Duped: How to Spot Fake Designer Bags at the Thrift Store

So many of us have been there, we spot a designer bag at the thrift store, our heart skips a beat, only to find out it’s a fake. Soul crushing!

So, how to spot a fake quickly at the thrift store so you don’t get duped?

Research, Research, Research!

It all starts before you go to the thrift store. It helps to do some research before you even go to the store to get a sense of what some of your favorite designer bags look like from the inside and out. There are TONS of YouTube videos and articles comparing real and fake bags side-by-side for practically every brand. Or if you have a store nearby that sells your favorite designer bags, go look at them in person!

Sometimes you find a brand you’ve never researched before, if so here are some things to look out for:

Use Google Lens

If you stumble upon a bag you haven’t researched in depth before, take a photo at the thrift store and use Google Lens app on your phone to quickly search by image. You can do a quick scan of authentic bags online before doing a deep dive.


Sloppy, uneven stitching is a sure sign it’s fake.

Dust Bags & Plastic Wrap

If the purse is new and it has plastic wrap on the straps, it’s most likely fake. Authentic bags do not come in plastic wrap. Also, just because it has a dust bag does not guarantee it is an authentic bag.

Interior colors

Check the interior color of the bag and compare it to the authentic version you’ve researched and check for subtle things like color, stitching, pockets. For example, is the interior orange whereas it should be red?

Interior identification

Just because it comes with an authenticity card, doesn’t mean it’s authentic. Pay attention to fonts, colors, and alignment on cards – or whether or not it should even come with a card!


Look for things like cheap zippers, buttons, the logo hardware, mismatched hardware, logo stamps. Also, certain brands only use specific kinds of zippers (like Lampo, YKK) so do some research on that specific brand’s hardware.


Sure you can sometimes find designer bags for a steal at thrift stores because maybe someone didn’t know the brand, but more often than not, thrift stores are brand savvy and know their stuff so they up charge for them. So if the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Fake leather

Cheap, fake leather is always a sign the bag is fake. Most designer brands use natural, full-grain leathers to make their bags.

Join Online Communities

Join Facebook groups, watch TikTok videos and ask people online! I asked followers on Instagram when I found a pair of fake Louboutin shoes at the thrift store and they were very helpful.

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