I have a large stable of straight, male friends as a result of my three collegiate years spent working evenings and weekends at Best Buy, and even though they’re always very polite and make sure to ask me how my job is going, it’s rare that they have specific inquiries for me about handbags. Which, I suppose, is as expected.

That’s why it caught me off guard when one of those guys asked me about a type of bag that he had seen over and over again while we were at dinner not long ago. His description was vague, but we eventually figured out that he was talking about bags like the Dooney & Bourke Kristen Animal Tote and its many doppelgangers.

These bags always seemed vaguely ridiculous to me, and as a result, I kind of ignored them. It was smug of me to do so, however – they may not be the height of fashion, but the style has been so popular and spawned so many lookalike bags that my job sort of requires that I pay attention to it.

My friend also asked me why the bags, which are objectively not all that attractive, had become so popular among such a wide swath of suburban America. I told him I didn’t know at the time, but the more I think about it, the more it seems like it’s probably for the same reason that so many people love our other patterned friend of Middle America, Vera Bradley.

It appears that a certain segment of the population feels as though they can opt out of coordinating their bag with their outfit by choosing something that’s not a solid shade, and that no matter what colors it might be, it will function as a neutral simply by virtue of being patterned. I’m not a personal subscriber of this particular theory, but I can see why a lot of women are – fashion can be a daunting subject to tackle, and finding a way to opt out while still paying lip service to what is popular among your peers is certainly an attractive alternative. I merely wish that they’d move on from giraffe print. Buy through Zappos for $225.

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Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • Jane

    I never understood why this bag was popular and why it spawned so many look a likes, but that makes sense now.

  • Finegremlin

    I have this in the bucket version. It gets the most compliments out of all of the bags that I carry and yes, it goes with everything. D & B make make great bags.

  • 19yearslater

    Many of the women I see with one of these Dooneys are very well put together; so I think that this bag is the edge of high fashion that allows women to have a nicer bag without breaking the bank or going for a true neutral such as black or tan. And, I have a confession to make: I like Vera Bradley. I don’t go for the pink and paisley stuff, but I do carry their bags and what I love is that there are so many colors I can match it well with my outfit.

  • Anita

    This is the one D & B bag that I really like; normally D & B bags do nothing for me & frankly, I think most of them are atrocious. I would carry this bag, though.

  • DW

    I like the Dooney and Bourke bags. I have a ton of Gucci and Louis Vuitton Handbags and the leather beats the Gucci. I went to Neiman Marcus today to look at the Black Sukey Gucci bag. They want almost $1500 for the bag and the leather is really thin on the bag. The leather on the Vachetta Dooney and Bourke handbags is a 100% better. These designers are getting ridiculous with the prices of the bags and the quality is not good.

  • Kellie Wilson

    gross!! I know d and b bags are not actually cheap but they always look it to me!

  • coachbags

    coach bags It looks very nobleit is very beautiful,Color and style looks very fashionable

  • Chris

    I love the leather quality of Dooney & Bourke bags. It feels luxurious. The editor’s tote (although mostly made of nylon) can rival that of Ralph Lauren’s or Louis Vuitton’s.