A Tale of Two Taupes – Vintage AWL Dooney & Bourke

One of the most popular All Weather Leather colors in the vintage Dooney & Bourke (Made in USA) line of handbags and wallets was Taupe.

Look how these two bags in taupe look so different with their respective trims.

If your eyes are like mine, the taupe in the bag with the Burnt Cedar trim looks very brown !

While the taupe with the British Tan trim almost looks a little brighter and rosier!

They are both the same taupe – Its a trim trick !

Vintage Belt Bag Style B700 Taupe with Burnt Cedar trim

Vintage Belt Bag
Style B700 Taupe with Burnt Cedar trim

Vintage Belt Bag Style R700 Taupe with British Tan trim

Vintage Belt Bag
Style R700 Taupe with British Tan trim



Maxi Week at Horsekeeping’s Dooney & Bourke Store

This week we rounded up all the big boys or girls as it were – everything from totes to briefcases to shoppers – the big daddies that hold tons of stuff. So here they are:


R 41 Shopping Tote


R12 Legal Brief British Tan


P 12 Legal Brief Black


P 307 Small Bucket Bag from the Metro Collection



Fir Week at Horsekeeping’s Vintage Dooney & Bourke Store

This week I have rounded up all the fir bags we had waiting to be listed.

What says Dooney and Bourke better than a Vintage All Weather Leather Made in USA Fir and British Tan handbag??

R28 Small Satchel

R28 Small Satchel

R74 Cavalry Body Bag

R74 Cavalry Body Bag

R19 Classic Zip Top

R19 Classic Zip Top

R751 Vintage Flap Bag

R751 Vintage Flap Bag

R26 Small Essex

R26 Small Essex

R25 Medium Essex

R25 Medium Essex

That’s all the wonderful Dooney green I could find.


Bone Week Continues at Horsekeeping’s Dooney & Bourke

More newly listed Bone Week bags for spring and summer in our Dooney & Bourke store.

Here they are with their official names and numbers:

Small Carpet Bag Model R47

Small Carpet Bag
Model R47

Vintage Organizer W74

Vintage Organizer W74


R720 Zipper Clutch

R720 Zipper Clutch



R26 – Small Essex


R29 - Classic Satchel

R29 – Classic Satchel


R04 - Small Norfolk Case

R04 – Small Norfolk Case


R191 Small Flap Bag

R191 Small Flap Bag

And one white one snuck in !!!

R147 Carpet Shoulder Bag

R147 Carpet Shoulder Bag


Dooney & Bourke Leather Colors from a vintage catalog

This is the oldest Dooney & Bourke catalog that I have. There is no date on it but it does say Volume IV on the front.


From the models inside and the pricing note on the order form, it seems like it was printed in July 1987.

These are the colors and their names from 1987 – as you read the color names, note that the second photo should be next to the first one………..so………….

In the first photo the top two are Ivy and Rouge

then in the second photo, the top two are Wheat and Olive Brown.

And so on………..

colors 1colors 2

I hope this is of interest and is helpful.


Vintage All Weather Leather Dooney & Bourke Equestrian Collection – Small Equestrian

From the 1994 catalog

1994 catalog EQ COLL

Equestrian Collection from 1994 Dooney & Bourke catalog

To see more specs and photos about the Small Equestrian, click on this photo


Rare color Kelly Green Small Equestrian from the Dooney & Bourke Equestrian Collection.


Dooney & Bourke All Weather Leather Care Questions

Hi Paula
I had asked you about a Dooney and Bourke Norfolk but ended up bying a vintage Dooney and Bourke X-large hobo instead. My first Donney and Bourke bag! They are unknown in Denmark as far as I l know so I got it from the USA at a high cost. It is all black. On the same day I got it in the mail I treated it with leather conditioner/grease which I always do with lather bags when I get them before I begin to use them. I just rubbed it all over the bag and went to bed. The next say when I got home in the evening I noticed that the bag had not absorbed the grease like lather bags usually do. I rubbed the grease off the bag and got online only to find out that putting grease on Dooney and Bourke all weather leather was a bad idea. I took in the bath room and washed it with cold water to make sure that I got all of the grease off the bag. The bag did not absorbe water at all, but seemed to be water resistant just fine. My question is, could I have damaged the bag? It was in exellent condition before and still seems to be, it looks the same, but maybe the grease did damage the it? Should I kick myself or just be happy I got the grease off within 24 hours (and be and make sure never to use leather grease or conditioner again?)
Best regards,
Neurotic handbag lady, Rina, in Denmark

Hello again Paula
Just want to add a picture to my question and tell you that the bag seems completely dry to the touch, after being greased/greased off and wet, as I described in my question the other day, but I’m still worried if the grease has invisibly damaged the all weather leather. Please take your time.
Thank you again for a great blog and your great respons.
Cheers, Rina, Denmark

mydooneyHI Rina,

Read below for some information, especially the part about how conditioners relax the pores of the leather, thereby defeating the AWL properties.  – Paula

Hi Paula,

I just ordered the black/tan Essex Carrier from the grab bag section, and I’m so excited! It’s my very first Dooney & Bourke, and I’ve wanted one for ages.

860-grab-R99-ex-carrier-med-blbt-1 860-grab-R99-ex-carrier-med-blbt-7I love reading your blogs online, and I wanted to ask you–how do I clean it? Is it best not to use leather oils or cleaners? I’ve read that they can strip the properties of the AWL. And is there a way to remove the spot or lighten it? If not, I don’t mind; it doesn’t look that obvious, and I’m not picky, because I love vintage!

It looks like this lovely bag still has years of use left in it, and I can’t wait for it to get here!

Thanks again,


Hi Keeley,
Yes our Grab Bag Section is where we put the bag that have some cosmetic blemishes but are structurally sound and can be used as-is or might benefit from some TLC.
I’ve already posted some info on this blog about care.
To expand on that………Yes, minimal products to clean and condition.  The AWL (All Weather Leather) portion (that’s the thick pebbly leather than makes up the main body of the bag) needs no conditioning. The British Tan trim is the leather that can show darkening and stains (or beloved patina !) so you can clean it per the instructions from the Dooney website pasted below. Note that if you use harsh cleaners or oil or conditioner on the British Tan, it will change it. Harsh cleaners can remove color and oils and conditioners can darken the tan.
At one point in time Dooney & Bourke sold a product to use on the British Tan trim but they no longer do. It was this item.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASince that product is no longer available, for the British Tan trim on my own bags, when I want to give them a light cleaning, I use a good quality mild glycerin saddle soap in a bar form, rather than the cream in a can. He’s an idea of what the glycerin bar looks like.
For more information on care and cleaning, you could click the link below and browse the official Dooney & Bourke website – below the link I’ve posted most of the information from the D&B site related to All Weather Leather care.

“The leathers used in most Dooney & Bourke merchandise are both water repellent and generally scratch resistant. However, some leathers may become discolored when wet, returning to their original colors once completely dry.

Anything containing dyes (ball point pens, lipsticks, etc.) cannot be removed as they will re-dye the surface.

All-Weather Leather® Collection (Classic)
Classic All-Weather Leather® is 100% cowhide and should be gently wiped with a damp cloth when necessary.This leather can usually be cleaned with the use of a soft cotton cloth slightly dampened with distilled water (sodium-free seltzer water may be substituted) and a mild bar soap, applied in a circular motion. Repeat with distilled water only to ensure no residual soap remains. The leather should then be allowed to dry completely.This collection should not be treated with cleaning agents or leather creams. The oils in such products loosen the pores of the leather, defeating the shrinkage process that makes All-Weather Leather® impervious.”

Hi Paula,You may remember me–I purchased the gorgeous Essex carrier (my very first Dooney bag!) a few days ago. I just now purchased the nifty small white carpet bag as well, so I think you have a new customer!  Just wanted to ask–one website recommended “whitening” stains on white leather bags with Kiwi shoe polish. Is this a good idea, or would it ruin the finish?Thanks again for your help.  Keely
906-misc-carpet-whitebt-1 906-misc-carpet-whitebt-8 906-misc-carpet-whitebt-9
Hi Keely,
I wouldn’t use Kiwi shoe polish, no.  Once you get the bag, you can decide how you want to refurbish it, but I’d steer clear of the white shoe polish.
If it were my bag, I’d receive it, look at it, maybe even start using it and see if you think the wabi-sabi of a vintage bag is actually more endearing than trying to make it look new.
I think that is how I would feel.
But if I just couldn’t stand it and wanted to have it perfect, I’d take it to a shoe repair place where they have leather dye and have the white part dyed. Depending on the skill of the repairman, you run the risk of ending up with a new issue – it is hard to do a really neat job around the British Tan trim so……….
another alternative is that you could buy the dye and do it yourself.
Dye is permanent. Leather dye is thin and has the consistency of a solvent. It sinks into the leather immediately.
Conditioners are oily or greasy and sit on top of leather and gradually sink in. making leather softer, more pliable and as D&B says, opens the pores of the leather which in this case is not a good idea.
Leather polish is a creamy or waxy top dressing. Especially with white polish, that layer or coat you would put on would flake and crack and come off.  It would also alter the the leather in a negative way.
So with all that said, I have never dyed a Dooney bag but I have had great success using leather dye on other items such as English riding boots where the color wears off the inside surface of the boot where it rubs against the saddle and the horse. The brand of leather dye I have used is Fiebings  and they do make a white dye.
Note that if you choose to try to dye a bag to eliminate some of the spots, you will likely have to dye the entire bag because no two whites are the same as no two blacks are browns are. So it is not a project to undertake lightly.