Handbags – Should you fake it till you make it?

For years handbags have been an unknown commodity to me. I mean, I had one, but I wasn’t a collector. I buy one handbag that I think will do me for most occasions and that’s it. As it transpires, this is a very bad method of buying handbags. A big big enough for a day out is not the same handbag to venture to the theatre. What can be considered ‘spacious’ for day wear becomes cumbersome once the sun goes down. Similarly, the ‘cute’ satchel that you sported to meet friends for lunch becomes workably tiny when you take it to work, you know it’s too small when you consider furiously sharpening your pencil to get it in your bag and completely forsake a pen

For years I ignored all of these factors and just considered my motto ‘bigger is better’. Since then, I have grown as a person and I now appreciated that you can have different handbags for different applications and that you can change them at will. They’re never going to replace shoes as my one true love, but really my bank manager and I should be thankful for that.

My handbag collection has multiplied, but as I have started this accumulation later in life, my tastes have started out at the more expensive end of the range.

I was sick with jealousy to see, upon checking my Instagram feed, that not only is Jessica Michibata off to Melbourne to watch the opening leg of the F1 in almost certain blazing sunshine, but she also owns this glorious bag:


Michael Kors handbag from

Michael Kors handbag from

Firstly, the colour is magnificent. Secondly, the shape and size of it is, in my opinion, perfection. Despite having reluctantly accepted smaller bags into my life, I am still and avid fan of the inconceivably burdensome and yet staggeringly marvellous huge bag, despite no doubt risking the onset of osteoporosis in my lower back.

I walked the 4.4 miles (according to Google) home from my work last night as a time effective way of continuing my fitness regime, and my route takes me past TK Maxx. Don’t worry, I didn’t buy anything, so pledge to Miss Assay remains unbroken, I mainly went in to get out from the wind *cough cough* and to have a look at their excellent handbag selection. There were a number of beautiful bright bags by Jane Shilton, Betty Barclay and others, and these are great bags, but what I really want, what I really really want, is a bag from Celine, or Michael Kors or Jimmy Choo.

Lets be realistic, even if I wasn’t saving for a house I couldn’t afford these, so that leaves me with a question… Do I get an upper end high street brand like the aforementioned TK Maxx specials? Or do I fake it?

Me being me, should I wish to fake it, I can indulge in a spot of purse friendly plagiarism (thank you Lesley) through charity shops, as I have spotted a couple of fakes in and around Aberdeen:

Fake Tods handbag,

Fake Tods handbag, £6.99, The British Heart Foundation, Aberdeen

This was a fairly obvious fake and that is taken account of in the price. A similar situation occured here with this Mulberry fake:

Fake Mulberry bag, £5.99, Barnardos, Castlegate, Aberdeen

Fake Mulberry bag, £5.99, Barnardos, Castlegate, Aberdeen

Both of these were immediately obvious as fakes because neither were leather, and the build construction was shoddy if you even cared to look that far. But obviously, for someone, they wanted to display the brand, whether it was genuine or not. I have a problem with this. I’d rather aspire to the real deal and never get it, than own, and not love, a fake bag. For me, the designer isn’t about the brand, it’s about the luxury, and neither of these bags were in the least bit luxurious, they were instead a little bit sad.

But, there is a further conundrum… my Jimmy Chung handbag:

Jimmy Choo handbag, £40, Shelter, Union Street, Aberdeen

Fake Jimmy Choo handbag, £40, Shelter, Union Street, Aberdeen

I would love this bag even if were unbranded, I love the style of it. It is leather, it is lined with moleskin, the clasp is heavy and has a pleasing clunk to it, it smells divine. It took me a lot of research to work out that this was a fake, but it still has that feeling of luxury about it. That, for me is the difference.

My dad bought me a navy blue Coccinelle handbag for Christmas last year and I love that too. I love it’s dust bag, I love the soft leather and heavy metal clasps. It still makes me feel luxurious in a way that a cheap, plastic knock off never could.

So, in answer to my question, if it’s just the brand you’re after, then by all means buy a counterfeit item, but if it’s luxury you want make that it’s at least, a good quality knock off, and pay attention to the way it makes you feel.

As for me, I’m off to Amazon to drool over designer handbags at reduced prices, and then I’m going to draw up a speech to convince ES that they’re an ‘investment’…


7 thoughts on “Handbags – Should you fake it till you make it?

  1. After reading this, I was reminded of a pretty interesting presentation one of my professors mentioned while I was studying abroad in Shanghai.

    Apparently a student decided to do her presentation on fake merchandise and counterfeit luxury goods. She found that sometimes these counterfeits go to such great lengths that the quality of the fakes may actually be greater than the real deal. One seller she interviewed even revealed that in some cases they are even made in the same factories!

    As to whether or not this information is 100% true, I can’t say but its something to think about!

    • Thank you for your comment and information! I must say that my Jimmy Chung bag is by far the most luxurious handbag I own despite it being a fake, the leather is wonderfully soft, I’m sure in this case my bag isn’t as good as the real deal, but it’s still better than the high end high street brands that I own which are still well over £100 RRP. You make a good point. Thank you

      • You know, as long as you feel happy with the bag, fake or not, that’s all that really matters. Maybe someday you can get your hands on an authentic version and make the comparison yourself! :]

  2. I have just acquired a leather snakeskin Jane shilton bags. Can u help me and tell if real , it’s in an old fashioned style I’ve sent pics
    Thanks Ann

    • Hi Ann, I’ve just reinstated this blog having been vacant for 2 years. I’m afraid I’m not very good at spotting fakes as you can see! The biggest tell tale sign is size and quality of stitching. If the stitching uses big loops and the ends look messy and unfinished, then it’s probably a fake. Smaller loops and care to finish stitching means it’s likely real.

  3. Pingback: Top 10 Best Charity Shop Buys Ever – NUMBER 7 | Look Fabulous For Less!

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