Coach Willis Bag (1)

The first bag I ever begged my parents for (and eventually started off my handbag addiction with) was a classic Coach bag. It was the beginning of what has changed my life and turned into a full-time job, so as you can imagine, Coach holds a very special place in my heart. Over the years Coach has changed, offering more and more options for everyone, whether it’s your first bag or your 50th bag.

I was so excited to see Coach re-launched the Willis, a bag inspired by one of the most iconic bags in Coach company archives. This is the first Coach bag in the past few years I knew I had to have and once it hit the site I clicked to buy. I’ve been carrying it for a couple weeks and now I can break it down to share with you guys exactly how the Coach Willis stacks up.

Here is how my Coach Willis scores in our PurseBlog Purseonals ratings:

Aesthetics 4 Stars

I wouldn’t have bought this bag if I didn’t dig the look. I’ve had a few friends who actually asked, “Who makes that bag?” and were quite shocked (in a positive way) to realize it’s a Coach bag. A return to form, and to its heritage, is precisely what I’ve been wanting from Coach, and that’s what I got with the Willis.

The rounded corners are fresh and modern and I adore the longer strap for crossbody wear. There is a classic turnlock closure on the outside that is clearly Coach, but the overall design is not overwhelmed with logos which makes this bag much more subdued. There is of course a Coach charm and long leather tassel, but both can be removed. I opted for the brilliant pink leather offset with white stitching, a combination I have always been drawn to. The combination of the shape and color immediately lured me in.

Usability + Functionality 4 Stars

I have a really easy time using this bag. It is spacious enough for me to fit my long Louis Vuitton Zippy Wallet, which is a must, and it also has a back slit pocket that fits my phone. The inside is compact but still roomy, and it’s really important for me to have plenty of room to fit my usual must-haves.

The top of the bag features a structured roll top, and this makes carrying easy as well. As I reach into the bag to get out my belongings, I end up grabbing the bag like a clutch at the top, and the sturdy roll top makes this task easier. The turnlock closure is easy to open to get into the purse, but leaves everything inside secure. I’m unsure why there is a shorter handle because I can never see myself using it; I stick to the longer strap for shoulder and crossbody wear.

Coach has been in the business of leather goods for a very long time, so they have the design process down to a science. My only gripe is when I carry the bag over my shoulder, the strap is so long that I have to grab the bottom of the bag and pull it up to be able to shuffle through the inside. Also, the hand strap (which is not removable) seems rather pointless, I can’t imagine anyone carrying it by that so it seems to be more of a pointless aesthetic addition. Otherwise, this bag scores high for usability and functionality.

Quality + Construction 4 Stars

Coach gets a ton of flack for the quality of their bags. Truth is, I’m often not sure why. Whenever I get a Coach bag, it is always made well. Is it as luxurious as some of the premium designers? No. But I don’t think that is what Coach is going for. Coach wants to make quality products that will last a long time and look appealing while still being accessible to a wide consumer base. Seeing as how many bags are made in Asia now, Coach is not alone in where their bags are created. The attention to detail is still evident, and this Willis is handcrafted in China.

The leather is ultra sturdy, which is great to stand the test of time. I like that when I touch the leather it feels soft, but when I grab the leather it is very thick. The hardware also is standing up well; no huge scratches or discoloration. I don’t see any problems with the bag so far, and I’ve carried it through some of the hottest days of NYC summer.

Value 5 Stars

One of the main reasons I bought this bag is because of the value. It has become the norm for me to expect price tags reaching $2,000 for a handbag, and to see a really current and fresh bag that I am very happy to carry for only $298, well that just feels like a steal.

Some have complained that Coach has been raising their prices, but this is a true leather bag with great attention to every part of the item, and the price is still under $300. This to me deserves 5 stars plus.

The ‘It’ Factor 4.5 Stars

You know how I know this bag is still completely in style? It was brought back from the archives. Not only do I love how it looks, but classic Coach lovers have been looking for the brand to go back to its legacy and pull out some of the most classic designs – the Willis being one of them. I really like the shape and look of this bag, it is easy for day to day wear but the size allows you to carry it in the evening and that really makes this bag something special. I think the Willis has helped propel Coach back into the hearts and minds of some of their original customers. I know it did for me.

Total Score 4.5 Stars

This is a solid bag, and with high rankings above 4 stars for each category, the bag ends up with an overall 4.3 stars. Price is $298 via Coach online.

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  • breannesp

    I love love love my New Willis! Every once in a while, I’ll remove the long strap and carry it with just the handle. It’s a totally different vibe. Either way, it’s one of my favorite handbags. Good write up!

  • Shay

    Hi you mentioned you have no problems with Coach bags. i have a black coach bag with white worn marks on the area that rubs on my clothes. So one corner looks horrible. I took it to Coach and they told me all I can do is wipe it with a wet cloth because of how it is made. This does nothing to get the worn marks off and I was told you cannot use leather cleaner. So after a while this bag will be looking horrible.
    . So disapointed with Coach. Even if the bag is $ 300 – 400 this should not happen. So I would think twice to buy a Coach bag again.

  • Suz

    So happy Coach is going back to the more classic designs. Even when they “went off the rails” you could usually find at least one classic bag. But it was sometimes a struggle. Their price point is just to much more manageable/doable than so much of what’s out there.

  • Suz

    Oh….and I love the surprise lining…what fun!

  • PhotoGirl

    “Handcrafted in China” is NOT the Coach legacy that I remember. Shame on them!

    • Jan

      I know! I will NEVER buy another Coach bag until they return their manufacturing to the United States!

  • Tina

    I am glad that Coach has gone back to its roots finally! I hate all that logo, print, and graphics all over their handbag collections in recent years. I have several Coach bags in my archives (as I like to call it) because I just couldn’t imagine parting with them ever. I will take a look at the Willis because I am in the market for a crossbody and this price point is infinitely better than the other luxury designers I am considering….

  • Laura

    The color is gorgeous!

  • Sandra

    I applaud Coach for the product that they produce. While some of us come accustomed to spending $2000.00 or more for their bags….not everyone wants or can spend that amount of money. Coach and several others (Marc by Marc Jacobs, Michael Michael Kors, Rebecca Minkoff, etc…..) allow stylish people a mid range option that is both beautifully crafted and on trend.

  • Vanessa Balli

    Love this bag, great buy! I also love that Coach is going back to classic styles and not monogramming every piece. I currently have my eye on the Legacy Candace Carryall. Stunning!

  • unknown2cherubim

    I’m not one of those people who are used to nor desire to (nor could!) pay for a $2K handbag. I love Coach’s quality. I just bought a Coach tote this week and I’m very pleased as usual. It is very suitable for my work as well. ITA with other commenters here on hating the Poppy and Signature lines.

    Due to this write up I’ve just added the new Willis to my list.

  • pixiegirlie

    My handbag collection also started with Coach. Which started about 10-12 years ago. I will say from my personal experience their quality has gone down hill. It’s not just their handbags but also their accessories too. Every so often I get enamored with something from coach and get it and usually 2-3 weeks after using it, it starts falling apart which is very disappointing. In fact the only thing I can think of that I’ve purchased in the past few years by them that hasn’t fallen apart is a scarf. I was very excited to see the legacy collection come back as it was some of their better quality leather. However I didn’t like any of the colors or styles the closest that I came to liking is the willis bag but other than black none of the colors really do it for me.

  • dnfl

    “while not still being accessible to a wide consumer base”? lol

    • http://www.purseblog.com/ Vlad Dusil

      Fixed, thank you!

  • Jessi

    Adorable bag! I own two and LOVE them. I am a vintage Coach collector. This was my very first brand new Coach bag simply because of its crossover from vintage to modern. Though the bags made in China aren’t over all as good as the USA vintage, this bag was worth its price point. And I have to really budget to even spend this much!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/lexi.commander Lexi Commander

    Will an iPad fit in it?

  • http://twitter.com/RoddyJonesStyle RoddyJones.com

    Love Coach. Coach was my first designer handbag and after having my 3rd child I couldn’t resist purchasing the diaper bag. Love it!!

  • shueaddict

    Hi Megs, how about a new purseonal ??? It’s been like … 3 months. Do I have to beg?

  • Elaine Weiss Whitman

    I was really starting to like this design… until you showed me the interior. Yuck! Not only are there too many colours, the stripes don’t line up from the top of the bag to the inside lining. I know, I know… they’re going to claim it’s a “design element,” since the middle brown stripe matches. I call it a cheat. And a migraine waiting to happen.

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