Illustration for article titled How To Spot Counterfeits When Shopping For Vintage Clothing And AccessoriesPhoto: Lolostock (Shutterstock)

Anyone who has spent time shopping for vintage clothing and accessories knows this can be a hit or a miss. Of course, you have to deal with understanding that these clothes are (or at least should be) old, which means that they have likely been worn and may not be the most perfect, flawless, and completely intact clothes.

But are they really authentic? Well, that depends on a lot of things, including what you consider “authentic” in this context – for example, whether it’s actually an old vintage item or a new one that is trying to survive.

And then there is the question of counterfeiting. While this probably wouldn’t be a problem with a Basic Editions t-shirt around the mid-1990s, it does when you’re dealing with well-known luxury brands and designers. So how do you know if vintage clothing is the real deal or if you are trying to overpay? Here’s what to know.

Illustration for article titled How To Spot Counterfeits When Shopping For Vintage Clothing And Accessories

Make sure the pieces are worth the price

Just for the sake of clarity, we’re not talking about items in thrift stores that keep their prices relatively low, and sometimes they’re tied to a nonprofit. We’re talking about real vintage stores and websites with curated clothing collections and significantly higher prices. Since you are paying a premium for these pieces, you want to make sure you get your money’s worth and not get scammed.

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How to tell if a vintage item is a fake

OK, how do you spot a fake? According to Jillian Clark, a Los Angeles costume designer, it all depends on how good the fake is. Here are three tips from one Interview she did with Real Simple::

Check the logo

“Most fakes are easy to spot based on the logo or design they’re imitating,” Clark told Real Simple. “Most of the time, the design is changed slightly so that it goes almost unnoticed by an uninvolved consumer.”

Illustration for article titled How to Spot Counterfeits when shopping for vintage clothing and accessories

Check the label

When it comes to vintage designer clothing, Clark says that most items will have some sort of “authenticity label” or original labels sewn in – which are not easy to replicate.

Buy from a trusted vintage retailer

Finally, Clark advises sticking to vintage clothing retailers that you know and trust – and would not try to sell you fakes.