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.

Paula – I bought this Outback bag for a song – did I do good?

Hi Paula!

I really appreciate and enjoyed learning about D&B bags looking at your site. It is very helpful and informative, thank you!
I am writing because I recently purchased a bag which appears to be a Medium Double Pocket Outback bag. I got it for a song so am of course skeptical. I am no bag expert but with the help of your site I was able to deduce the name of the bag. I also compared it to the checklists for authenticity and it came out pretty well. I do not have the fob but the accents (brass, stitching, etc.) and material seem correct. The ducks eye has a rather small looking pupil though, and I the interior pockets (there are the correct number of them) are not made of leather. The interior zipper pull is Talon brand as well, not the ‘riri’. The interior sticker says R35 ST 80394346 and the bag is tan on tan.
I would very much appreciate any help you could offer at authenticating the bag. I think its a real stumper!
Thanks for all that you do,
back of tag Bag Back Bag Front Duck Emblem front pocket detail interior sticker under interior pocket tag


Thank you for taking the time to look at this bag. Please let me know if additional pictures would help you discern the bag’s quality. I bought this bag at a thrift store and am hoping that I found an amazing deal. Thanks again!!
Hi Sahsa,
You did good girl !! This is indeed authentic and a highly coveted model plus it is in a color that usually shows its wear – yours looks in pretty darn good shape.
You wondered about the interior pockets – you thought they should be made of leather. Actually most Dooneys have this type of snap, zip, credit card pocket combos and they are made from a Dooney & Bourke proprietary fabric-backed vinyl with a grain texture to look like leather. So you are OK there.
The riri zipper is only on certain models – your zipper for your interior pocket is fine.
The fact that the fob is missing is not such a big deal. What’s great is that the tag is there and unsnipped.  And it still has the sticker on the back side of the pocket.
The R35 is the model number and the ST stands for Saddle Tan. At first when you look at your bag you might think “All British Tan” but on closer examination, you can see that the British Tan Trim is a lighter color than the AWL of the main body of the purse. So your bag has the R designation which means a color of AWL (in this case Saddle Tan) with British Tan trim.
Here’s a similar bag we sold that you can click on to see all the specs.
354-outback-double-med-bonebt-frontThere was a line of 6 Outback bags, each with the characteristic molded front pocket (or pockets) and the turned solid brass toggle and braided leather cord loop. Here is the R34 Medium Single Pocket.
Enjoy your great find !! Paula

Bought a box of name brand bags at an auction – is this one authentic?

Hi Paula,

I recently bought this bag at an auction for $30.00, it was in a box with 7 other name brand bags. It is a beautiful bag, great for going away on the weekend. It is in perfect condition. I am curious if it is an authentic bag. Mostly because my husband could not believe I paid $30.00 for a box of bags and I would love to tell him it is worth something.

The zipper tag says Dooney Bourke
Zipper might be plastic

It is approx 20 in long 11 inches wide 9 inch high. The tag is red white blue with a cut down the middle and the number is AO 563368.

thanks for your help. tara

1 3image 4image 5image 6image 7image 8image 10image 11image 12image 13photoTara,

You tell your husband you did good. REAL good.

This is an authentic Dooney & Bourke R43 Duffel Bag in all British Tan with padded shoulder strap. It’s official measurements are 12″ tall x 22″ long x 9″ deep.

It sold for $495 in 1994.

Read my article about snipped tags so you know what that means and how it affects value. 

Whoo-hoo !! Enjoy.


Refurbishing All Weather Leather Dooney & Bourke Bags

Dear Paula,
I have a A W L vintage dooney and bourke purse that has wear around the bottom side edge , can anything be done about it ?? the coloring has turned white and the leather looks a little bit scuffy . please tell me what can i do about this . What color blue would you call this bag? thanks Sandy

meow 324 meow 325

Hello Paula,

Your blog is so informative! I used it as a source when I was shopping for my AWL bags. I recently purchased an AWL Equestrian bag on ebay for a very low price and when it arrived I noticed that the leather trim is beginning to crack in some places. Also, a few spots on the actual purse which is black are looking a bit cracked and discolored. Can you recommend any preventative/restorative measures to protect the trim and restore the cracked areas? Thank you!
back cracking trim discolored patch 2 discolored patch full bag 2Hi  Cassandra and Gwyneth,
Since you have similar questions, I’ve ganged your notes and photos together.
Cassandra, your Air Force Blue bag has wear to the British Tan piping on the bag’s bottom corners. British Tan leather is not All Weather Leather so it does tend to wear more than the main leather of the bag.
To refurbish, you need to clean it thoroughly, condition it and then consider if you want to try to add some color back to the worn, faded areas.
To clean, choose your favorite leather care products. We use Leather Therapy Wash.
After cleaning to condition, we use Leather Therapy Restorer/Conditioner.
TSLT901557We’ve also tried Coach products but find Leather Therapy to be better.
Then depending on the exact color of your British Tan, you could consider using shoe polish or shoe cream to dab onto the worn spots. When Dooneys are new, the British Tan is a light pure tan and as it ages, it gains a darker patina –  so each bag will be a slightly different shade of Tan. Some of the colors we have used include Kiwi Tan Shoe Polish – the type that comes in a can, not a bottle. It is waxy and solid at room temperature.
tan kiwi
And Meltonian Shoe Cream in Light Brown #6 – upper left. As the name implies, a soft and creamy product.
MeltonianchartLight Brown
You can test the color on a place where it won’t be noticeable to see if you have chosen the correct color for your bag. We apply polish with Q-tips. Less is more. Add the tiniest bit and rub it in. You can always add more but once you put a lot on, it is hard to take it off.
Now to Gwyneth’s bag….your bag has had a lot of use and not much good care, so your job will be more difficult and the end result not as good.   You would use the same steps as I outlined above for your British Tan. Use a lot of elbow grease, by that I mean vigorous rubbing to clean and condition before you consider coloring.
In the places where the piping has cracked or where it has worn off completely and the cord inside is showing – the only way to fix that is to send the bag back to Dooney & Bourke for them to replace the piping. It would likely not be worth the cost. You can clean and condition the cracked piping aggressively but the cracks will still be there – your rubbing will just make them lay flatter and be less dry.
After a thorough cleaning and conditioning, you could consider using a black wax or cream on the places where the color has rubbed off on the main part of the bag.
If you are looking for a good Dooney bag, visit our Dooney & Bourke store. And if you are a Bargain Hunter, visit the Grab Bag section where we put the bags that have a little more wear. And remember, we provide free shipping to anywhere in the US.