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How to buy a Dooney

I have a Dooney and Bourke purse. Everyone has a measure of when you know you have arrived. I’m not sure where but I have certain tell-tale signs that I am there. One of my signs is to have a Dooney and Bourke purse. (Another sign is buying expensive tampons, but that is probably too much information.) It is mostly because of my Mom – when all else fails, one can always blame one’s parents.

At some point in high school, my mom told me that my sister Janet was an excellent student and got all A’s. I took this statement as a challenge and preceeded to get straight A’s in high school. Mom then told me that Janet got A’s in college and so I busted my butt my freshman year. I think it was some time after my freshman year that my sister told me she did not get straight A’s in college except for the one spring semester she took two religion classes and nothing else. I began settling for B’s and I stopped getting migraines.

What did not change, I think, is my belief that I must achieve higher than Janet or my life would be without meaning. This may also be about the time that I noticed that Janet only had Dooney and Bourke purses. (Do you now see how my mom started all of this?) If Janet owned a Dooney and Bourke purse, then when I have arrived, I will also own one. It all makes perfect mathematical sense. (Some of you may be saying, “But Marianne, we love you for who you are and you don’t have to arrive anywhere. Love where you are.” Well, we are dealing with my psychosis in this blog and this is part of it and I’m not changing it now. I finally got the stupid purse. Oops. Spoiler Alert.)

Now I suppose we should insert that I actually really like Fossil purses which I will not spend more than $40 for. I really like them. I have a few I have gathered over the last fifteen years. I will not pay full price for them. I also LOVE carpet bags and bought a couple in New York City which I love. I have never seen a DB purse I MUST have. I have never fallen in love with a purse with D’s and B’s all over it. But one must have one when one arrives.

So within the last two years, I have decided to search for “the bag.” I read Bringing Home the Birkin and if people can buy a $20,000 purse, I should be able to get a $200 purse. So I started to search. I wanted a patent leather black purse that was large enough to stuff a set of encyclopedias in. I looked and looked. I would find something I thought I liked, would ask to see it because they would be locked away, and then put it back after seeing the price tag. I just couldn’t do it.

I tried to settle by buying a D&B wallet. Normally a wallet would be around $100-150. I don’t believe I have spent more than $30 on a wallet. Or maybe $20. Once again, I couldn’t do it. I decided I would probably never arrive if I had to spend over $100 on a wallet or purse. And then it happened. The Dillards in town went out of business, because the mall in Helena is really a dark creepy hallway with boarded up storefronts. If Helena were a big city, the mall would be where you went to find out how to be initiated into a gang. When Dillards got to 75% off, I went and bought a wallet! I didn’t have much of a choice, but I had a Dooney and Bourke wallet for $35. I was very excited, but I still felt unarrived.

This is how I ended up in Macy’s with Kevin’s mom searching through the discounted purses when I found a really really large, patent leather, black Dooney and Bourke purse! It was $75 and my Christmas present from Kevin’s family! I was SO excited. I had arrived. And there was only a small metal Dooney and Bourke sign on the purse so it wasn’t too pretencious. It was more than I had ever spent in my life but I justified it by telling myself I would never have to buy a purse for the rest of my life.

It ripped.

Now Dooney and Bourke has you register your purse in case anything happens. If it rips, you mail it to the company and they send you a replacement. So I bundled my arrived purse and sent it to the company. Four weeks later, I received a letter letting me know they could not replace my bag but I now had credit for $265 – the worth of the purse. I just made $200 on my purchase! How great is that?

So I spent a week and decided on a nice $235 purse and a $30 cloth and leather cosmetic case which was so over the top that I love it more each day. I now own a really nice, leather purse. It smells nice. And it has rather large Dooney and Bourke signage. So I have arrived.


I sat in church and it was on the floor and I stared at it, embarrassed. I mean, who pays that kind of money for a purse? What was I thinking? I’m sure that no one, until now, realized how much this purse is worth. You have to know something about Dooney and Bourke to know their price scale and not too many women at church care about that. But I know.

So now that I have arrived, I am turning around. I will be keeping the bag, of course, because now when I tell Kevin that I need to spend money to make money, I have proof. I think what I have really realized is that I don’t need to arrive anywhere you can’t wear fluorescent green Doc Martins. (Surprisingly, fluorescent green Doc Martins seem to go with nearly everything. They do add a nice touch to my black leather with brown accent D&B bag, actually.)

Luckily all of this is my mother’s fault.


  1. Is it so sad that when I read the title I thought, "What is a Dooney? Must be a Montana thing?" It will be a while before I arrive. Don't dispair, I have heard of Dooney and Burke, I was just up multiple times in the night with a tree frog. Sleep deprivation is harder to combat the older I get.

  2. Janene says:

    Okay. This one is just too funny and I'm breaking out of my undercover blog reading dark glasses to tell you so. That said, I will proceed. You, my dear, are NOT alone. Buying the big bling bag? I could but I can't. I hear you about the bag, I hear you about the wallet. YOU are not alone….oh, my gosh, and now I'm all naked in the world of blog commenting! (hear the scurrying for the closest dark corner?) Great post!

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