How to Spot a Fake Designer Handbag

If you’re here, it’s most likely because you love fashion. Us, too! We love fashion in all forms whether that’s high-street trends, luxury and designer treats or sale bargains. Whatever it is, if it’s style and clothing or accessories, it’s right up our alley. The one thing that we don’t love, however, are fakes.


High street dupes we can deal with. In fact, high street dupes often just mean high street brands taking creative inspiration from designer details. But fakes are different. Fake designer handbags not only rip off designers, but they also trick consumers and fashion lovers with hidden terrible quality and often embarrassing mistakes. Not to mention bags that just won’t last.

Everything you can find on Shop It To Me is a genuine product. We sell every designer from Marc Jacobs to Gucci, from Balenciaga to Burberry and all of our products are sold through the biggest retailers in the world, such as Nordstrom and Saks. Therefore, we can always guarantee that anything you buy that can be seen on Shop It To Me is the real deal.

Unfortunately, not all sites can say the same thing.

When you find a designer handbag online somewhere that claims to resell preloved luxury fashion and accessories, how can you ever really tell if it’s the real deal? The answer is – you can’t tell until you see it with your own eyes.

So, our advice? Only ever part with your money and buy designer handbags and clothing from reputable sellers and retailers. Not only do these types of online stores come with a reputation of authenticity but they will always offer you the chance to refund or exchange if you’re not happy with your purchase which helps to give you peace of mind if you’re spending a lot of money in one transaction!

But how do you spot if a designer handbag is fake when you’ve got it?

There is definitely a list of things you can do and look out for when checking out a designer handbag to see if it’s real.

We’ve done the research for you to make life easy and consulted some of the experts at Elle, The Richest and Harper’s Bazaar. Let’s go through some of the main ones.

Fabrics and Leathers

Genuine designer handbags are made from luxurious, heavy-weight real leather (unless you’re shopping from a vegan brand or specifically genuine leather-free brand, such as Stella McCartney). So, you need to have a really good feel of the leather and make sure it’s not only the right texture and smell but it’s also nice and heavy too.

Even for canvas handbags, like this Loewe tote, when the bag is genuine, the weight of the fabric is thick and luxurious, keeping the shape of the bag when stood up, even when empty.

Handles & Hardware

There are lots of things to look out for when it comes to designer handbags with metal straps and hardware details.

First, genuine handbags don’t come with plastic wrapping around any of the hardware. Bags like this come beautifully packaged and protected but they will never have plastic tubes or covering wrapping the metal straps (or even the leather straps) so keep an eye out for that.

You also want to look out for the correct color tones when it comes to hardware. Even the faintest hue in the wrong metal can be a dead giveaway of a fake bag so make sure you know what you’re looking out for on your specific style. Hardware should never be tarnished or peeled and always be in perfect condition.

You also need to pay attention to markings, logos and engraving on hardware. This could be anything from the font type to the size or even the finishes. These can make a huge difference and is often done incorrectly with fake bags so can be a great way to tell super-quick.

Last, check the zippers. Designer zippers are heavy, beautiful quality metals and slide easily and smoothly up and down the zip without kinks.

It’s all About the Stitching

Stitching should be one of the first things you check when you look at a designer handbag. Luxury brands like Fendi, Balenciaga and Chanel take pride in their craftsmanship. The bags are handmade by experts using only the highest quality fabrics, leathers and threads which means crooked, disjointed or broken stitch work just doesn’t happen.

On fakes however, this is the norm. Fake bags tend to have slightly uneven or even wonky stitching which is a tell-tale sign. Even check the inside of the bag and the lining because a real bag wouldn’t pass production with problems with stitching.

Check for Codes

Not all but lots of designer bags now are made with codes that can be quickly scanned and checked for authenticity. Because brands like Chanel and Michael Kors are very heavily counterfeited, this was a choice the labels made to try to help people to find out easily and quickly whether a bag was genuine.

Inside Labels Are a Giveaway

One of the best things you can check for with authenticity is the inside labels. You will need to be completely sure of what you’re looking for on your specific brand and bag but once you know what to look out for it’s a clear and quick way to check if a bag is real.

Check whether text should be capitalized or not and check whether the brand name font is absolutely correct. Many fake bags, such as Celine, often have this font slightly wrong, which is a sure giveaway to a fake item.

It’s Too Good of a Deal

It might sound obvious but some fake websites are beautifully created and that might have you believing that you’ve just found a stunning real Gucci bag from this season for $100. The chances of this being real is incredibly low even if it's claiming to be secondhand but the look of the site might have you thinking otherwise. Do your research when it comes to price. Look for the specific handbag you’re after and look for the RRP in major retailers plus the second-hand prices in preloved stores that seem to be trending around the net. If you’ve found one that looks perfect at a dramatically reduced price for no apparent reason (or even a good reason, because this could be a lie too) then think twice. If it seems too good to be true, unfortunately, it probably is.

If you know your Gucci bag is $1200 at a retailer, question it strongly if you find it for much less elsewhere.

Shopping for designer handbags and clothing is exciting and fun. And that’s how it should be! It’s a luxury after all. So, don’t let fake sellers rip you off (or the designers!) and sell you something that isn’t up to par. Always check out your handbags up close and personal and if you spot something that doesn’t look quite right, it’s probably not!!

Shop luxury and designer handbags in peace with the help of Shop It To Me and our network of retailers. Plus, tick the “sale” box in our search space and you can see every single designer handbag that is currently on sale in all the stores. See, you can still get a bargain with the real deal! Happy (and safe) shopping, guys!