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

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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.

Dooney & Bourke handbags are designed in Norwalk, a city located in southwestern Connecticut, but are mostly made in China and other countriesDooney & Bourke handbags are designed in Norwalk, a city located in southwestern Connecticut, but are primarily made in China and other countries (Credit: Melissamn / Shutterstock)

In 1983, the iconic All-Weather leather bag was introduced, which featured the label’s signature duck logo with an embossed leather font.

The Dooney & Bourke logo is a duck because the company’s first bags were made from a type of leather called “All Weather Leather,” which is naturally water-repellent, like a duck’s feathers.

Dooney & Bourke handbags, with celebrity fans such as Emma Roberts and Hayden Panettiere, remain very popular.

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 (Credit: Chris Connor / WENN)

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.

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 second-hand 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 (Credit: WENN)

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

1. Dooney & Bourke
2. Dillard’s
3. QVC
4. Amazon
5. Zappos

While many secondhand resellers go to 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, it is most likely a fake.

Make sure you look very closely, as some perfect counterfeit bags use stitches just off a shade or two, appearing very similar to the other 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 immediately 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 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 a 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 cannot 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.

American reality television personality Deena Nicole Cortese Buckner shows off one of her favorite Dooney & Bourke handbags American reality television personality Deena Nicole Cortese Buckner shows off one of her favorite Dooney & Bourke handbags (Credit: INFphoto)

Questions About Dooney & Bourke

Is there a Dooney & Bourke outlet?

Yes, there are 19 Dooney & Bourke factory stores located in 11 states in the United States. Most outlet stores carry a complete Dooney & Bourke merchandise inventory, 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.

While the bags are designed in Norwalk, Connecticut, most Dooney & Bourke handbags are made in China. The company still has a small number of bags that are made in Italy and Puerto Rico. A limited number of bags are made in the United States.

The company says that it is committed to making high-quality bags and that the location of production does not affect the quality of the bags.

Dooney & Bourke is one of the most popular American handbag brandsDooney & Bourke is one of the most popular American handbag brands (Credit: JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock)

Is Dooney & Bourke and ILoveDooney the same company?

ILoveDooney is an outlet store selling authentic handbags and accessories. The website is owned by Dooney & Bourke, and the standard one-year guarantee covers all products sold.

While they are authentic Dooney & Bourke products, the items sold on ILoveDooney are generally from previous seasons, overstock, or otherwise discounted compared to what you might find in traditional retail outlets or the primary Dooney & Bourke website.

Does Dooney & Bourke have a lifetime warranty?

No, there is no lifetime guarantee. However, Dooney & Bourke offers a warranty against defects in craftsmanship and materials for one year from the date of purchase.

This guarantee covers the repair of any defect or issue related to craftsmanship or materials under normal use.

Does Dooney & Bourke repair purses?

Yes, Dooney & Bourke offers a repair service for their purses. They offer a variety of repair services, including:

  • Leather repairs, such as stitching, recoloring, and burnishing
  • Hardware repairs, such as replacing zippers, snaps, and buckles
  • Cleaning and conditioning
  • Restoration

The repair service is available for all Dooney & Bourke purses, regardless of age or condition. The repair cost will vary depending on the type of repair needed.

To inquire about repair services, you can contact Dooney & Bourke customer service at 1-800-347-5000. Bring your purse to a Dooney & Bourke retail store for a free estimate.

What was the Dooney & Bourke controversy?

In 2009, the founder of Dooney & Bourke, Peter Dooney, was convicted of conspiracy and bribery under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Travel Act in the Southern District of New York.

He was found guilty of conspiring with Czech national Viktor Kožený, known as “Pirate of Prague,” to pay bribes to Azerbaijan’s ex-president and government officials. The bribery involved a 1998 scheme, including selling and purchasing the Azeri state oil company.

Although Dooney did not personally bribe the government officials and lost his $8 million investment in a hedge fund managed by Kožený, he was found to have known that money invested in the fund was used for bribing Azeri officials with cash and a secret two-thirds interest in the oil company. After the jury verdict, Dooney was fined $1 million and sentenced to one year in prison, followed by three years of probation.

Why is the Dooney & Bourke logo a duck?

The duck logo was first introduced in 1983 with the launch of the All Weather Leather collection. The duck symbolizes the company’s commitment to quality and durability.

The "All Weather Leather" (AWL) was a defining characteristic of early Dooney & Bourke bags, and it was designed to repel water and resist the elements, much like a duck's feathersThe “All Weather Leather” (AWL) was a defining characteristic of early Dooney & Bourke bags, and it was designed to repel water and resist the elements, much like a duck’s feathers

The All Weather Leather was created in 1975 by Dooney & Bourke founders Peter Dooney and Frederick Bourke. The leather was made from a special blend of cowhide and pigskin treated with a water-resistant finish. The All Weather Leather was a popular choice for bags because it was durable and easy to care for.

It is also a reminder of the company’s history and its origins in the world of leather goods. The duck logo has been a part of the Dooney & Bourke brand ever since. It is a recognizable and iconic symbol that has helped to make the company one of the most popular handbag brands in the world.

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