Coach Vs Michael Kors: Is One American Brand Better?

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Coach and Michael Kors are two beloved American luxury brands, but which one is better for you? This Coach vs Michael Kors article will help answer that question!

On the surface, it may seem that Coach and Michael Kors are pretty similar – both brands were founded in the United States and are wildly popular all across America.

Coach is known for classic American designs across their range of handbags, leather goods, and womenswear clothing, while Michael Kors clothes are sleek and contemporary with a slight sportswear influence, and their bags are often decorated with the famous MK logo. So if you are looking for a super stylish new handbag, you are bound to find something you love from either Coach and Michael Kors – no matter your style.

However, if you look a little deeper, you will see that there are some important differences between these brands, and it is these that will help to distinguish which brand is better for you.

This article is going to take a look at the history of each brand, the differences between them, and a few of the best-selling handbags before coming to a conclusion on Coach vs Michael Kors!

Coach vs Michael Kors

The History of Coach

The Coach brand first began as a family-run workshop in 1941, in New York City, creating high-quality leather wallets by hand. However, Coach changed and grew when the husband and wife duo, Miles and Lillian Cahn, joined the brand in 1946.

Miles Cahn was committed to producing the highest quality leather goods for the Coach brand and so took note of the best types of leather for luxury goods. Cahn noticed how the leather used to make baseball gloves became stronger and more supple with more wear and use. So, he decided to recreate this process in order to create better leather wallets and purses.


His wife, Lillian Cahn, was the one who suggested that handbags should be added to the brand’s repertoire, and they were instantly a success.

The affordable luxury brand expanded further in 1961 when Bonnie Cashin became the head designer. He created some of the most popular Coach bags, some of which are still sold today. Her brightly colored designs were best sellers that helped to make Coach the household it is today.

In 1965, Richard Rose joined the Coach team and helped to market and sell Coach handbags – he was instrumental in making Coach so successful and many of his techniques are still used today.

Coach’s wide range of products, including designer bags, luxurious leather goods, and stunning accessories are sold in over 1,000 Coach stores all over the world, as well as many different department stores across North America and other continents.

The History of Michael Kors

Michael Kors began his namesake brand in 1981 after a lifelong love of fashion. Kors began by designing clothes in his parent’s basement, then, in 1977, he enrolled in the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City – although he did not finish his course.

After dropping out of FIT, Kors began working at a boutique in Manhattan, named Lothar’s, eventually becoming the designer and visual display head for this boutique before his designs were spotted by Dawn Mello, fashion director at Bergdorf Goodman.


The very first Michael Kors womenswear line was sold in Bergdorf Goodman in 1981 and quickly became very popular because of its glamourous yet effortless and comfortable aesthetic.

As the Michael Kors label continued to grow, Michael Kors was named the creative director of French fashion house Celine in 1997. Kors was praised for creating popular ready-to-wear collections and stunning accessories and handbags with a chic and sophisticated aesthetic. After several successful, and well-reviewed ready-to-wear collections, Kors left Celine in 2003.

After his time at Celine, Kors expanded his brand, adding the menswear collection and the MICHAEL Michael Kors label to sit alongside the Michael Kors Collection that has been seen on the catwalk at New York Fashion Week since the 1980s.

Kors’s laidback, elegant clothing and stylish accessories have proved wildly popular all over the world, and now there are around 770 Michael Kors stores worldwide. The brand’s items are also stocked in department stores in the United States, Europe, China, and Japan.

The Differences between Coach Vs Michael Kors

There are a few main differences between the Coach and Michael Kors brands that you need to be aware of in order to make a decision about which brand is right for you.

1. Price Range

Let’s begin with the price range. Coach bags are typically available for between $150 and $795, making them a pretty affordable designer handbag.

The price point of Michael Kors bags ranges between $150 and $1,610 – again this shows how the handbags are still relatively affordable but are a little more expensive than Coach.

 
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2. materials

The materials of these handbags may also have an influence on which of these affordable luxury brands you opt for.

Coach offers a wide range of leather bags including Nappa leather, natural leather, and pebbled leather, while there are also coated canvas or plain canvas options, which are a little more affordable and still very durable. There are also some nylon and suede options so you are bound to find a bag that suits you and your lifestyle.

Just like Coach, the Michael Kors brand offers lots of gorgeous coated canvas MK bags which look incredible and are really durable, alongside classic leather bags, crafted from pebbled leather, lamb leather, and calf leather – all of which have different looks and textures.

3. brand Aesthetic

The styles of both of these brands are quite different and one may suit your personal style more than another.

Coach has a classic, all-American style that they have cultivated over the decades. There are more and more bags decorated with the C monogram, but most Coach handbags have a minimalist look that is super elegant and timeless – perfect if you are looking for a bag that will go with any outfit.

Michael Kors, on the other hand, is a little more glamorous and known for bags covered in the MK logo. The glittering hardware, patterned jacquard, and logo-emblazoned coated canvas materials all add up to create some bold and striking designer handbags, that are gorgeously eye-catching.

Best-selling bags from Coach and Michael Kors

There are lots of incredible luxury handbags available from both Coach and Michael Kors so we have narrowed down the choice by picking some of the best-selling options from each designer brand. Plus, perhaps you might see one you want to add to your shopping cart!

1. Crossbody bags
Get this on Nordstrom
Get this on Michael Kors

The Pillow Crossbody bag is a recent addition to the Coach handbag collection but has quickly become a best seller due to its sumptuous silhouette and versatile design. This crossbody bag is crafted from supple leather, that has been padded to create a pillowy and plush exterior and then decorated with a matching Coach logo.

The bag comes with a leather top handle and crossbody strap, both of which are detachable to you can adapt the bag to suit you. The front flap opens to reveal a roomy interior, divided by a central zipper pocket to help keep everything organized.

We love the bold and striking design of this Michael Kors handbag, with the logo-decorated exterior and chic gold hardware. The bag is made from ebony jacquard that has been woven with the MK logo, trimmed with rich tan leather, and then embellished with a gleaming gold Michael Kors logo on the front flap.

This front flap opens to reveal a compact interior, fitted with a slip pocket to keep smaller items safe. The gold chain link strap gives the bag an elegant look, while the leather shoulder pad provides comfort.

2. tote bags
Get this on Nordstrom
Get this on Michael Kors

The classic look of this Coach Willow Leather Tote makes it a must-have for any wardrobe. The bag is made from pebbled black leather for a timeless look and then finished with looping black leather handles and a gold C turn lock.

The interior is super practical with two spacious main compartments, divided by a zipper pocket – making it super easy to keep your work or weekend essentials organized. This tote would fit perfectly into any wardrobe and would suit any style, plus is available for just $350!

The Marilyn Logo Tote Bag has a sophisticated look that is synonymous with the Michael Kors brand. The tote is available in three different colorways, all made from coated canvas and decorated with the MK monogram.

There are then long shoulder straps in contrasting leather and glittering gold hardware to add a glamorous touch to this tote. The top of the bag secures with a zipper, which opens to reveal a lined interior, fitted with a zipper pocket and wall pockets so you can easily find everything you need!

3. shoulder bags
Get this on Saks Fifth Avenue
Get this on Michael Kors

If you are looking for a timeless shoulder bag, then this Coach Madison Quilted Pillow Shoulder Bag is perfect for you. This elegant bag is made from buttery soft leather, which features delicate quilting and has a luxurious glossy shine.

The brass hardware of the chain shoulder strap looks stunning and is super versatile as it can be worn on the shoulder or across the body. The front flap secures with a Coach logo in white for a tonal look; inside the bag, you will find a handy zipper pocket.

This chic Michael Kors SoHo Studded Leather Shoulder Bag is the perfect everyday bag, due to its versatility and organized interior. Crafted from supple, camel-colored leather, the exterior is quilted and then embellished with delicate gold studs for a glam look.

The gold chain strap can be worn on the shoulder, or extended and worn as a crossbody bag. Inside the bag, you will find a roomy interior, zipper pocket, and slip pocket to keep everything organized. This bag is available for $598, but its timeless nature and the luxurious feel of the lamb leather means this bag will really stand the test of time.

Conclusion

Both Coach and Michael Kors create some stunning, super stylish handbags that would look incredible in any luxury brand collection, but it really comes down to the price range and brand aesthetic as to which brand you should go for.

If you are looking for a bag that is a little more affordable, and want a classic, sophisticated look, Coach is the brand for you. This top-quality American brand has a wide range of timeless handbags, small leather goods, and accessories that will really stand the test of time.

If you have a little more money to spend and want a bag with a glam look, Michael Kors is the best brand for you. Michael Kors’s curated look of opulence and luxury with a touch of effortless style makes them a must-have brand.

We hope you found this article analyzing Coach vs Michael Kors helpful! For more luxury fashion content, check out the links below.

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3 Comments

  1. Marigny Pottard says:

    Great article. I have a quite a few Coach purses, and a ciuple of MK. My preference is Coach because I seem to like the leather much more.

    1. One item never mentioned in this article is that Coach will repair their product when it wears out. This extends the life of the bag. I wore out the handles, they were replaced (that time for free, but not always free) and I am going on 5+ years more and still going strong and the Italian leather is as beautiful as new. They also recycle their leather into “reloved” bags.

      1. Maria Julia says:

        That is an excellent thing to point out, thank you!

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