Photo: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
Just a few small distinguishing characteristics set real Coach purses apart from their counterfeit knock-offs. Having a trained eye and knowing what to look for can save you some serious cash and the embarrassment of being ripped off with a phony purse. Coach purses make the perfect target for being replicated; they are cute, well-received and many fashionistas will pay a pretty penny to own a stylish purse. But if you are well-versed in all things Coach, you can easily tell the difference between a phony bag and one that is authentic.
Look at the lining. The lining of real Coach purses should be tight against the inside of the purse; no sags or droops here. Additionally, the lining should feel relatively thick and smooth. If your lining looks bunchy and is made of lining so thin it is almost transparent, you are likely looking at a fake.
Inspect the pattern on your purse. If your bag features the signature Coach pattern of Cs displayed throughout the fabric, take a good look at the letters. First, make sure they are actually "Cs" and not "Gs" or "Os" as some ridiculously fake purses will sport. Then make sure the pattern is never cut off. If you see a C poking out from behind fabric or a seam, you have an impostor. The pattern should flow freely and smoothly across the fabric and should never appear crooked or sloppy.
Pull the zipper. If you have difficulty sliding the zipper pull across the teeth, you are probably holding a phony. Coach zippers are made of solid brass -- never plastic -- and always flow smoothly. Additionally, Coach uses the YKK brand of zippers, whose logo should be featured on the pull.
Before you head out to buy a purse, study everything you can about the fabulous bag you are considering purchasing -- the pattern, the color of the lining, the location of the hardware -- as much as you can. Knowing all about the purse you want can help prevent you from being scammed. In addition, know how much your bag is typically sold for. Coach bags normally run a few hundred bucks as of February 2011. If the bag you like is being sold by a shady vendor for $25, take your cash and scoot to an authorized Coach dealer.