Monday, March 16, 2009

A Worthy Substitute: American Eagle for Coach

Now, I wonder how many of you are scoffing at the subject of this worthy substitute already - does she really think you can substitute American Eagle for Coach? On some levels, no, of course not - Coach is Coach (unless it is Factory Outlet Coach), and American Eagle is American Eagle. However, on other levels, I do believe you can substitute something for Coach, and I feel that the bag by AE could be a very worthy, and very affordable (especially relatively speaking) alternative to Coach. [And in case you might think that I feel this way because I don't own any Coach, I do, and plenty of it.]

Within the past couple of years (cannot remember exactly which one), Coach debuted a gorgeous pattern - its Bleecker Tattersall, which consisted of muted shades of colors (blue, green, orange, and pink) on a cream background. Many of the Bleecker Tattersall items also include a silhouette of a horse and coach, along with the Coach logo. I really loved this pattern, because it reminded me of vintage, classic, and modern pieces all at the same time.

I even had the opportunity to purchase a Bleecker Tattersall tote at the Coach Factory Outlet store at Christmas. I saw another customer walking around with it, and hunted throughout the entire store until I grabbed the last one. Coach was also running a coupon promotion that day to sweeten the deal. I went back and forth on the tote a few times, as I wasn't completely enamored of the way that it closed on top.

When he heard about the bag, the Boyfriend told me to go ahead and buy it, and he would give me the money for it, as an early Christmas present. In the end though, I returned it, as I already have a wonderful Coach bag, and decided the top closure on the Bleecker Tattersallwas too much on the dislike side for me to keep the bag. A huge factor was also the price - the bag, at the Outlet, cost almost $200, and I couldn't justify that for yet another bag.

Now, it's not like I am walking around regretting that I didn't get the bag (I got some great cookbooks instead!), but when I saw this bag at American Eagle last week, it immediately called to mind the Bleecker Tattersall. I think it is the pattern of the bag - those soft, muted colors on the cream background - that made me consider this as a worthy substitute for Coach.

This bag is called the Plaid Mini Duffle (style #0427-7222), and retails for $59.50. Still a little on the pricey side, but much easier to swallow than $200. AE describes the bag as such:
The perfect girly accessory to grab when you're on the go.
• Soft, sturdy cotton
• Spring plaid pattern
• Bright color interior lining
• Soft leather straps
• AEO logo keyfob attached
• Classic duffle shape
• Three interior pockets

Imported, Machine Wash
From what I recall, the bag is lined in a muted pink color (a little brighter than the pink stripe on the outside), and is very roomy. Don't let the "duffle" in the name fool you - it's shaped like a duffle bag, but still looks like a nice, girly purse. I would imagine the leather straps are what raise the price on this a bit (don't recall any other purses that were this expensive from AE before), but they are a very nice, classic touch.

The bag is fairly light, and the handle drop is nice and long, so you can carry this in your hand, on your arm, and just as easily throw it over your shoulder. Another huge plus for this bag is that it is machine washable. Speaking from experience, it is next to impossible to clean a Coach bag yourself, even if it is a fabric bag (as opposed to leather).

The AEO keychain is an okay touch, and actually reminds me of Coach's tags on their bags. I'm not sure I would keep the AEO one on my bag if I got it though - I'm not sure I'd want to listen to all those chains and tags jangling around together!

So what do you think? Would you consider the AE Plaid Mini Duffle as an alternative to a Coach bag?

Just for reference, the Coach print at the beginning of this post is no longer available through Coach. They have updated the Tattersall print this year to include some scribbling (below).


Allyson March 17, 2009 at 8:16 AM  

Not for me. When it comes to designer bags, there are no substitutes. That's not to say I only carry designer bags, I don't, and that AE bag is really cute. I just can't call it a substitute for Coach.

Anonymous May 16, 2009 at 11:45 PM  

The minute I saw this bag AE bag I LOVED it! I own the pink tattersall bag and while I am very happy that I splurged on it, the AE bag is def a good enough sub for me. I would gladly put a couple of my COACH bags away for this one! However no happy ending for me, AE is sold out! I'll just have to wait and see if they run the pattern again... unless someone else has one they'd let me take off their hands, but I won't hold my breath for that to happen

JTS May 18, 2009 at 3:40 PM  

Hi Anon - I know, I was sad to see this one sell out so quickly, too :( I love my Coach bags, but sometimes I like having other options!