How to Spot Fake Dooney & Bourke Bags: 5 Ways to Tell Real Handbags

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Founded in 1975 by Peter Dooney and Frederic Bourke, their eponymous label Dooney & Bourke is known for stylish handbags that have become synonymous with unparalleled quality and fine craftsmanship.

While the label initially only sold vibrant belts and suspenders, it soon evolved to include a handbag line in 1981, with the release of Dooney & Bourke’s classic Tack Case and Equestrian Bag. In 1983 the iconic All-Weather Leather Bag was introduced, which featured the label’s signature duck logo with an embossed leather font.

Dooney & Bourke handbags still remain very popular, with celebrity fans such as Emma Roberts and Hayden Panettiere. Yet like most designer handbags with cult followings, counterfeit Dooney & Bourke handbags also remain on the rise.

Hayden Panetierre unveils her fashion clutch bag by Dooney & BourkeHayden Panetierre unveils her fashion clutch bag by Dooney & Bourke inside The Venetian in Las Vegas on November 22, 2008

An article published by the South China Morning Post in April 2019 stated that counterfeit imported goods are valued at a staggering US$509 billion, and it has become increasingly hard to tell apart counterfeit purses from authentic ones.

If you’re worried about how to be certain that your Dooney & Bourke bag is indeed an authentic one, there are plenty of ways to distinguish a fake one from an original.

One of the most important things to remember is to do plenty of research before you purchase a Dooney & Bourke bag, especially if it’s from a secondhand store.

Where to buy Dooney & Bourke bags

From small leather accessories like wallets to roomy tote bags designed for work and play, Dooney & Bourke pieces are praised for their effortless style and durability.

Kelsea Ballerini and Dooney & Bourke for Macy's American IconsKelsea Ballerini and Dooney & Bourke for Macy’s American Icons in 2016

Been wanting to own your very own Dooney & Bourke but unsure of where to get it? Listed below are some of the most popular and reputable places for Dooney & Bourke bags:

1. Dooney & Bourke
2. Macy’s
3. QVC
4. Lord + Taylor
5. Zappos

While many secondhand resellers go through great lengths in authenticating their Dooney & Bourke bags, sometimes the counterfeit versions look virtually identical to the real ones. Below are some easy ways to tell whether what you’re looking at is the real deal:

1. Closely examine the stitching

If the stitches on the logo tag do not match the color of the rest of the bag’s seams, then it is most likely a fake. Make sure that you look very closely as some really good counterfeit bags use stitches that are just off a shade or two, appearing very similar to the rest of the handbag’s seams.

Dooney & Bourke handbags are finished with neat topstitching and polished gold hardwareDooney & Bourke handbags are finished with neat topstitching and polished gold hardware

The quality of the stitching should also feature regular and clean seams in straight lines; any sloppy stitching is usually a surefire way to tell that the bag is not authentic.

2. Take note of the hardware

Dooney & Bourke handbags are made with the finest components, and this includes using genuine and high-quality brass for all metal hardware such as zippers and button fastenings.

Dooney & Bourke is dedicated to designing and manufacturing their bags with expert craftsmanship and timeless styleDooney & Bourke is dedicated to designing and manufacturing their bags with expert craftsmanship and timeless style

You’ll be able to tell right away if the bag is a counterfeit piece by feeling the metal hardware’s weight as knockoffs tend to be constructed from lightweight materials that look flimsy or easily show signs of rusting.

3. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is

Generally, Dooney & Bourke items usually range from $60 to $800. If you see a Dooney & Bourke bag being sold at a cheaper rate and is not from the sellers stated in the list above, this is an easy indicator that the bag is likely a fake.

Most people who knowingly buy fake bags justify their purchases due to the much lower price points, so if a Dooney & Bourke bag’s price seems too steep for you, be sure to look out for seasonal sales and promotions by the listed licensed retailers for great deals.

You can find some discounted handbags at I Love Dooney and there are Dooney & Bourke outlets and factory stores located all over the country.

4. Check out the handbag’s trim

While this seems like such a minute detail, a handbag’s trim is one of the easiest ways to tell if your bag is a knockoff piece. Most Dooney & Bourke bags use the label’s signature British tan leather on their trims, so if the trim feels like cheap leather or a lower quality material, then be wary.

Tartan plaid Dooney & Bourke bags with leather trim Tartan plaid Dooney & Bourke bags with leather trim

Similar to the handbag’s stitching and seams, the leather trim should also match the color of the bag’s handle.

5. Look for the serial number and guarantee card

While the label’s vintage bags will not have this, all newer Dooney & Bourke bags should have a guarantee card with every purchase. This card includes a one-year satisfaction guarantee, a promise of authentication, and the serial number.

Look for the fabric tag in the bag’s interior and you should find a red, blue and white tag with ‘Dooney & Bourke’ on it. Flip that tag over and you should find the bag’s unique ID number, which you can use to register your bag on Dooney & Bourke’s website.

Dooney & Bourke's guarantee offers one year of unconditional protection on your new purchaseDooney & Bourke’s guarantee offers one year of unconditional protection on your new purchase

You’ll then be asked to fill in all these details and once completed, the bag’s authenticity will be confirmed and verified.

If for some reason you are unable to find the bag’s ID number, you can alternatively use the product’s unique SKU code to look up the bag style on the Dooney and Bourke website and see if it matches.

Questions About Dooney & Bourke

Is there a Dooney & Bourke outlet?

Yes, there are 17 factory stores located in Maine, Florida, Virginia, Washington, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Texas, New York, Nevada, and Delaware. Most outlet stores carry a full inventory of Dooney & Bourke merchandise, including handbags, wallets, and accessories.

Where are Dooney & Bourke bags made?

Since the company was founded in 1975, the company has been making bags with a team of designers and craftsmen in Norwalk, Connecticut. Some manufacturing has been moved offshore. Many bags and purses are made at factories in Italy, Puerto Rico, and China.

Does I Love Dooney sell authentic bags?

Yes, I Love Dooney is an outlet store selling authentic handbags and accessories. The website is owned by Dooney & Bourke and all products sold are covered by the standard one-year guarantee.

Does Dooney & Bourke have a lifetime warranty?

No, there is no lifetime guarantee. While all products are built to provide a lifetime of use and enjoyment, the warranty covers just one full year of normal use.

Does Dooney & Bourke repair purses?

Yes, the company will repair any bag or accessory that has become damaged or worn. The repair cost will not exceed half of the current retail price for that particular style.

Credit: Chris Connor / WENN

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