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7 Tricks to Score a Designer Bag for Less

We may be living in lean economic times, but hey, that doesn’t mean you have to dress shabbily. If you’re thinking of treating yourself to a designer splurge without the wallet-destroying price tag, why not go for a pre-loved item instead?

Joining the ranks of online retailers like Reebonz and Madam Milan offering second-hand items is LuxeStyle, pawnbroker Maxi-Cash’s new retail line.

Unlike e-commerce websites, LuxeStyle operates within Maxi-Cash’s existing pawnshops so you can paw at the goods, which are usually priced lower than brand-new items, before you splash your cash.

“Other than trade-ins at our 41 shops in Singapore, the luxury items are also sourced from distributors and owners of pre-owned merchandise from North Asia and Europe,” Maxi-Cash’s CEO, Ng Leok Cheng, tells us. “By actively and regularly sourcing from [overseas] markets, the products are the most up-to-date. Many of these designs are not available in Singapore market.”

So hardcore fashionistas, it’s not like you’ve to tote around something that’s, gasp, two seasons old.

Oh, and the company thoroughly checks each piece before putting it up for sale. Leok Cheng adds, “Apart from sourcing from reliable places, our staff members working on the retail front, backroom and headquarters are all trained in [determining] the authenticity of the various products.”

But if you want to become an expert at sussing out your frenemy’s knockoff Prada bag, read on for fashion show producer and style consultant Daniel Boey’s tips on how to detect real goods from the fake and other useful style advice for getting the most bang out of your buck.

#1 Do your homework and check, check, check. 
“You’ve to research the reputation of the seller. And when you ask them questions about the product, they should be able to tell you all about the brand and the history of the product. I won’t say there’s a foolproof way of making sure you’re buying a real item, but there’s a checklist you can use to protect yourself.

I’d look at the logo, lining and stitching of a branded bag. Is the bag well-made? Are the letters in the logo well-embossed? Turn the bag upside down and check the metal studs at the bottom. Expensive bags usually have those studs [to protect the bag from directly touching a surface]. Are the studs aligned nicely, or are they made of cheap metal?

Makers of luxury goods pay attention to every detail in their creations. There are lots of articles online now telling you about how to spot a fake, so read up thoroughly. Don’t buy if you feel in your gut that something is off.

I’ve heard nightmare stories of people buying what they thought were authentic branded bags overseas, only to discover that they bought a fake when they brought it to the boutiques in Singapore to be serviced. Don’t let that happen to you!”

#2 If it’s not your style, don’t force it.
“When I buy designer stuff, I always ask myself, can I pair at least half of the stuff in my wardrobe with this item? There’s no point in getting a new bag when you need to buy even more clothes to go with it.

Also ask yourself if it’s really your style. Don’t buy something just ’cos it’s trendy. Classic items always get more mileage than the trendy stuff. The more distinctive something is, the less mileage it has.

If you’re planning to wear something over and over again, don’t make it a lime green Birkin bag. People would remember a lime green bag even if you’ve taken it out only once!”

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