them a versatile choice for both daytime and evening wear.
The Tabby Chain Clutch ($295) from Coach is an elegant choice to wear as an everyday shoulder bag, as well as an understated clutch for dinners. It features Coach’s signature gold C-hardware at the front and comes in either black, chalk or red pebbled leather.
It has a snap closure, several small pockets inside in a typical wallet-on-chain style, making it ideal for carrying cards, your phone, and essential makeup items.
The Anna Foldover Clutch Crossbody from the Coach Outlet can be used both as a clutch bag or as a crossbody bag, guaranteeing you will get a lot of wear from this versatile bag!
The clutch is available in Coach’s signature monogram canvas, and finished with a small Coach logo on the front. The clutch crossbody is fitted with card slots and a zip pocket inside to store your most essential items. This stylish clutch is available 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 $175. Depending on your personal style, the Skinny Wallet comes in neutral and bright colors.
The Long Zip Around Wallet from Coach Outlet only costs $89 and has a sleek and minimalist look. This wallet is made from refined pebble leather and comes with a detachable wristlet strap so you could wear this wallet as a clutch bag too!
This wallet has 12 card slots, a bill compartment, and a zip coin purse, so there is plenty of room to store your cards and cash. This incredible wallet comes in a wide range of colors, from neutrals to vibrant shades so you can find the perfect option to suit your bag!
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?
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Funny, I found a Tabby Chain Clutch on the Coach Outlet site. Here is the link:
It’s not the same purse if you look at it. The article is correct as I’m an avid coach shopper. I buy both retail and the outlet bags and can attest there is a difference. Not one of the bags I bought retail have ever been on the coach outlet site and they are definitely made better. If you’ve ever purchased retail you know there is a difference.
Absolutely!! I shop at the Coach Outlet for wallets earrings scarfs only, but when it come to the my handbag, it strictly Coach.
Thank you. I love this.
You can also find clearance Coach retail items at the Outlet stores or on the Outlet website. These items are most often for sale under the “Reserve” link on the website, or in a separate section at the Outlet stores. Your Tabby Chain Clutch sounds like a retail item.
I would definitely have to disagree with this article. I own several Coach handbags as well as Coach outlet handbags and they both are synonymous for their durability, Style and overall high quality. Each handbag that I bought from the Coach outlet has all the qualities as if they were from Coach. I never paid attention to the stamp between the two though, so thank you for point that out. Lastly, the styles that you shown in comparison is also misleading as I have seen some of the Coach bags in the Coach outlet. And their backpacks comes in leather as well. Maybe I’m just not as knowledgeable when it comes to the higher standards between the two stores but I can say this, the only difference I see is the price tag. And to be honest, I reach for my Coach/Coach outlet bags before I even think about reaching for my Chanel, Balenciaga or Dior bags. I think that the latter ones are overrated just like Be”yawn”ce. The excitement of having higher-end luxury handbags only lasted about a week and I was over it. Plus, considering how things are now…I’m afraid of being robbed while carrying such a expensive handbag that would take me some time to replace verses a $300-$600 bag that I can replace the same day.
I totally agree with you. Thank you.
There’s a massive difference in quality between retail and outlet. That’s not to say that outlet bags are not good quality. That are! It’s just that the thickness and quality of leather, hardware, and construction of retail bags are way superior. I have a few outlet bags, but the majority of my bags are retail. My cousin was a manager at Coach, so taught me the difference. Once you know, you know! 🙂 occasionally they will have a few retail bags in the outlet stores. You need to know where that spot is. Once you know retail bags, no one needs to tell you, you’ll be able to make a beeline for them. I’ve also gotten retail bags for the average price of an outlet bag if I’ve been lucky, so I’m not a price snob. Their retail bags rival anything the “high end luxury” overpriced brands are offering in my option.
Can you point out some actual concrete examples of differences? For me this article was useless as it just says that the bags at regular coach stores are of higher quality than those at the coach outlet stores, and more durable. Yet, what is it about them that makes them higher quality? I noticed differences in quality even within the store. For instance at coach outlet, some bags have the metal logo while others have a stamp instead of a logo- to me the stamp looks cheaper. Also different types of leather – saffiano versus soft leather etc. Yet, I never had an outlet coach bag that was not durable, or not sewn straight and have seen any defects ever. In fact, coach outlet bags are the “best bang for your buck” of all the brands I have ever seen or tried and of very high quality. They literally last forever!!! So I am very curious of what exactly makes them inferior. I own a very expensive Chloe bag, and to tell you the truth its thick leather makes it very heavy and hence impractical. Thicker leather does not automatically means higher quality in a bag in my opinion. Anyway, I would love to hear from someone who truly knows what makes coach outlet bags -real leather ones of lower quality than regular coach bags?
It’s crazy how they picked all of the cheapest ones to compare with the high end versions. Don’t be mislead thinking your going to go to Coach Outlet and see something you want for that price. I will probably be another $100 added onto what was represented here.
This is what I was looking at too. I’ve shipped both retail and outlet and while the outlet maybe a bit less expensive they have some comparable bags that weren’t shown in this article.
I have shopped at both. I prefer the COACH store but for several bags for travel reasons, I will pick up a beautiful color or style for less at the Outlet.
I’ve loved 🥰 COACH for years and enjoy buying a new one every year!!
I dislike the fact the writer continues to say that they are made with “different quality” but doesn’t explain what the difference actually is. Are the Coach bags made out of leather and the Coach outlet bags made out of plastic? Like what’s the specific differences. Or are they both made out of leather but one leather is a little thinner. Simply saying the quality is different it’s not telling us what those differences are. I shop at both, have been for years, and I honestly can say that both the outlet bags and the Coach bags have lasted the same amount of time with regular use.
I agree with Nitro!!!!! Clearly have been shopping at both stores & I have outlet bags older than 20+ years & they are still in excellent condition! Every now & then I pull out a classic like the Parker tote, Willis bag or remember the Cross line? I don’t agree with the outlet quality being inferior. Different styles, maybe, but not quality. Also, it’s true that the outlet prices quoted in this blog is less than actually offered in the outlet. Eitger way, I feel Coach products are stellar & worth the money especially if you’re a handbag collector (addict) as I am! Happy Styling!
Totally agree with Nitro and Carol. I too have a lot of Coach purses that has lasted me for several years that I purchased at Coach Store or Coach Outlet. However, my more recent purchase from the actual Coach Store has been a problem, my shoulder strap threading broke and the long strap keeps unhooking from the purse no matter which direction I hook it. I took it back to the store and complained about the problems and they had no answers, but were willing to send it out for repair. I also met another lady at a restaurant who said she was experiencing the same problem with her long strap just unhooking from her purse.
I worked for Coach for several years. We were always told that the quality was the same and the leathers used were the same, but the difference was that bags made for the outlets had less detail and hardware, making the outlet bags less costly to produce. All Coach bags have to meet a certain standard.
Thank you for letting us know, that makes a lot of sense.
Thanks for the clarification!
Oops, I liked the Outlet designs better than the ‘real’ thing.
I was thinking the same thing. Especially from the ones the used as comparisons.
I like the designs of the outlet more than the real thing too!
I buy all my bags at the Coach outlet. I love them. They are just a little stiffer at first. They last forever. I’ve had no problems.
You will never tell which one you buy from the two stores unless you ask for a receipt🤣🤣🤣🤣
I love this article here. I got myself informed. But I never saw a Cassie19 signatured canvass in Outlet stores of coach. It took me 2-3weeks vefore I decided to buy it. I thought it might eb in the outlet but it doesnt. I got mind from COACH store not the outlet and its quite expensive but I super love it. Superb fine quality.
So far the only thing I’ve had a as problem with from the outlet is a pair of earrings. One of the stems fell off. I bought my first outlet bag from Coach 12 years ago and she’s still going strong and I’ve used it A LOT. Don’t be even a little deterred from shopping outlet. The quality is still there.
Also, WE might, but Coach employees don’t need a receipt to tell the difference. One called me out on my “cheap” bag in KC at Oakpark. Rude.
I simply cannot afford Coah store prices which is mostly full price ($250+). I always dreamed of having a brand new Coach bag and at the age of 50 bought my very first new Coach purse from Coach Outlet. I now have 3- 1 is their signature coated canvas, 1 is nylon with leather trim, and the other is signature coated canvas with leather trim. Obviously the style and which materials are used make the price difference regardless of where purchased. You are going to pay more for pebble leather than nylon no matter where or what brand. Outlet has bags under $100 especially during a sale and they have bags that are more pricey too on upwards of $300-$500. Depends on which style and material you want. I paid around $70 for the nylon one, $103 for the same style but in coated signature canvas, and$140 for the nicer signature coated canvas with leather trim. All of these have the signature hardware, tags, and serial numbers just like the store bags do. I feel they are just as luxurious and the price tags reflect the “retail” price which is what they charge in the stores. I may never be able to afford a “store” Coach but I can still have a nice Coach collection of quality durable bags I will most likely have for the rest of my life. Definitely my most prized bags along with my 1 Liebeskin bag I purchased on Amazon years ago for only $118 and retail on it was $398! The only bad thing about Outlet is you don’t get the dust bags to cover your purses when not in use. The purses are packaged and bagged very well, even padded to protect in shipping but you should never store leather goods in plastic, leather needs to breathe.
I shop both, COACH and COACH OUTLET and have never been anything but satisfied like a kid in a candy store. My collection grew so much I invested in their stock! Now I’m definitely happy either way!
On October i bought a Alie crossbody at the Coach outlet in Australia which cost me 650AUD(with tax). when I reached Singapore, i went straight into the Coach store at Jewel and they are selling the same thing but at 5XX SGD(with tax) after sale! Not pleased at all.
The Coach Outlet has a way better selection of men’s bags. All great quality, I love the calfskin bags so soft and sleek. I have had LV vinyl coated canvas bags and they don’t feel luxury because they are basically plastic bags.
I disagree. I currently have 5 coach bags that I first saw at the coach store, or the website. I waited and they all went to the outlet website priced at half off. This article is very misleading.