How to Spot Fake Louis Vuitton Handbags
By eHow Fashion, Style & Personal Care Editor

Louis Vuitton has been manufacturing fine quality travel bags and handbags for over 150 years. There was a time in the United States when you could only purchase their merchandise at a couple of high end department stores. Now the brand is much easier to find, but it's also much easier to be ripped off with a counterfeit. The key to spotting a fake handbag is to study the merchandise and know what to look for.

Step1. Make sure the handbag you want to buy was actually something made by Louis Vuitton. Before you purchase it, go to the manufacturer's website and verify they made that particular style in the color you are looking at. Often, the style closely resembles one of Vuitton's bags, but the fake is offered in colors that Louis Vuitton never used.

Step2. Check the monogram to verify authenticity. The LV monogram is generally symmetrical from side to side. So look at the bag overall to see if the monogram is symmetrically placed in relation to the handles and sides.

Step3. Look closely at the stitching as it should be very even and straight. In addition, Louis Vuitton places the same number of stitches in the same locations on similar bags. So if you know a particular style of handbag has 5 regular stitches across the top of the leather tab, you can spot a fake if it has only 4 stitches.

Step4. Compare the features of your handbag to the ones described on the manufacturer's site to see if your bag matches the description. For example, see if it should be lined and if so, in what color. Verify how many zippers it should have and where they're located.

Step5. Verify the dust bag included matches the one offered by Louis Vuitton for that particular handbag. There are fake dust bags out there and they generally are so obviously different from the one Louis Vuitton uses that it's an easy verification.


Buying authentic used Louis Vuitton & avoiding the fakes!

1. Know your bag!
Was it ever made by Louis Vuitton? This sounds like an easy one, but it's not! I am a Trading Assistant here on eBay and had an eBayer mail me a black vernis Louis Vuitton Houston to sell for her. She'd bought it on eBay and I could still see the glowing feedback she'd left the seller for the $495 transaction. One problem... Louis Vuitton has never done Vernis in black! Try your bag on at a boutique, check the VUITTON website, or Elux, buy a catalog- etc, but make sure that the bag you are looking for was ever made by Louis Vuitton. This is especially common in Multicolore bags- (there was never an Multicolor Backpack, Ellipse, Papillon etc), Cherry Blossom (no CB Speedy, Alma nor Cabas tote, Pegase), Cerises (no Papillon, Ellipse, Cabas Piano, Mezzo or Alto) or vintage pieces.

Know its parts: What is it "supposed" to be lined in? Should it have feet? What does the base look like? Should it have a d-ring inside? Where? Does it have a date code? Should it? Where?You can check the Vuitton website or your local boutique for this information... you can also purchase more detailed guides here on eBay that include such details... For example: If it is supposed to be lined in brown cotton canvas, it needs to be lined in brown cotton canvas. There have never been brown suede linings- even in the vintage pieces. Alcantara kind of looks like a suede-y material, but it isn't suede and although is found in a greyish mushroomy color, it isn't found in dark brown. A Speedy of any age should have brown cotton canvas lining, so if you see any other lining- you know it isn't authentic. The lining of a Speedy has NEVER looked like this:

Know its Monogram placement: Louis Vuitton has been in production since 1854! Their style is classic, and quality- phenomenal! The traditional Monogram Toile canvas that is so popular today- had its beginnings in 1896. The monogram itself can give clues as to authenticity. Louis Vuitton is very careful about the way that the monogram is placed on any piece. Most of its styles are the same today as they were when they first came out- with a few exceptions. The actual LV monogram is usually (with the exception of some vintage pieces) symetrical from side to side in all monogram styles (traditional, Multicolore, Cerises, Mini mono, Vernis etc.) as you can see in this Louis Vuitton Speedy (notice where the LVs are in relation to the handles, sides, quatrefoils etc)...

Watch the stitching: Louis Vuitton is very careful with it's stitching. Stitching should be very even and regular. The same number of stitches will be found in similar locations on similar bags... for example the leather tab that the handle attaches onto on any size monogram Speedy bag will always have 5 regular, even stitches across the top, like this:

Watch the age: While vintage pieces follow most of the rules that I discuss in this guide, there are definite differences in vintage pieces. For example, all French Company pieces vary slightly... so if you are looking at a French Company Vintage Vuitton piece, it may differ a bit. For instance, the FC Speedy 30 does NOT always have 5 stitches across the top, does NOT have upside down LVs on one side, and does NOT have Louis Vuitton embossed in the hardware. I'm currently writing a guide to help with these vintage gems- so watch out for it.

Made in Spain? Yes, while it is true that authentic Louis Vuitton is made in France, for over 25 years, Louis Vuitton has also produced bags in the USA, Spain, Germany and Italy. It is not true that a Louis Vuitton bag has to be marked "Made in France" to be authentic. Here is the embossed markings of an authentic Louis Vuitton bucket bag, Made in the USA:

What about the "Upside Down LVs"? People email me all the time about this one... Some styles of authentic Louis Vuitton WILL have "upside down" LVs on the backside. The reason for this is that Louis Vuitton uses one continuous piece of leather that wraps around from the front to back, without a seam on the bottom- and so, the backside has upside down logos. This is true on the Speedy styles (except French Company Speedys), the Keepalls, Papillons, and some similar styles. Most monogram pieces (any piece with a separate piece of canvas or leather on the bottom) will have the LVs rightside up on both sides. Here is the backside of an authentic Speedy 25:

What about the patches? It is true that many older fake bags had patches on the interior and exterior that simply were never there on authentic versions. Fake exterior patch followed by fake interior patch: