I don’t remember exactly when I started to love high end purses. My dear husband bought me my first, a black suede Prada with an incredibly cool hook style clasp. He has also bought me all of my subsequent expensive bags with the exception of one we got together while vacationing in Rome. I have bags designed by by Prada, Michael Kors, Burberry, Jimmy Choo, and Valentino. I know this because of the iconic branding on the purses, the card of authenticity in the inner pocket, the logo’d dust bag it came in, and the fact they were all bought either at the actual store bearing the designer’s name or at a reputable dealer, such as Neiman Marcus or Bloomingdale’s. That last requirement is the one that matters most as I’ve come to find out in a special report of mine airing tonight on counterfeit goods. Purses are the most counterfeited items in the world. Shoes, clothing, and other accesories, men’s too, are a close second. Every designer brand is a target but the ones that show up most often are Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel, and Nike. And good counterfeiters will copy it all; logo, authenticity card, dust bag, everything, so they can get your money. Most purses and shoes have a date and country code showing when it was made and where. Reputable dealers will know how to spot a fake code immediately. That may be harder for you and I but we can learn to pay attention to the other details that will tip you off that your Gucci is a “gotcha!” First, fakes will usually have plastic around the handles. Real designer bags will not. Look for sloppy or inconsistent lettering on the logo. Did you know the letter O in Louis Vuitton is a perfect circle, not an oval? Or that the left side of the M on Jimmy Choo is slimmer than the right? Also, how does the bag feel, look, even smell? A $1000 – $5000 leather purse is going to smell wonderful, feel buttery soft and the hardware on the handles, zipper, and pockets will be impeccable. You can use the same checklist on designer shoes. The iconic red sole of a Christian Louboutin will round off perfectly into the leather of the shoe, will be shiny and have a crisp imprinted logo with the country of origin below it. The list works for menswear and luggage. Zippers that don’t line up, a Louis Vuitton duffel bag with Italy as country of origin (it should always read France). Always make sure to buy designer items from the actual designer’s store or an authorized dealer. Chanel being sold on the street corner should be a big red flag. Louboutins in a box in someone’s trunk, probably not legit. When it comes to spotting counterfeits, trust your gut, know the tip offs, and protect your money. And then enjoy your purchase. Because a real designer item will last you a lifetime.
My all time favorite purse hubs and I got in Italy at Valentino. The suede on mine is worn, there are now pen marks inside, and the large bow makes the clasp completely impractical, but I LOVE carrying it. It’s beautiful, never fails to get a compliment, and as a bonus, reminds me of our wonderful trip to Rome and Florence.