If there’s one activity that I discovered during this pandemic season, it’s the ability to bring new life into an old bag.
A sampling of the vintage Coach Bags that I’ve restored during this pandemic.
Since the commencement of the big lockdown, I’ve whiled away hours perusing the internet (much to Bonaparte’s dismay) in search of inexpensive bags that could be restored.
Only two brands spoke to me: Louis Vuitton and Coach.
I”m definitely all about the vintage LV Monogram bags as well. All of these with the exception of my Neverfull bag were purchased pre-loved and were cleaned up and repaired.
I love the Louis Vuitton Monogram canvas bags. The checkered print of the Damier and the Damier Azur, not my jam. But there’s something so lovely about the deep brown coated canvas adorned with initials and symbols that I find irresistible. And it looks striking against the Vachetta leather.
And for me, it’s all about the monogram. I’m just not into the Damier -The grayish/blue and cream checks do nothing for me..
Due to my stubborn searching, I was lucky enough to find a few bags and small leather goods to restore and become rather close siblings to the Neverfull bag that Bonaparte gifted me with in 2019 for my birthday.
The one bag, the very one bag I was searching in vain for was a Vuitton Noé Bag. It didn’t matter whether the bag was the larger GM or the smaller, more petit PM. I love the drawstring element. I love the casual unstructured vibe. I love the bucket bags.
But the thing was, I was never able to find that one Noe for me. First of all, I don’t buy damaged goods. And by damaged, I mean, I won’t buy a bag that has a ripped strap or handle. Nor will I purchase a bag with scratched canvas or tears, rips, or burns in the coated canvas. I’ll restore an old bag. I’ll clean up the filthiest, greasiest bag with incredibly tarnished hardware. I’ll even tear apart a bad lining. But I won’t deal with damage.
Cracked leather, no. It’s an impossible feat to find one in good used condition that doesn’t cost a fortune!
My LV Bucket GM had to have the trim repaired because while I was refurbishing the bag, I got a bit heavy-handed and the trim started ripping. It cost me over $100 to have repaired. Still, for the price of what I paid added to the cost of repair, it was still a great deal.
My repaired bucket bag. It cost me over $100 to repair and the bag still remained incredibly affordable!
I’ve searched Poshmark, Mercari and eBay in hopes of finding my elusive Noé to no avail. Other sites that sell preloved LV bags are just out of the budget I set for myself. If a bag is in “great” used condition and being resold for nearly what the original cost is, I may as well just save for a new one.
And that’s what I was planning to do. Until a “thing” happened. That thing was a price increase earlier this merry month of May. It was the third of the brand’s price increase for 2020.
The price of my coveted bag is now up to $1,730 dollars. I’m not buying it!
That. Is. Abominable. It is greedy and arrogant. We are in the throws of a pandemic. People have lost jobs. People are dying. And this brand raises their prices.
I read that the latest increase was due to the rising costs of supplies. I call Bull$hit. The cobbler who repaired my LV bag had the foresight to order a ton of supplies—leather from Italy, polishes and cleaners from Canada and other items, when this lockdown barely started. So why didn’t a huge conglomerate of luxury items do the same?
Even more disturbing was the rising cost of the used Noé bags I researched. Bags for $300, $400, $500 damaged beyond repair. My mind was filled with questions. How could someone trash a bag that was really expensive? How could a bag like that be damaged in the first place? How could someone have the audacity to even sell a bag in that sort of condition?
This Noe, although not obviously damaged is incredibly old and lackluster and still managed to sell at over $600. I’m sorry but no pre-loved bag that looks this aged should be sold for that amount of money.
In the meantime, I rediscovered a brand that I loved when I was younger. Coach. When I was in my twenties and working down on Wall Street in Manhattan’s Financial District, the bags were the “It” brand. The simple lines. The pragmatic styles. No logos. Just stellar leather. That’s it. Leather with no fabric lining. No status symbols. Just a fabulous bag.
The simplicity of Coach bags always warms my heart. I recently refurbished this 45-year old Dinky Bag!
When she was in college, Oona worked at Coach and loved that job! She worked weekends when she came home for laundry and wellness visits. She worked during holiday and summer vacations and worked there for over four years! One of my favorite bags is a tote she gifted me with.
Oona gifted me with this Coach tote abour 13 years ago. It still remains in my rotation and I absolutely love this bag!
Then came what I call the “C” years. Ugh. Coach lost its way and followed logo suit with other brands. Less leather-more canvas and the letter “C” splashed all over. Call me “C”razy but I thought those years cheapened the brand.
Coach finally did an examination of conscience and now sells updated versions of vintage and iconic models. But here’s the thing. Why spend the money when you can just buy a vintage Coach bag, clean and polish it up, and get that old-school Coach vibe?
And that’s what I did.
Luckily the Coach bags of vintage years are still incredibly affordable. But who knows for how long? Anyway, I’ve restored a small number of these lovelies and am having a grand time wearing them to the office.
More of the vintage Coach bags that I’ve rehabbed!
But back to that coveted Noé. She was still in the back of my mind until I spotted something else. A Coach Lula’s Legacy bag. Smaller than either of the Noé bags I coveted; this bag was still large enough to hold essentials that could be needed. A journal for writing could even fit.
Coach Lula’s Legacy. Everything the Noe bag isn’t–and is at a wonderful price.
All leather. No coated canvas to become damaged. No Vachetta leather to stain. A simple drawstring bag that needed a very big cleaning.
I spotted her on eBay and was charmed by the seller’s description. The bag had been in many college bars. It had lots of beers spilled upon it. The inside was stained with pen marks from being thrown into the bag after classes.
This bag had a history and was filthy. I loved her. There was no damage just beer, ink and dirt. And the seller had a sense of humor and was honest.
I dunked her. I scrubbed her. I dried her. And conditioned her.
The bag became mine for $40. I dunked her in water. I scrubbed her. I conditioned her. The dirt and grime were gone but there was permanent darkening in spots—I’m guessing from the beer. This bag must’ve trekked miles with the Walk of Shame—or Shameless!
As clean as she got, there are still some dark spots but it is part of her charm!
Lula’s Legacy certainly is—a legacy!
See? She’s clean but has the markings from all those beers! Still, she’s strong and powerful!
The rich chocolate brown will lend itself well to the coming fall and winter palette as well as now. So yeah, I still dream about that Noé but now isn’t the time. I’m fortunate to be working but who knows how office policies will change once people return.
It’s time for frugality. I’ve put a halt to refurbishing future vintage bags—but I have enough for now.
Lula holds a good amount of my stuff: Here’s a look-see
As you can see, quite a bit fits into Lula’s belly!
This wallet! It is the greatest one that I found on Amazon. It’s small and compact and holds a ton of cards and money! Chippy is coveting it as a snack!
Hand sanitizer that I FINALLY found and found at Produce Junction when I purchased flowers yesterday!
My planner–which since March the only writings are “go to work” “come home” “cry”
My Louis Vuitton Agenda PM which also has nothing of plan in it. I had to cross out our visit to France next week!
A little burlap sack with lip balm, lipstick and lipgloss.
Another little sack with extra masks–just in case
A wig comb that Chippy snacked upon
A reusable shopping bag housed in a little sac from Monoprix. I have one in every purse. I hoard these when we are in France. One can never have enough of these little shopping bags!
Don’t even ask. 2012. I started using this as a food journal but lately there isn’t enough room to add what I’ve been eating!
So yeah. Lula holds quite a bit. Chippy thinks it’s Christmas!
And so, my Coach substitute for Noé will suffice just fine!
Do you have a bag that you covet? Are you tired of rising costs for “luxury” bags? Let us know!!!