The Real McCoy? January 01 2014

With Christmas and the New Year celebrations now over, most of us will go shopping hoping to grab ourselves a bargain in the January sales.

BB loves these Vintage Gucci Purses!

I myself, have been looking to replace my rather old but faithful Gucci purse I purchased years ago from the Gucci store in Berlin. I've been looking for sometime and have looked in various stores for the right purse but I have always returned to looking at Gucci.  So my first port of call was Gucci online and then eBay, just to see what is out there and if I could grab myself a bargain and perhaps a vintage piece.  But how do you know if you're getting the real deal?

Tell Tale Signs

Spotting replica handbags and purses used to be simple like flimsy buckles, cheap leather, slightly skewed logos and misspelled logos.  But fakes can be so good these days that it can be difficult to tell if you have the real McCoy or not.


When buying a handbag or purse online, make sure it’s from a reputable source.  If sites are based in China or Hong Kong, proceed with caution, as most fakes are from these two countries.

Check the Description

Designer bags will have a serial number inside and should come with an authenticity card.  Also, check reviews online for signs of inauthenticity.  If bad feedback is given and customers say items aren’t the real thing, then they likely aren’t.

A quick internet search on the designer's website will soon help you to make sure the design, pattern and details are all correct.  But that can be difficult if you are interested in a vintage piece because the retailer will only be showing their most current items or items from the last season, not from eons ago. So, purchasing a vintage piece can sometimes be a gamble.

Respectable Resellers

Just because a bag or purse is sold online, it doesn’t mean it’s fake.  Authentic and vintage handbags and purses are often sold on eBay hence why I was looking.  But you need to do a bit of research into the seller and use your savvy...  If the deal looks too good to be true, it usually is.  A Louis Vuitton bag will never be £50 so use common sense.

Craftsmanship Flaws

A Prada handbag will not have crooked stitching or unfinished edges.  High-end brands take ultimate pride in craftsmanship, so no imperfect bag would leave their factory.  The leathers and fabrics of authentic bags will always be perfectly stitched and lined up, never crooked or gapped stitched.  If rivets and buckles are damaging the fabric of the bag or purse or are catching on your clothes, then this is a dead giveaway for a fake.

Are all of the patterns on track and consistent throughout?  If not, you could be looking at a fake.  A monogram print should consistently match all over the bag.  For example, in a Louis Vuitton bag, the signature logos should all be facing the same way.

Brand-Specific Clues

Know the signs to look for in the specific bag or purse.  For instance, Louis Vuitton bags made since the early ‘80s have a date stamped somewhere on the interior and all newly produced Mulberry bags should have a small Black cloth label stitched inside stating the country it was made in. Contrary to popular belief, all Mulberry bags are now NOT made in England.  Some are made in in China and Turkey.

There are plenty of brand fanatics online spotting knock-off bags and revealing the tell tale signs so do a quick search before you buy.  eBay sellers give good advice if you're unsure.

You can only really trust it's an original if you purchase the bag from a department store or the brand's shop or website.  What I tend to do is, if the real thing is too expensive, I buy an authentic, quality item of a lesser-known brand (usually in the sale!) at least then I know I'm getting quality and authenticity.