Torn between Tory Burch and Kate Spade for your next purchase? Before you make a decision, read our in-depth guide on Tory Burch vs Kate Spade.
It’s can be ridiculously hard for fashionistas to pick between these two designers as they both offer unique, feminine, and well-made items that are wildly trendy. But since you’ve got rent and phone bills each month, you can’t afford to spend all your money at both Kate Spade and Tory Burch.
While both designers are considered to be “luxury lifestyle brands” we consider them to be more “affordable luxury” like brands such as Rebecca Minkoff or Marc Jacobs, as they certainly aren’t as expensive or fashion-forward as brands like Prada, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton in the fashion world.
In this article, we’ll go over the similarities and differences between both brands, examine some of their best-selling pieces, and discuss a little bit of the history. Of course, we’ll also give your our opinion about which brand we think you should go for.
With this said, let’s get started!
All About Tory Burch
Tory Burch started her namesake brand back in 2004, opening a small boutique during fashion week in the Nolita district of New York, which was close to her home. Her brand became extremely popular very quickly as her one-of-a-kind bags and accessories enchanted customers at first sight.
Her brand’s aesthetic is distinct and mimics her own personal style that’s inspired by fancy boutiques, local flea markets, and traveling. After only two short years, Tory took her brand to the international market, arriving in Europe and Asia.
This was when the brand’s iconic accessories really came to life, starting with a bag named after her mother. The Reva Bag became the hot must-have item among fashionistas everywhere.
Fast-forward to 2015 and Tory Burch launched its Tory Sport collection that was preppy in style and inspired by the grace and strength of athletes. These pieces could be recognized by their retro lines and the composition of hi-tech fabrics.
Today, in addition to providing the best of fashion and accessories, Tory Burch has her sights set on helping young women entrepreneurs through financial support, mentorship, and providing them with networking opportunities through the brand’s foundation, seminars and other resources.
When it comes to Tory Burch’s design style, the brand is known to carry items that are romantic, modern, bohemian, and covered in attention-grabbing colors. While the designer doesn’t shy away from bright colors, every style of bag also comes in a neutral shade, black, or ivory to ensure that customers have options.
The History of Kate Spade
Kate Spade is another female-founded brand, which was started in 1993 by Kate Brosnahan Spade, a former accessories editor who loved to play around with colorful designs and sleek silhouettes.
In 2007, Kate Spade & Company entered the fashion and accessories market, quickly dominating with its clothing and jewelry collections that eventually extended into bedding, stationery, footwear, perfumes, gifts, and more.
When it comes to the brand’s style, Kate Spade is known for its simple yet quirky items that can brighten up any outfit on any occasion.
Kate Spade’s line of handbags and accessories can always be recognized by its quintessential splash of color and bright patterns. This originality allowed Kate Spade to carve out her space in the well-established world of designer lifestyle brands.
Today, the affordable luxury brand has hundreds of boutiques all over the world and her accessories can be found in retail stores like Nordstrom, Hudson’s Bay, Indigo Books, and more.
Unfortunately, in 2018, Kate Spade herself passed away but her love for funky clothing, bags, and accessories lives on through her team.
Differences between Tory Burch vs Kate Spade
Tory Burch and Kate Spade are both popular handbag brands that embrace loud pops of color but many people tend to gravitate more toward Tory Burch because the brand carries more black and neutral-colored items, as well as more classic designs that are better suited for the modern woman. (Plus, we and many others just love Tory’s beautiful logo!)
Kate Spade’s bags are often made with saffiano leather, which can be considered to be heavier than the pebbled leather that Tory Burch uses. So if you’re looking for a handbag that can be comfortably worn for hours on end, a Tory Burch bag might be easier on your shoulders and back.
Because Kate Spade’s designs and colors are so whimsical, they are perfect for younger women and teens but if you’re in your 30s, a Tory Burch bag might be more suited to your personal style. Many people associate Kate Spade with a younger demographic and opt for Tory Burch or Coach bags if they are older.
Some fashionistas have also speculated online that the Kate Spade brand has gone downhill in design and quality since the founder passed away. But if you’re a sucker for a pop of color, you might still prefer the brand over Tory Burch.
Another reason Kate Spade is more popular among a younger demographic is because of its price range. Kate Spade’s bags are significantly less expensive than those from the Tory Burch brand.
Plus, the sale collection at Kate Spade is bonkers and you can find super cute and functional handbags for a fraction of their original price. Tory Burch’s sale collection is also good but not quite as impressive.
Our Top Picks From Tory Burch Vs Kate Spade
1. Crossbody Bags
When using a crossbody bag, you can go hands-free, which means you can fill your hands with tasty appetizers or sparkling beverages when attending a party or special events.
If this doesn’t sell you on a crossbody bag, we don’t know what will. But since you don’t need to carry it with your hands, cross-body bags are also fabulous for wearing while you go shopping or run errands. Everyone’s handbag collection should have at least two crossbody bags.
The Eleanor Bag from Tory Burch ($689) comes in four different colors such as black, ivory, brown, and dark green. It’s made from soft Italian leather and features hand-painted edges that accentuate the design’s clean lines. The crossbody bag also has the brand’s signature hardware made from brass and an adjustable strap that allows you to wear the bag across your body or on your shoulder.
Kate Spade’s Spencer Flap Chain Wallet ($188) is made with the designer’s new saffiano leather and has a feminine floral lining, which is a nice detail considering the outside is solid black.
The crossbody features the brand’s emblem on the front and a chain strap that cannot be adjusted so if you purchase this bag, be prepared to use it only as a crossbody. It also comes in beige/black and light pink.
2. Tote Bags
While we love the hands-free promise of crossbody bags, sometimes it’s nice to have a bag that can fit more than just your credit card and lipstick. Tote bags are durable, stylish, and easy to carry as they slip around your shoulder as you go about your errands. If you invest in larger totes, they can also withstand a significant amount of weight.
Tory Burch’s Perry Triple-Compartment Tote Bag ($348)is a timeless and functional piece that has a spacious interior filled with pockets that will keep all of your items organized.
The tote bag, which comes in seven colors, is made from Italian pebbled leather and can fit a 13-inch laptop and your favorite water bottle. It has long straps that will slide comfortably over your shoulder, protective feet, and a removable charm for added detail.
The Bradley Large Tote from Kate Spade ($298) is the perfect bag to lug all of your items and snacks to school or the office as it has a zip closure at the top, keeping all of your things safe.
The bag is made from pebbled leather and features several inner pockets, a jacquard floral lining, and Kate Spade’s logo on the front. This tote bag can also easily carry a 13-inch laptop.
Most people use their wallets on a daily basis, so it’s important to invest in a wallet that won’t break or fall apart easily. Choosing a designer wallet will make you appear incredibly fashionable and will keep your cards and money safe.
The Kira Chevron Zip Continental Wallet from Tory Burch ($248) comes in black and sand, and is made from good quality soft lambskin leather. The wallet features a chevron-quilting and the brand’s signature double T logo in brushed gold on the front.
It has several pockets on the inside and can fit full-length bills without having to fold them. The wallet also has a zipper that will ensure nothing ever spills out of it.
Kate Spade’s Spencer Metallic Dot Slim Continental Wallet is the perfect way to play around with fun prints without going over the top. We can’t promise that a huge handbag made from polka dot leather will stay in style, but we can promise that printed wallets are a great way to get your pattern fix.
This wallet is durable and has a zip closure that will keep everything secured inside. Upon opening the wallet, you’ll be dazzled by its jacquard floral lining, eight card slots, and two billfolds. This adorable and quirky wallet only costs $158.
4. Shoulder Bags
When shopping for designer handbags, keep comfort top-of-mind because there’s nothing worse than having skinny, hard straps cut into your boney shoulders.
Also, make sure you aren’t buying a bag that’s too small to hold everything all your essentials like your wallet, phone, makeup, hand sanitizer, and feminine products.
Tory Burch’s 151 Mercer Crescent Bag ($548) is really one of the most perfect everyday shoulder bags because of its classic style. The bag is made from soft Napa leather and has a serious 90s feel with a design that will sit comfortably under your arm.
It also has gold equestrian-style hardware and the double T emblem in the lower right corner of the bag.
The Smile Small Shoulder Bag from Kate Spade is very fashion-forward and features a unique crescent design made from pebble leather.
On the inside, you’ll find several card slots and a pocket that can hold your iPhone. This petite shoulder bag can be yours for only $198. It comes in black, white and yellow.
Tory Burch Vs Kate Spade: Conclusion
Overall, we recommend splurging on Tory Burch over Kate Spade as the brand’s handbags and accessories have more of a timeless, modern feel. While Kate Spade definitely embraces colors and quirky patterns, they might go out of style quicker than the designs from Tory Burch.
If you’re really torn between the two, we suggest purchasing a crossbody or shoulder bag from Tory Burch in black, brown, or ivory and then buying a funky wallet from Kate Spade. This way, you’ll be getting the best of both worlds without making too much of a risky investment. Wallets provide fashionistas with the perfect opportunity to play around with prints and patterns.
However, if you’re still in your teens or early 20s, Kate Spade’s love for colors might suit your current wardrobe better than a sophisticated Tory Burch bag. Not to mention, you’ll also be getting them for a much cheaper price!
With that being said, the Tory Burch bag can also stay with you as you age, which is why we think Tory Burch is the better investment. Sorry, Kate!
Our Top Shopping Tips
Before you take the leap of faith and go shopping at either Tory Burch or Kate Spade, be sure to do an inventory of your current wardrobe and handbag collection. This way you’ll end up purchasing pieces that your collection needs, instead of accidentally buying something you’ve already got.
Since designer brands (even affordable designer brands) are on the expensive side, you also want to opt for handbags or pieces that won’t go out of style quickly.
Make sure they are high-quality bags that will serve you for a long time too. This means to look for neutral or black handbags or clothing that aren’t oozing current trend vibes as those trends might not be as cool next year.
On the contrary, if you purchase a neutral or black handbag, we’re sure you’ll get your money’s worth out of it as you’ll be able to wear it multiple times per week for several years. That’s why we completely support splurging on designer bags over designer clothing, sunglasses, or evening footwear.
Plus, we rely on our handbags to transport and care for our most important small items like our phone, money, and makeup. So splurging on a well-made, high-quality designer bag means that it’s less likely to fall apart and will keep your things safe.
If you’re new to the realm of affordable luxury designers, both Tory Burch bags and Kate Spade bags are considered “heavy hitters” in the category for many reasons, including their style, quality, variety, and versatility.
We hope you learned something new from this Tory Burch vs Kate Spade article! If you’re hungry for more luxury fashion ideas, make sure to check out the related posts below!