Want An Investment Handbag? How To Tell If It's Real Or Fake

Tina, here.

Are you dreaming of owning a Chanel classic flap handbag or a Wallet on a Chain? Or an Hermès belt? What about a Prada or a Louis Vuitton bag? A Verdura cuff? The counterfeit market for these handbags and accessories is huge. And very difficult to regulate. As long as people buy fakes, they'll keep making them. So how do you tell a real from a fake handbag? You study the real ones.

How To Tell A Real From A Fake

I waited and waited for this Chanel Golden Class to become available. And saved and saved ha! If you want a great resource on the luxury market and why things cost what they do, I love the book Deluxe, How Luxury Lost Its Luster by Dana Thomas.

Nashville and Williamson County folks! Join us Tuesday evening October 20 5:30 - 7:30 at Gus Mayer for a very private event we are opening up to my clients and Vault subscribers/blog readers.

A vintage luxury handbag and jewelry show by What Goes Around Comes Around, featuring Chanel, Hermès, Louis Vuitton and more. Small bites and drinks. Come see and feel the real thing! And buy with our help!

I have seen so may fakes, some good and some not so good. But you know how I can spot a fake Chanel or Hermès? I know what the real ones feel like, smell like and how they age. How the zipper moves. The stitching, the labels. Experts in the art world and counterfeit money have always studied the real deal in order to identify the fakes. Makes sense, right? So let's look at some key ways you can tell if you're buying a real or a fake. (And you know buying on the streets of New York is a terrible idea - not only are they fake, but it's illegal.)

Buying A Luxury Handbag: How To Tell If It's Real Or A Fake

1. If you buy online, buy from a trusted dealer or individual with a good return policy.

Often you'll see a picture of the real thing and be shipped a fake.

An upstanding company as opposed to an individual or a sleazy operation on the street has more to lose when it comes to selling fakes, so buy from the experts with a good reputation. If you buy from an individual, do your homework on them. I've known of What Comes Around Goes Around for a while, so I'm excited to meet the owner and learn more.

Gucci: How To Tell A Real From A Fake


Hermes Scarf

Hermes Scarf

2. Buy in person if at all possible, from someone who teaches you about what you're buying.

Smell it. Touch it. Use the zipper. Examine the hardware. The stitching is always straight and there should be no loose threads. It should smell like real leather. The zippers/snaps or other fasteners should feel heavy and work with ease and be of good quality metals. They are often stamped (but this can be faked, too). The interior should be as luxurious as the exterior. Luxury companies don't skimp on materials, not even on interior linings, etc. that only you will see and touch.

You know I'm a big fan of consignment shopping. The good ones maintain a stiff policy of never selling fakes (and if they do sell fakes, run far away). They know their stuff, like how to spot a fake. They often bring in experts to examine items before selling them. I've been called on a few times, and I know some other experts in Nashville who are great at spotting fakes, too. It comes from handling the real ones over and over and over and over. It's like looking into someone's eyes. Everyone's eyes look the same, but then not really. You know what I mean? You can "see" someone in their eyes. It's like that with seeing authentic Chanel, etc.

Chanel: How To Tell A Real From A Fake

This is an easy one. It's a terrible fake.

The above bag is for sale on eBay right now. In less than 30 seconds here's what I took in: the logo is wrong, the leather quilting is puckering, the chain looks wrinkled, the leather handles are wrong, and in looking at the close-up pictures, the stitching is crooked and the authentication number is on the outside of the bag. It's being shipped from Japan. And they want $1,000 for it.
Chanel: How To Tell A Fake From A Real

And here's a real Chanel red tote with silver hardware.

This Chanel red patent leather tote is perfect. The hardware is substantial and everything else from the stitching, to the interior lining to the authentication number checks out. And they want just over $3,000 for it (gulp). The most significant thing is that it's from a trusted company in the resale market, Portero.com.
Louis Vuitton fakes are some of the most widespread fake handbags out there. This affects the value of real ones and muddies the resale market for everyone.
Louis Vuitton: How To Tell A Real From a Fake

Another easy-to-spot fake.

 The above bag is too shiny, the metal hardware is cheap and the leather handles are wrong (it's not just the color, but that does come into play here). The seller in Japan wants over $3,600 and, interestingly enough, makes no claims that it is authentic.
Louis Vuitton: How To Tell A Fake From A Real

And a real Louis Vuitton.

This Louis Vuitton bag has all the right boxes checked: the LV's aren't cut off anywhere, the stitching is good, the leather is good, and it's from Portero. It's $550, so you can see that Louis Vuitton does not hold its value.

3. If it's very cheap, it's very fake.

There's a reason luxury handbags and jewelry cost what they do. It's workmanship, materials and rarity. Chanel (pronounced SHA-nel) and Hermès (pronounced AIR-mehz) are the only two luxury brands whose handbags are worth more when you leave the store than what you paid for them 10 minutes earlier. If you're interested in learning more, that book I referenced is a great read. Deluxe, How Luxury Lost Its Luster by Dana Thomas. And we hope you'll come to our party, too!

Here's a great opportunity to see and touch and learn about real luxury. You can shop, too!


I hope you will join us Tuesday evening in Nashville for this special event with Gus Mayer and What Goes Around Comes Around. If you can't be there, feel free to email me (tina@tinaadamsconsulting.com) if you're looking for something special and we'll see if we can find it for you.



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