Coach vs. Michael Kors: Throwing Handbags at Dawn

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Coach vs Michael Kors
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Last Updated on July 14, 2022

Coach New York, also known simply as Coach, is recognized for its high-quality mid-luxury fashion goods, particularly in the leather category (handbags, luggage, and accessories) as well as ready-to-wear. 

What is MK most recognized for? A clean aesthetic, streamlined garments, and above all clothing that allows the wearer to be the focus, instead of stealing the limelight. It is the epitome of wearable luxury: elegant and rich, but simple, clothes that show restraint and manage to be opulent at the same time.

When it comes to Coach vs Michael Kors, which is the best brand?

In order to find out we compared their women’s and men’s lines, their leather products, sunglasses, wallets, you name it! We have covered all the basics and we have picked the best luxury brand to invest in.

Curious? Read on to find out which made the cut!

Brand Recognition and Status

Brand Recognition and Status

Coach 

Clients value Coach because it achieves products that are exclusive, of great quality, and always trendy. The brand jumps on whatever fashions are in vogue and at the same time creates classic investment pieces. 

Coach handbags are manufactured with high-grade leather through very strict standards. This guarantees customers a top-of-the-line product that is easily recognized on the streets and has great status value. Another winning point of the brand is that, for its quality, the price entry of its products is not as steep as one would expect.

Michael Kors

Michael Kors is recognized for having been able to maintain a very identifiable aesthetic throughout decades of well-received collections. In his own words, this is mostly due to being able to understand what women want out of their clothing and how to cater to their needs, even before they themselves know them. His magic resides in allowing his customers to make his clothes their own, either by building on a basic garment or layering it up with other items. 

Kors’ pragmatic approach to clothing has served to cement the company’s reputation as a high-end brand that caters to women’s needs, not the other way around. In the fashion world, he is heralded as a paragon of affordable and wearable luxury. 

Winner for this category:

It is very hard to pick a winner for this category. Both brands are super famous in their own right, but all things considered, Coach is perceived as the most famed one.

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Best For Women

Best for Women: MK vs Michael Kors

Coach 

Despite having a good reputation for its women’s line of clothing, I found most of Coach’s garments pretty basic. These are some of the products I liked more: 

Long Print Dress $347.5

Udele Sport Slide In Signature Canvas $95

Statement Trench In Organic Cotton And Recycled Polyester $447.5

Coach X Tom Wesselmann Souvenir Jacket $695

But none of them really rocked my boat.

Michael Kors

As we said before, Michael Kors is most famous for its fashionable and luxurious clothing. Here are some of my favorite items found on its website:

Faux Leather Blazer $295

Ribbed Stretch Viscose Tank Dress $195

Stretch Logo Jacquard Short-Sleeve Sweater $140

Palm Lace Mini Dress $325

I would say the knitwear section was the weakest, while the dresses are the best. 

Winner for this category:

Comparing Michael Kors vs Coach to see which is best for women, I would definitely pick Michael Kors. The clothing looks more luxurious, chic, and wearable, while also being interesting from a design perspective. 

Best For Men

Best for Men

Coach 

Coach is certainly not recognized for its menswear and with good reason. Again, I found the clothing pretty basic and lackluster.

Citysole Derby $135

Coach X Jean Michel Basquiat Sweatshirt $295

Essential Joggers In Organic Cotton $195

Signature Hooded Puffer Jacket $275

However, I would say that for classic designs, Coach is a good bet for conservative men. 

Michael Kors

MK’s line for men has nothing to envy the women’s line. In general, I found it a bit more sporty but with a chic and preppy vibe.

Cotton Piqué Polo Shirt $118

Cotton Cargo Pants $148

Graphic Logo Stripe Cotton Blend Hoodie $103.2

Bonded Suede Jacket $898

My favorite section was the outerwear, lots of preppy jackets and pullovers there!

Winner for this category:

The winner of this luxury faceoff between Coach and Michael Kors is definitely Michael Kors. Despite Coach having better quality clothing, most of the clothing for men looks very classic and conservative. This is not really a bad thing though, but for their prices, I would rather get as much bang for my buck as I can.

Best for Handbags & Purses

Best for Handbags and Purses

Coach 

I was surprised at the lack of poor-quality items in the bags category. I found a lot of great bags that I would love to get for myself as investment pieces! These are only some of the items that I liked the most:

Rogue 25 In Signature Textile Jacquard $595

Disney X Coach Field Tote $595

Rogue In Colorblock With Tea Rose Applique $1300

Kitt Messenger Crossbody In Rainbow Signature Canvas $175

There were also a bunch of other cheaper options but dreaming is free!

Michael Kors

In Michael Kors, bags are divided by sex, which I found a bit silly. Most of the men’s bags were brown and done in classic colors, while the women’s bags were pink, white, and printed. I found this in much need of a 21st-century makeover, with only one general bag section instead of the two genre-based ones, where all products are presented together with (at most) a filter option. 

Blaire Medium Logo Stripe Satchel $398

Logo Suitcase $498

Hudson Logo Embossed Stripe Backpack $249

Hudson Color-Block Leather Smartphone Crossbody Bag $248

Still, I liked most of the bags’ designs.

Winner for this category:

Coach, because not only the designs were lovely, the quality of the bags was superb. If anyone feels like gifting me one of those, I’ll receive it with open arms!

Best for Leather Quality

Best for Leather Quality

Coach 

With all that we have said concerning the quality of Coach products, it should come as no surprise that Coach has great leather products:

Skinny Wallet $150

Tali Bucket Bag $197.5

Kit Sandal $97.5

Slim Turnlock Crossbody In Signature Canvas $125

Michael Kors

There are a ton of different products made out of leather by Michael Kors. Some of those options are:

Leather Moto Jacket $495

Jet Set Large Saffiano Leather Crossbody Bag $119

Serena Leather Wedge Sandal $145

Leather Strap For Apple Watch® $95

Winner for this category:

When it comes to Michael Kors vs Coach, the winner in leather products is undoubtedly Coach. As a high-end luxury brand, it has outstanding craftsmanship. Michael Kors is not bad, but it feels like it is not as good despite having some great products.

Best for Wallets

Best for Wallets

Coach 

I was surprised at how many small bags and wristlets are available on Coach’s website. Still, it felt like there wasn’t much variety.

Small Wristlet In Colorblock Signature Canvas $75

Tabby Medium Wallet In Signature Denim $195

Slim Card Case $95

Small Wristlet In Rainbow Signature Canvas $95

Michael Kors

I was a bit surprised at how many options of wallets are at Michael Kors. The brand really has a ton of different designs.

Floral Calf Leather Small Pocket Wallet $290

Carmen Medium Faux Leather Wallet $49

Logo Belt and Billfold Wallet Set $228

Leather Coin Purse $78

Winner for this category:

Michael Kors is the best designer in this case. Plenty of wallets in myriad colors and prints, with a wide variety of prices. 

Best for Watches

Best for Watches

Coach 

I am not a watch person, however, I was really into these designs!

Apple Watch® Strap, 38 Mm And 40 Mm $87.5

Perry Watch, 36 Mm $175

Park Watch, 25 Mm $495

Charles Watch, 41 Mm $175

My favorite was the Charles Watch, it is such a streamlined classic and elegant design!

Michael Kors

Again, I was really into some of these:

PRIDE Limited-Edition Oversized Everest Rainbow Pavé Rose-Gold Tone Watch $550

Oversized Slim Runway Black-Tone Watch $200

Pavé Two-Tone Strap For Apple Watch® $175

Charley Pavé Silver-Tone Watch $149

My favorite was the Charley Pavé Silver watch, hands down.

Winner for this category:

Such a difficult decision! Both brands had variety and quality behind their watches options. That being said I was more into the style of Coach for this section. Michael Kors felt a bit over the top for my liking. 

Best for Eyeglasses

Best for Eyeglasses

Coach 

These sunglasses are really giving me preppy summer vibes!

Sculpted Signature Hexagon Sunglasses $94.5

Legacy Stripe Square Sunglasses $176

Modern Sport Navigator Sunglasses $78

Signature Round Wayfarer Sunglasses $163

Michael Kors

I loved the slightly glam retro feeling of some of these sunglasses:

3-in-1 Sicily Eyeglasses $259

Makena Sunglasses $129

Calabasas Sunglasses $79

Byron Sunglasses $149

Winner for this category:

Both brands have lovely sunglasses, MK had better women’s sunglasses, but Coach had more variety for men despite having less variety for women. So I would say it’s really a tie in this case.

Best for Price

Best for Eyeglasses

Coach 

Coach is a luxury brand in the $$$$ range. It carries both expensive high-fashion garments as well as a couple of inexpensive accessories. The most expensive clothing item on their website at the moment of publication is a Coach X Tom Wesselmann Shearling Jacket at $2.200 and the lowest (not taking into account moisturizer, or an iPhone case) is a $40 pair of socks. 

Michael Kors

Michael Kors is a luxury fashion brand in the $$$$ range. It carries expensive high-fashion dresses as well as a few affordable everyday-use accessories. The most expensive dress on their website (at the moment of publication) is a $9,990 dress made of embellished floral stretch tulle and the lowest is a $23.40 camouflage nylon sports bra. 

Winner for this category:

So, which is more expensive, Coach or Michael Kors? The one I feel is most adequately priced for their products is Coach because the quality is outstanding and the materials used are superior.  

Best for Sneaker Fit

Best for Sneaker Fit

Coach 

I wouldn’t have pegged Coach as a sneaker brand, but they had plenty of options:

Skate Slip-On Sneaker In Signature $97.5

Lowline Low Top Sneaker $150

Citysole High Top Platform Sneaker In Rainbow Signature Canvas $97.5

Citysole Court Sneaker $175

Michael Kors

If it’s clothing, Michael Kors has plenty to choose from:

Bodie Logo Tape Mesh Slip-On Trainer $145

Poppy Color-Block Logo Sneaker $99

Emmett Denim Jacquard Sneaker $165

Nick Mixed-Media Trainer $225

Winner for this category:

My favorite was Coach. I really loved the style of sneakers, particularly the low tops and the rainbow high tops!

Sustainability Practices

Sustainability Practices

Coach 

Weirdly, Coach and its Tapestry family have been named one of Barron’s 2020 Most Sustainable Companies in America. However, after taking a long look into the “Good on you” rating, I have to say things don’t look good for the brand.

It looks like the company uses few eco-friendly materials. There is no evidence it reduces its carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions and it doesn’t have an anti-deforestation policy in place. When it comes to labor, none of its supply chain is certified by labor standards. So, not sustainable at all despite other claims. 

Michael Kors

Michael Kors, like all companies under the Capri Holdings umbrella, uses few eco-friendly materials. There is also no evidence that the company reduces its carbon and greenhouse gas emissions. So, it is quite fair to say that their sustainability practices are almost nonexistent. 

Winner for this category:

Neither. For such famous and huge companies, both are really lacking in terms of sustainability. It seems almost contradictory, but the bigger the company, the less it cares about being green. So far, small businesses are doing more about being sustainable at the moment than almost any of the high-end luxury fashion brands.  

Final Verdict: Who Wins?

Who Wins out of Coach vs MK

Such a tough decision! So, here’s my thinking… At Coach, the quality is top-notch. You can appreciate the finishing and the superior craftsmanship when you feel the supple leather or check the stitching. That being said, the products are really expensive. On the other hand, Michael Kors has more options when it comes to accessible items, but at a lower quality. 

So, is the best brand Coach or Michael Kors? Considering that both brands are situated in the luxury market segment, and target the same high-income audience, I will disregard the high prices in general and focus on getting the most value for the purchase. 

In that sense, I will say that Coach is the winner, despite it being so expensive. Comparing items in the same categories, there is no doubt that Coach is the best investment due to quality. But also because Coach items tend to not devaluate over time so their resell value is also better. The status for wearing the brand is also higher. 

FAQs

Michael Kors and Coach FAQs

Which Year Was Coach Established?

The luxury high-end brand Coach was established in 1941 in a loft on 34th Street in Manhattan as part of a family-run workshop.

What is the Most Expensive Coach Purse?

At the moment, the most expensive Coach purse is the Upcrafted Saddle 23 at $1.095.

What is the Most Expensive Michael Kors Watch?

The most expensive watch on MK’s webpage is the Limited Edition Oversized Camille Ombré Pavé Rose Gold-Tone Watch at $595. 

What is the Most Expensive Coach Handbag?

Right now, the most expensive Coach handbag is the Coach x Jean Michel Basquiat Rogue 39 collaboration purse made with snakeskin at $1300. 

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Lorena Lombardo is a fashion designer specialized in trend forecasting and fashion journalism. She studied at the UAL (University of London), ORT (Universidad ORT Uruguay), and taken various courses about traditional craftsmanship while living in Tokyo. Some of her favorite memories during the 90s include wearing bucket hats and trying to copy Rachel’s hairstyle. Her absolute favorite show was Buffy: the Vampire Slayer but she was also a huge fan of Clueless because of its amazing fashion choices. Her top track of the decade is currently disputed between How soon is Now? by the Smiths and Here with me by Dido. Both also happen to be the opening songs for two great 90s shows: Charmed and Roswell. Coincidence? I think not!