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Being a fashionista isn't just about the clothes you wear -- it's about how you accessorize, too. From this standpoint, Prada is the can't-miss bag brand to get. These bags are luxurious, are known for quality and have killer style. Unfortunately, Pradas also are a playground for con artists, who like to capitalize on the status of the bags. To keep a swindler from duping you out of hard-earned cash, heed the telltale differences between a real Prada and a fake.
Look for authenticity cards. All real Pradas have at least two of these: one inside the purse and the other on the outside. Both are in envelopes that have "Prada" embossed on them. These cards give you the model and serial numbers for your bag, as well as the Italian statement of authenticity. If the numbers on the cards don't match, walk away from the sale.
Inspect the hardware, like buttons and zippers. Prada won't use any metal that isn't silver, rose or gold. The hardware should close without a fuss.
The Prada logo plates should match the color of your bag. In addition, triangular plates have slightly raised lettering. If your plate is the rectangular variety, the corners should be rounded, not straight.
Determine the material that makes up the lining for the bag. Prada uses materials of high quality like satin, leather and ultrasuede.
Look for the word "Prada" on the inside lining. It should run horizontally and be stitched, not glued.
Peek at the bag's stitching. On a real Prada, stitching is nice and even. You shouldn't be seeing bulges, and you shouldn't see the seams for the lining at all.
Catch clues from the lettering all over the bag. Real Pradas have a notch cut out of the top of the letter "R" in the word Prada. On triangular logo plates, lettering is raised. The plates should say "Prada Made in Italy" and nothing else. Lettering is always even and never fuzzy.
Ask to see the dust bag for the Prada. These bags come with every authentic Prada. Like the logo plates, they should say "Prada Made in Italy." This is on a label that is stitched to the dust bag.
Evaluate where you're buying the bag, as well as the price the vendor is asking. If you opt for a high-end retail store, the odds of getting a fake are pretty low, although some stores get the occasional knock-offs unintentionally. Prices never will be below $100, no matter how many discounts the store offers, because most Pradas easily retail for $500 and up -- some are near $2,000. The schmuck who pulls some "Pradas" from the trunk of his car on a city street probably isn't going to give you the real thing, and if he does, you might need to question whether the bag is stolen.