This is for all my girlfriends who want to purchase discounted luxury handbags online, but are terrified of getting a fake. How can you be assured that you are getting authentic, quality pieces, you ask?
Oh, accessories! How I love you! Your handbag will never care how much weight you gain or if you have a runny nose or if you have just popped out the most hideous pimple. No, they love us as we are. *Happy Sigh* That being said, I spend a ridiculous amount of time browsing online sites for handbags. Here are a few tips to keep you (and your money) safe while shopping online:
1. The only “sure” way to purchase a luxury handbag, is to buy from a reputable source. If you are financially able, buy new from an upscale department store. For the best deals, wait until the sites are having a special. Both Neiman Marcus and Saks often offer bonus gift cards if you buy a full-price handbag during these specials. Sign-up for email alerts for sales, as the really great items sell out fast. If you cannot buy full-price (and not many of us can), watch the sales of those sites, as well as Bergdorf Goodman, Nordstrom, and Barney’s. Alas, there are certain items that you cannot buy at these online retail sites. For example, Chanel bags are only sold through actual standing boutiques. It is nearly impossible to buy a new one online.
2. If you cannot buy new (or don’t want to), the best way to purchase is through an online luxury consignment site. BE VERY CAREFUL while browsing. Some sites may look fantastic and offer fabulous deals, but that can be dangerous. Rememember, if an offer is too good to be true, it is most like fake or counterfeit merchandise. And, fakes are evil. They are like identity theft for luxury goods. It is criminal to sell fake goods. Stay away from “purse parties” and warehouse-style websites. There are some very lovely, fantastic and authentic resellers out there. Of the ones I have used, I have several favorites:
jillsconsignment.com (great prices, all around good selection, courteous customer service)
getstyledbylulu.com (good prices, lots of clothing, offers layaway (a girl’s best friend) and great customer service)
3. Know what you want. Do not go into any online site with the intention to purchase without doing your homework. There are several reasons for this. In a moment of weakness, you might buy things you normally wouldn’t. And, you really must know what the true value is of the item you desire. For example, some online consignment stores carry items that are only a few dollars ($100 or less) off the regular retail price. Shop around and educate yourself before you fork out the big bucks. If you are a true shopper, this the fun part!
4. Know your consignment shops. Research the site you are interested in and check with The Purse Forum to make sure the store is reputable. Look for online comments posted and ratings. Never take the risk on one not proven to be legitimate. Nothing breaks a heart faster than big money spent on a big phony. Note, I will be reviewing online consignment shops in a future column, so please check back for more on this topic.
5. This is VERY IMPORTANT, confirm that the handbag you are purchasing can be returned for a full refund if you believe it not to be authentic. There are some very excellent fakes out there and even some of the best sellers have been tricked.
6. Next, confirm that the handbag you are purchasing (or have purchased) is authentic. If you have not bought it already, submit photos to The Purse Forum for authentication. If you have made the purchase and are able to do so, take it into a retailer that sells that brand and have them authenticate. Louis Vuitton is especially helpful in this respect.
7. Last, set a budget, save up the money and make your purchase. This way, it will be guilt-free. Or, second best, if you absolutely must have the item NOW (and I know how that is: heart pumping, eyes dilated, credit card handy…) go for layaway. Layaway is excellent for the wallet and teaches patience.
Whatever you decide, dear reader, I wish you the best. Remember to shop with your head as well as with your heart, and you will do just fine!
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Marie’s Musings: I'm a woman whose daily wardrobe consists of Joe’s jeans, Edun tees, Prada sandals and large, dark sunglasses. Still, I am devoted to fashion. It is art, it is of-the-moment, it is life. I read every fashion magazine & newspaper, loving it all & clipping pages for my Look-Book. Oh, the fantasy! And, fantasy is fun.View all Marie posts.