I’m here to share a humbling experience. I recently posted on Instagram that I had FINALLY found a “thrifting unicorn” – something I’ve heard exists in the thrift stores but have never seen! The item in question was a Longchamp bag and my sister and I found two at MAM Resale in their tote section for a great price! We purchased them first and foremost because we liked the bags, but also because of the designer brand and general hype around these bags.
I did a preliminary inspection and everything looked in order – good quality, leather, impeccable stitching, good hardware. I did not take the time, as I usually do with designer pieces, to closely investigate the authenticity until after I posted my score. And so I must humbly now share that my Longchamp bag is a fake. I know many people don’t mind buying and wearing imitations of luxury brands. I however strongly object for a couple reasons. Firstly, the sale of counterfeits and unauthorized replicas of branded products is illegal. That should be enough right there to stop the average woman from buying fakes (and then donating them so unsuspecting thrifters think they scored a unicorn but really just got had). Secondly, it puts the emphasis on the brand and the status it gives you. I recently went to the Galleria in Houston for the first time and I GET IT. Everything is so elegant and expensive and chic and the people wearing the fancy things seemed so poised and perfect, it’s hard not to want to participate in that world. BUT we all know that’s not true. We all know there is so much we don’t know about the people wearing luxury brands and we should not be quick to judge. J’s Everyday Fashion posted a great article about this very topic recently. And we all know that neither a designer bag nor its dupe can help a self-perception that thinks it needs a designer bag for status. You already have status because of the One who created you! You are already valued and loved! Don’t get me wrong, I love finding designer pieces while thrifting – they’re fun to wear and share, and hopefully they support my mission to get everyone to shop secondhand – but they don’t change who I am.
Here are some of the thrifting unicorns I’ve found in the past…
And some of the thrifting unicorns I’m still waiting for are…
What would you add to this list?! Better yet, what thrifting unicorns have you found?!!
I’m still carrying my fake Longchamps bag and it turns out I really like it. I like the size, the colour, the durability. The real deal is not even that expensive… and my birthday is coming next week…!!
I got what I thought was a Chanel bag at Goodwill in Edmonton. Beautiful. Priced at $900.00 new. I paid $30. It had an authentication number and all. Alas it lasted 3 wears and the butter soft leather flaked off all over everything. Fake unicorn. More like a donkey. But the quest continues
Dannnggggg. Thrifting donkey is right. I just wish women would opt out of buying fakes. But yes, the quest continues.
Hello! My best find is a Gucci at MAM in the boutique, Since the women there know the brands, it was not crazy cheap, but still a great price for the item!
Awesome! Boutique and luxury thrift and consignment shops are still great lower-priced options for the real deal! But I still have hope of finding the real deal at thrift prices!!
I have found genuine Longchamp several times at thrift stores. The one that I have that I doubt is the bag my husband lovingly bought me at Christmas. Keep looking!, And in the meantime I love the color of the one you have.
Well I’m going to need you to come to Houston as a good luck charm! 😉 That’s awesome, and I’ve heard that other thrifters have also found genuine Longchamp or other thrifting unicorns! It certainly is possible! Keeps me looking! I love the colour of my fake one but I don’t think the real deal comes in that colour in that size. Thanks for your comment!
I’ve picked up three pieces of St. John’s knits. One was a navy skirt and then I had the idea to go search through the t-shirts (hanger by hanger, hoping, hoping, hoping) and woohoo! found the matching button up jacket of the set. So, a super score – paid about $5 for the set.
Picked up a pair of Gucci mens horseshoe loafers – I need to get those listed and sell them! Thanks for the reminder!
That is BRILLIANT and I will remember it should I – I mean WHEN I finally find some St. John’s! I’m not even sure if they will be my style but I would like to find out!! Great score on the Gucci loafers! Reselling is great for everyone – but I usually want to keep everything!! Thanks for commenting!
I’ve also purchased a fake bag (Aigner) — but I’ve gotten a red pair of Salvatore Ferragamo flats, a Lily Pulitzer sweater, a Trina Turk dress, Sam Edelman boots, lots of vintage items and great mid-range brand names. Liking the items is a lot more important to me than the brand names, though. It has to be a good fabric and the right color/pattern/shape.
EXACTLY! When I was a new thrifter, I tended to buy designers/name-brand pieces based on the name alone. Now, I’ve grown as a person (!) and thrifter and am able to leave behind the pieces that don’t fit my style even if they’re a designer brand. Turns out, those brands have a lot of fugly going on too! The same principle applies to “cheap” brands – if you love it and it fits your style, thrift it even if it’s a brand like F21, Joe Fresh, etc. The retail value is virtually irrelevant.
I appreciate your honesty about the bag. I’ve never found any really rare unicorns, the closest is a Roberto Cavalli silk shirt and a St. Johns knit sweater (it was really ugly in my opinion and even had shoulder pads, but I managed to sell it on ebay). However, I have managed to find lots of great mid to higher end stuff (and even inexpensive stuff that was great). I find my jeans selection has improved drastically – after kids my favorite jeans didn’t work for me anymore and the ones I got were so-so. I experimented with a few more expensive brands and found lots of new favorites, like Cabi skinny jeans which don’t stretch out at the knees. I am also to the point where I’ll leave a great brand behind if it isn’t right for me for somebody else to find (like the Maeve brand shirt my daughter said made me look like a grandma or the 7 for all mankind skin tight cheetah print pants that were one size too small). I’ll sometimes sell the stuff I no longer want or purchase a few items to sell to fund my thrifting hobby, but I wouldn’t be a good serious seller because I want to keep the finds that fit me.
I’m totally with you!! Most of the time what I find reflects what is most available in regular retail stores near me, so here in Houston I see lots of Loft and mall brands. The label isn’t as important as fit and style but it can help to inform your thrifting decisions, especially in stores where the price is not set. I too have gotten better at leaving the good scores behind if they don’t work for me – it’s part of thrifting faith (the right piece will find it’s way to the right owner!).
Would you share how much the thrift store charged for your bag? Curious if they hiked the price based on the assumption that it was real. I’ve seen lots of fakes in thrift stores that are marked up. It’s really a vicious cycle!
I shared the price in my Insta post – it was $3 minus 10%. We thought we found a unicorn but the store pricers probably recognized it as a fake. They’re good!! I have heard of people finding authentic Longchamp while thrifting, and at thrift prices not boutique-thrift prices, so I know it can happen! I see lots of fakes too and I don’t blame the thrift store but rather the women who buy the fakes in the first place. Just don’t. I have plenty of lovely real leather, wonderful bags that aren’t a designer brand. There’s no reason to buy fakes. IMHO!! Thanks for your comment!!
Totally agree – I’m not a fan of fakes. It’s nice to see that the real thing is relatively affordable (compared to something like Louis Vuitton). My fave unicorn thrifts have been vintage Prada printed leggings, brand new with tags Cole Haan coat, and a St John sweater!
Excellent scores!!! It can be done! We all better go thrifting tomorrow just in case there’s a unicorn waiting! 😉
How did you realize it was a fake in the end? You can’t tell at all in your photos!
I linked to a video in the post that outlined the key features of an authentic Longchamp bag. Mine did not have the right zipper and the backside of the snap was wrong. 🙁 Now I know!
My best unicorn finds have been a DVF wrap dress for $5 and a pair of Tory Burch wedges for $5.25. The Tory’s weren’t my size, so I sold them on eBay. Last week I scored a beautiful Lilly Pulitzer eyelet dress for $16 (a score considering you can’t buy Lilly in Canada).
My “unicorn hunt” includes a signature Lilly Pulitzer shift dress, Tory Burch bag, a Longchamp bag and a Patagonia “down sweater”.
That is an amazing price for the DVF dress! I don’t wear mine often but I will always treasure it! I didn’t realize you can’t buy Lilly in Canada! I MIGHT have scored a Lilly piece during Thriftapalooza (coming soon in Part 3)!! We will have to keep up the hunt on both sides of the border!! Thanks for your comment!