How To Spot a Real Designer Handbag From a Fake

If you go to the designer stores like Louis Vuitton or Chanel, the products are guaranteed to be real. But there are lots of fake handbags out there and the people making them are getting really good. 

From Coach to Chanel and of course the Louis, Cynthia Riley has seen them all.

"People love luxury items," she said. "They like the status of carrying a high-end bag, and it's just really out of the reach of a lot of people."

But these bags don't come cheap. Some can cost up to $5,000. But for those looking for a deal, we found a resale shop that specializes in gently-used high-end bags, where employees are trained to spot fakes.

"As part of our review process we have to authenticate the bag," Riley says.

Customers of Closet Revival in Plano sell their items to Riley in exchange for quick cash. But sometimes she has to break the bad news to them, that their hot purse isn't actually real and can't be sold.

"It's really heartbreaking when they spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on something that isn't authentic," she said.

So Riley put Samantha Chatman to the test to see if she could tell the difference. Chatman picked based on color and shine, but did NOT pick the correct purse.

"That word 'shiny' is really not something you want to see," Riley said. "That's going to be the dead giveaway."

Riley says Louis Vuitton hardware is brass and should have a more matte finish. 

"Even though it seems counter-intuitive, like the little darker, little maybe dirty around the edges are some tips that are going to tell you it's actually authentic," she says.

Riley also said the leather handles on a real bag will darken with age. Fake bags tend to have vinyl handles.

"Because it's plastic, it's eternally that color," she said.

For Coach purses, pay attention to the outside fabric compared to the inner lining. 

"Any of their bags that have a 'C' fabric, a pattern fabric, on the outside should have a solid color lining," Riley said.

Some people don't care whether their bag is fake or not, but Riley said you don't know what you're supporting when you purchase a knock-off.

"There could be child trafficking, child labor," she says. "It's trafficking someone else's brand that is not your own."

So before you buy that fancy bag this holiday season, touch it, pay attention to detail and know who you're giving your money to. Don't be fooled into buying the fake.

If you have one of these handbags and you think it might be fake, our expert says you should go back to the store or the person you bought it from and give them a chance to make it right. If they don't do anything, report the purchase to the police. 

Contact Us