COACH 1941: Quality in 2019, possible alternatives?

Nov 15, 2019
2
1
Hello everyone, longtime lurker here!

I started collecting leather handbags (almost entirely COACH) about two years ago. At first I was quite uneducated and made more than one regrettable purchase. On that note, I would like to thank everyone for sharing such helpful images and descriptions! TPF has been invaluable to my handbag education, and today I finally feel sufficiently confident and informed to join in on the conversation! Here goes:

After being dissatisfied with my first few ill-advised purchases, I did more research (a great deal of it here on TPF!) and became very interested in the COACH 1941 runway collection. I have been fortunate enough to acquire several bags and small leather goods from the line, including a Rogue 25 and a few Dinkies. I have been absolutely blown away by the quality of the leather, the substantial hardware, the functional details, and the incredibly artistic designs. The care and imagination put into the collection was obvious, and for a long time I didn’t think I would ever need to turn to another brand.

At the time of my first 1941 purchases, the collection was excluded from discounts and outlets, and the Rogue 25 was priced about $100 higher than it is today. I happily paid full price for the Black model, and I still believe it was worth every penny. However, to the chagrin of myself and many others on TPF, the 1941 line seems to be diffusing, and the remaining bags are being sent to the outlets at deep discounts. I have also been hearing that the quality of the newer bags is just not the same as it used to be. For instance, I often read that the new third-generation Rogues are constructed of different leather, in addition to missing the decorative key-pouch and extra padding under the feet. Though I don’t own a regular-sized Rogue, I know that the second-generation was already a significant step down from the first run. I do not have any personal experience with the 2019 bags, but I can say I have noticed a significant quality difference between my 2016 first-generation Dinky and later versions.

I do think COACH, 1941 or otherwise, still makes excellent bags for the price. (In fact, I recently purchased the non-1941 Dreamer 21 in Signature Patchwork. It is petite as can be but such a lovely bag, and I adore the patchwork motif!) However, what really drew me to 1941 in the first place was the truly exceptional quality that can usually only be found from premier brands, and sometimes not even then. I am also finding myself less *wowed* by the newer designs, whereas before I wanted to buy almost everything I saw in the boutique. In my opinion, they are starting to get a little too brash with the “C” hardware.

I am turning to TPF for more opinions on whether the new bags are worth it, and otherwise where I can find comparable quality at a reasonable price. I am definitely open to purchasing vintage and pre-loved (and have done so in the past), although I would feel much less comfortable spending $600+.

I am looking for classic yet edgy designs, perhaps featuring a few fun, unique decorations; I absolutely love the COACH hangtags, key-pouches and other charms such as locks. I do doubt I will be able to find another heavily-embellished bag that I love as much as my Tea Rose Dinky, but feel free to give any suggestions!

I prefer a supple, durable leather with a natural finish, similar to COACH’s glovetanned leather. Smooth or softly pebbled does it for me, anything patent, shiny, or stiff is a big NO. I also much prefer a suede or leather interior, which I find to be a pretty elusive feature even on bags costing $1000+.

As an aside, I will mention that I recently acquired a pre-loved Miu Miu (not sure from what year) in excellent condition, for $150. It is olive green with a yellow suede interior, almost exactly the same colour as the pockets of the Black Rogue 25. Aside from the great price, the luxurious lining was one of the biggest factors in my decision to buy. It even came with a gorgeous detachable zip pouch that can be carried as a mini bag, also lined in suede.

I have read many complaints about the quality of Prada and Miu Miu, but I believe this bag must predate those issues because it has almost no signs of wear! The leather is noticeably thicker than even my 1941 bags, and the edges have been finished to match the interior. This was actually one of the big differences between the 2016 and 2017 Dinky: the 2016 had edge-paint in a contrasting colour, while the new bags are only finished in dark brown. Maybe a small detail to some, but I was sad to see COACH cutting corners nonetheless.

(Unrelated question for anyone who may know: Were Miu Miu bags made by hand at any point? The stitching on my bag is almost perfect, but there are one or two stitches that look too crooked to have been done by a machine).

I was drawn to Miu Miu because the youthful, carefree designs were in the same vein as what I liked most from COACH. I am definitely interested in exploring other brands that connote the same spirit, but I am unsure of where to begin. I was very lucky to find a pre-loved item that checked off all my boxes, but it took painstaking hours of scouring the Internet. This was particularly true of finding a bag in the right size: I am very petite, a little over 5 feet, and it seems that the selection of large handbags is much greater than that of small/medium sized handbags in the resale market. I have not been able to find much information about the styles and quality of older premier designer bags, which made the process even more difficult. I definitely would not buy one of the new premier bags, which limits my options a great deal. If anyone has any insight I would be delighted to hear!

I know I have high expectations for my bags, but I think all of us on TPF feel the same way! Thank you so much for reading, I hope some of you handbag veterans will have good advice for me! ☺
 
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ltbag

Grateful for life's beauty. Taking a break
O.G.
Feb 10, 2007
3,479
2,152
Miu Miu used to be the "younger" edgier Prada sister line. Vintage bags were assembled to standards for premier bags (not in China). Coach had a "younger" line called Poppy which had edgier, more youthful designs. Coach discontinued it as they discontinue everything lol.

The Balenciaga "First" bag is a small vintage style that comes in a ton of colors and that has great leather.

Vintage Fendi Baguettes are small and came in a million patterns, colors and with interesting buckles. They were quite the "IT" bag 15 years ago lol but they still make them in a a lot of interesting patterns and with embellishments.

Coach leather comes and goes. I used to pay full price for Coach but now only will buy 1941 pieces at the online outlet or at outlet prices on Ebay. I love my Rogues but there is a definite difference between the early Rogues and the 3rd generation Rogues.
 

Daisy22

O.G.
Nov 3, 2008
933
970
Vintage leather Gucci has really good leather and can be blingy. Versace makes good leather bags that are edgier and go on sale or are marked down a lot pre-loved. Christian Louboutin bags also fit the bill.
 
Nov 15, 2019
2
1
Miu Miu used to be the "younger" edgier Prada sister line. Vintage bags were assembled to standards for premier bags (not in China). Coach had a "younger" line called Poppy which had edgier, more youthful designs. Coach discontinued it as they discontinue everything lol.

The Balenciaga "First" bag is a small vintage style that comes in a ton of colors and that has great leather.

Vintage Fendi Baguettes are small and came in a million patterns, colors and with interesting buckles. They were quite the "IT" bag 15 years ago lol but they still make them in a a lot of interesting patterns and with embellishments.

Coach leather comes and goes. I used to pay full price for Coach but now only will buy 1941 pieces at the online outlet or at outlet prices on Ebay. I love my Rogues but there is a definite difference between the early Rogues and the 3rd generation Rogues.
Thanks so much for your response!

I am very interested in Balenciaga, I adore the designs and always hear wonderful things about the leather! However, I have also seen several comments about the bags being more fragile and showing more wear than others. Of course this may just be relative to other premier designers, and coming from COACH it may not be as noticeable an issue. I would love to hear your take on the build quality and durability!

I definitely love the look of the Fendi Baguette as well, but I am a bit nervous to stray from my comfort zone of generally structured, rectangular bags with top handles or a crossbody strap (or both). I am concerned that the softer shape will not flatter my body, or that the short strap length will draw attention to my broader shoulders. But I suppose I will need to experiment at some point!

It is too bad that the new 1941 bags don’t measure up But I suppose all good things must come to an end. Thanks also for sharing a bit about the history of Miu Miu, I wonder if you have any idea of when they started outsourcing production, and when the general quality began to decline?
 

floodette

Mata Hari wannabe!!
O.G.
Dec 27, 2007
1,201
638
Check Ferragamo bags. TBH their leathers and workmanships are way beyond their price. and my bags (susanna, sophia etc) are all lined in leather, structured, top handle and have cross body straps. sounds like your requirements.