Faking It

When my dad began to travel internationally about 15 years ago, he would bring home the most fabulous little baubles and pieces of jewelry.  They were so unique. Funky pieces that you would never be able to find in the US.  My mother and I loved our gifts and as his travels became more plentiful – we began to make request. After a visit to Thailand, he would return home to tell us about all the great vendors and shops that had such awesome reproductions . . . aka, LOTS of knock offs.

“Wow! Cool! Ralph Lauren shirts for $4.00 at the market in Thailand? Score.”

For the next trip, I asked my dad to seek out something a bit different – a replica handbag.  A fake. I’d describe it or search for a photo of the real-deal to send with him on his trips.  He was always able to find it.  He’d show the photo to the friendly Asian woman at the counter and he would be immediately escorted to the boutique’s back room to look at the “reserve stock.”

Sometimes it was a tiny, little, Gucci or a Kate Spade that had the label, but was not made of any fabric that Kate herself would ever use.  Lots of Prada – or should I say; simple, nylon, black bags with that pretty, Prada triangle on the front. The bags got lots of attention. At the time, no one had seen anything like them. To me and my friends, these souvenirs were really a novelty.  We did not frequent Louis Vuitton and therefore, knew no difference.

I no longer carry these bags.  I am so thankful that my dad brought them home for me. Thanks, Dad!  And I have kept a few of the best-looking ones. Someday, my daughter may enjoy playing “dress-up” with them.

Many (many) years have passed, and my dad now remains grounded in good ol’ US of A. Lately I’ve been bothered by the manner in which these ancient souvenirs were purchased – and I feel a bit responsible for once feeding and supporting a very unfashionable form of accessorizing. . .

Every summer I choose a good read. This summer I picked up a copy of Nina Garcia’s The One Hundred.  A highly recommended read, which features the 100 items every woman (fashion loving, style worshiping, neurotic woman) must have in her wardrobe. Loved it.  Devoured it.   Cheered for the items I already owned and got out the little sticky-tabs to mark the pages with the items I needed (wanted) to add.  Page 114 tells me I need an “Investment Bag” (aka: Expensive Purse)

You know the bags to which I am referring, and you know who the women who own them. Victoria Beckham and her BFF Mrs. Katie Cruise have the hottest snakeskin Balenciaga’s and Lauren Conrad has the newest Birkin – only 23 were made, etc, etc, blah, blah, blah. . . . So I begin to contemplate adding something timeless and decadent to my collection. This will mean, Happy:  Birthday, New Year, Easter and Anniversary to ME – for the next 10 years.

After days of some hoity-toity shopping on-line for this “investment,” I start to notice something. I’ve seen all of these beautiful, authentic designer bags before. Draped across the shoulders of the women in my town, like a sea of backpacks on a crowded, college campus. No Katie’s or Victoria’s in my neck of the woods. Heck no! I see these chicks at Wal-Mart on a weekly basis. (And yes, that means that I am shopping there too.)They are all carrying fakes. I know they are. I recently attended a “purse party” where some of these women were stalking their fake Coach, Prada and Channel bags like hungry tigers.

I will now borrow a phrase from the legendary Oprah Winfrey. . .

“Ah-ha!” (As in, the “ah-ha moment.”)

So, now I get it. Thanks Vogue, for all of your “Fakes are never in Fashion” adds, because NOW, I GET IT! Why should I treat myself to a beautiful, new Louis that turn heads and I will cherish forever, when its integrity has been eternally compromised? Any originality that it would possess would simply say “purse party” to anyone on the street. Why splurge? Why bother?

Ladies, have we not been told 100,000 times that faking it is not good? It is a big, fat lie and does nothing for anyone. In the end it fools no one but us.

So I am begging . . . Go to a Lill Street Party and make an original messenger bag (hey, I need to get myself invited to one of those). Go to TJ Maxx and find a hobo that is really unique and really REAL. And finally, have you not figured out that even Target has featured some fantastic designer bags that are uber-cool? Just please, please, please do not buy fake. You are what you wear. Ouch.

Sorry Nina. For now, page 114 keeps its sticky-tab. The investment bag remains a “to-buy-at-a-later-date” item. Friends, I will still come to your purse parties, but I will be there for the food, drink and friendly conversation. Never, ever to feed the machine that is keeping me from completing my 100.

2 Responses to “Faking It”

  1. Sara June 27, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

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    Love your blog and agree 100% with the no faking it! Love my little red purse from Target (pronounced Tar-jae) and my lovely big blue purse from TJMax. Both bought for less than $40 and both I have received numerous compliments on. =)

  2. Rachael August 2, 2011 at 10:46 am #

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    I couldn’t agree more. Whenever I came a cross a fake just the thought of purchasing one made me feel icky. Now I know why. Great entry Kelly! I’ll have to check out that book too. Thanks!

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