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How to Spot a Fake Designer Handbag

Haute couture or faux couture? Before you spend thousands of your well-earned dollars on a Louis Vuitton, Chanel or (cue angel music) Hermès Birkin handbag, Us Weekly has tips on how to make sure you’re splurging on an authentic designer handbag and not a phony.

Lorena Shiff, also known as “The Consignment Princess,” teaches Us Weekly Video’s Christina Garibaldi and Us Weekly style writer Monique Meneses how to differentiate a Birkin from a Firkin.

Related: The World’s Most Expensive Handbag Sold for This Much

Before you break out your wallet, start with a little bit of research. “Familiarize yourself with a style,” Shiff suggests, noting this step is especially crucial if you’re shopping online. Make sure the company actually manufactures the bag you’re considering.

Susie Essman and Ilana Glazer
Susie Essman (left) and Ilana Glazer in ‘Broad City.’ Ali Goldstein

If you’re browsing a brick-and-mortar store, Shiff said, put your hands to work and feel the material. “If it’s plastic, it’s fake,” Shiff explained.

Carefully check both the inside and outside of the purse. A real designer bag will have canvas lining, “not plastic or even suede.”

Related: Hermes Birkin Bags Make for a Better Investment Than Gold and Stocks, According to a Study

If you are looking at a Louis Vuitton, inspect the handles since they use “distinguished leather and accents that will darken over time.” Birkins, which can sell for upwards of $12,000, will have a padlock and key that closes securely.

Related: Photos: Stars' Outrageously Expensive Street Style

But no matter which bag you choose, Shiff advises to test the zipper. “The zipper should move easily,” she said. “The real purses have very good quality zippers that are easy to open.”

To find out more tips on how to spot a fake designer handbag, and to test your knowledge, watch the video above!

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