What’s the harm in buying a fake Gucci belt? It helps advertise the brand and saves me money…right? NO!!!! Buying counterfeits is not a victimless crime. Would you buy that belt if you knew your money directly funded child labor, organized crime, and terriorism? That is exactly what is happening! Counterfeit production is growing into a trillion dollar industry.
What seems like a harmless purchase on Amazon or Ebay is not harmless at all. From a consumer level I can see how people think there is no harm in buying a few fakes, but because producing counterfeits is illegal the major players in the industry are crime bosses and known terrorist. Think about who the people willing to break the law and set up illegal companies are? They are not just innocently making counterfeit items. This is a major industry with huge amounts of money being made. The profits are so good some crime organizations are moving out of selling drugs and into counterfeiting. They use child labor where they have been caught chaining children to sewing machines and breaking their legs. Buying fakes puts money in terrorist pockets used to buy weapons and bullets. Buying that fake Gucci belt could fund bullets for the next terrorist attack! It is not harmless to buy counterfeits!
The world of blogging and Instagram is helping the industry grow. I cringe every time I see an influencer promote a fake item. I know the majority probably don’t know the harm, but it’s time to start educating the industry. Instagram and Facebook ads are flooded with sites selling designer fakes. I am not talking about the dupes or design copies of a bag or shoe. We have all seen the Steve Madden dupes of the Hermes Oran sandals, or bags in Target that resemble the look of a designer bag. Maybe not ethical to completely steal someones design, but not always illegal. I am talking about counterfeits. Please take a few minutes and watch this TED talk about the counterfeit industry and the harm.
So…how do you know if a site is selling authentic goods? I got questions about the Louboutin’s and items on Savannahs today. Some were asking if they are real and legit. I love getting that question because it means you care! These are a few steps I take to vet out new sites I have never shopped at.
A quick google search to check for reviews and articles written about site. If it’s a legitamite site there should be reviews and some form of publication about them. Now, I take reviews with a grain of salt in terms of customer service because I feel people only take the time to review when they are angry. Seldom do people review if it was a straight forward smooth purchase. If reviews are about shipping time, bad return issues, and customer service I don’t let that deter me. That’s part of normal business.
Check social media presence and who follows them. If other legitimate boutiques and people follow them that’s a good sign. Some smaller boutiques (especially in Europe) don’t always have a huge following. I’m checking more if they have a presence and its linked to their website.
Do they have a physical store? If they do search google images and maps. It should match their website address. Often you can see a picture of the store on google images. Check the phone number and call. Someone should pick up with the store name if they are real. Some legit sites like Farfetch and Yoox (same company as Net-a-Porter) don’t have physical stores but they have tons of reviews, articles written about them, and publicly traded companies. If they don’t have a physical location it just takes a little more digging.
One of the easiest ways to vet a site or store is to call the designer and ask if they are an authorized seller. If the site is selling Louboutin’s and you are unsure, call Louboutin’s 1-800 number and ask if they are authorized to sell their products. All designers will be able to let you know who is an authorized seller of their products.
If the site is a close-out site like TJ Maxx or Century 21 designers will not be able to say they are authorized sellers, but it doesn’t mean the items are fake. With those sites you have to rely on reputation and reviews. Those businesses get their items from authorized sellers at a close out. Check if they have a long standing business and solid reputation.
Which pair do you think are the most comfortable? The Peep-toe 110mm, Iriza 100mm, or Decollete 85mm? The answer might surprise you.
Oh Louboutin’s…you beautiful and sometimes painful things! When it comes to comfort Louboutin is not one of the brands you think of, however, some are definitely more comfortable than others. I won’t even talk about So Kate’s or Pigalle 120 because I can’t even stand still in them. They are gorgeous but not in the cards for me. To me comfort comes down to one thing, the width of the heel. For me the height isn’t always what makes them uncomfortable. In terms of comfort don’t just look at the height of the heel look at the width of the heel. That is what is going to make it more stable to walk and put less pressure on your foot. I have worn all 3 of these heels for a night out in Vegas. Which is the true test of a shoes comfort level. Hahahaha.
By far the Peep-toe (older style don’t remember the name) 110mm is the most comfortable out of these 3. The heel is the highest out of these but also has a platform and thicker heel. I feel the peep-toe helps the pressure of the front of the foot as well. If you are going for a heel over 100mm I would make sure it has a platform and possibly a peep-toe. These platforms have everything a higher heel needs. It has a peep toe, wider heel, and platform. I love these shoes!
Next in comfort out of these 3 is the Iriza 100mm. It is my favorite of the Louboutin’s in look and comfort for a true stiletto that is 100mm. The skinnier the heel the less comfortable, but I do love this shoe. For me I can wear them a tad longer than most Louboutin stiletto heels. I wouldn’t say they are super comfortable, but they are manageable if you are looking for a killer stiletto look.
I had high hopes for the Decollete 85mm. I don’t know if it’s just me but they kill my toes. I’m not sure if the cut-out of the Iriza makes them more comfortable, but these Decollete 85 were not as comfortable as the higher Iriza. I wore these in Vegas and half way through the night bought different shoes to wear. While everyone sat down to dinner I snuck into Barneys to buy new shoes. Luckily, it was sale time and I grabbed Manolo Blahnik Hangisi flats for 60% off. Perfect timing! When I tried the Pigalle 85mm on in the store they were more comfortable for me, but I don’t own a pair yet.
I love the Pigalle Plato as well! I have them in 100mm and 120mm. I can walk all night in the 100. The pitch of the 120 makes them less comfortable but still manageable. The heel is wider than a traditional skinny stiletto. That tiny bit of extra width makes all the difference. The heel I absolutely LOVE is the Decollete Jazz 312. It’s an older style and I got them in nude a few years ago and wish I would have bought the black too. If anyone sees them please let me know. 🙂 It has a thicker heel than the new Decollete Jazz. I haven’t tried the new style but I have my eyes on them. You know I refuse to pay retail so it’s a waiting and stalking game for me. Hahahah. The Almond toe and thicker heel makes them easy to walk in.
Pigalle Plato 100 and 120
Decollete Jazz 312
I have never paid retail for a pair of Louboutin’s and don’t plan on starting. Classic styles and colors can be hard to find for less than retail, but not impossible. Here are some links to some classics and other styles below retail. I know sometimes you have to pay retail but please don’t pay tax or shipping. Every dollar counts! 🙂 Here are some links.
A few months ago I posted a new pair of OTK (over the knee) boots I got for a deal. I love OTK boots but could never get them to stay up. Who is with me? I asked you all for some suggestions and I tried a few. I tried the thick socks, double sided tape, and tying them real tight. I didn’t want to sew or alter the boots in anyway since my closet is always on rotation, and I never know when I will sell them. Hahaha. I wanted something I could use that was fast, easy, and didn’t need to be sewn on.
One day I was cleaning out my bathroom closet and found self adhesive wrap. You know the kind you use for injuries and sprains? A lightbulb went off and I wrapped one thigh with it, one without, put my boots on (tied tight), and strutted around the house. I wore them cleaning and organizing for over an hour. It worked! It was enough grip to keep them from slipping. The wraps are self adhesive and stick to whatever they come in contact with. The above picture is the before and after of wearing them for an hour. Left side no wrap and right side with wrap. I tried with just skin contact and it worked great too.
I went on Amazon and ordered some off brands because they matched the color of my boots, but they didn’t work as well. Over the past few weeks I tried the CVS, Target, and 3M brands. They all worked great. I like the thicker 3″ or 4″ width over the 2″. Stays up better the thicker the width is.
It is super simple to do and does not alter or damage your boots in anyway. I put my boots on and before I pull them up wrap my thighs 2 times around with the wrap and cut. I wrap about 3/4″ below the top of where the boot hits. Pull the boots over the wrap and if the boots have strings, pull them tight and tie. That is it! Below is how I wrap my thighs and an example of the one I used in this picture. You can pick it up when you are at Target or here on Amazon. Give it a try and let me know if it work for you too! 🙂
The CHANEL sale has started!!! What does that mean? I decided to write this after yesterdays post. My inbox was flooded with questions. If there is one thing I love talking about it’s sales and shopping. So….Chanel pre-sell has started in major department stores like Bergdorf, Nordstrom, Sakes, Neimans, etc. Any department store that carries Chanel will have them on sale. The Chanel boutiques will not be having a sale again. BOO!
The sales only happen in store and not online. These sales happen 2x a year during the designer sale times. Chanel is always late to the sale game. This year seems later than usually and I have been waiting not so patiently. It starts with pre-sell at 30% off retail. What is included is select shoes, some accessories (mostly costume jewelry and brooches), and RTW clothing. Bags are not included in the sale. Once in a blue moon they have one but I think they are only offered to super clients, which I am not. Hahaha. I have seen one sale bag my SA showed me, but it was already sold, and I hate to say it but so ugly.
Most of my sale items don’t come from the state I live in or stores near me. You can read about how to find SA’s in my past blog post. I have established relationships with SA’s that make it easier to shop. Typically, pre-sell is offered to existing clients only. Sometimes, if you walk in stores or call and ask about the Chanel sale the SA will play dumb. They will tell you they don’t have Chanel on sale. It will open to the public soon, and at that point the sale shoes will be on the floor. The secret will be out. If you call now or walk in the store, act like you were notified about it. Don’t ask if they have any sale items. Instead, ask them to see what they have on sale like you were already notified. I have no shame! Hahahah. This is how I slowly started seeing more sale items. I was given pictures of all the Chanel sale items yesterday and today they can start pre-selling them. They won’t ship until the sale officially starts.
Now, the exciting part. Chanel is amazing at 30% off but even better at 60% off!!! In a few weeks the sale will drop to 60% off. That is when I get excited. Hahaha. Keep those SA’s close and be ready to buy in one second if they send you a picture of something you like. If you blink it is gone. January has the best deals of the year for me. Lots of people buying gifts right now and lots of returns in January. If sale items are returned they are marked down to whatever the current sale is. That means those Chanel ballet flats bought at 30% off, when returned, get marked down to 60% off. Now, go out at find some Chanel on sale!!!
Here are some pictures of past Chanel deals I found at 60% off!
You’ve heard me say it before and I’ll say it again….I LOVE Italist! You know I have been on the hunt for a new bag and here she is straight from Italist. In LOVE!
I have mentioned before how shopping from Europe can save you money, especially if you are looking for current season items not on sale. This Gucci Marmot bag retails for $1400. If I were to buy here and pay my local tax I would pay $1529. On Italist the bag was $1114.45 and the total after customs fees was $1215.75! Because I live in CA, and Italist has there US office in CA, I do have to pay my local sales tax as well. Even after my local tax the total for the bag was $1318.84. For me that’s a savings of $210! There are several great sites but Italist is definitely one of my faves! I have ordered 9 items from them and have always been super happy! When I have posted about Italist before I get tons of questions so I am going to try explain how it works.
Italist only sells authentic items shipped directly from authorized Italian boutiques. Many of these smaller boutiques either don’t have an online presence or brands restrict they way they are allowed to sell online. Many designer brands dictate how retailers are allowed to sell online and when they are allowed to put items on sale. This can make online shopping tricky for boutiques. Italist does not sell any products themselves instead they connect international buyers to the Italian designer boutiques. When you order through Italist they handle the sale and shipping, but the item is actually shipped directly from the designer boutiques in Italy.
Italist prices are lower because prices in Italy are lower! It’s really that simple. Italist steps in and allows us to buy from the boutiques, with the lower cost, without having to be in Italy. They handle the shipping, taxes, and customs duties. The total price will be reflected at check out. Remember, no customs duties are required for purchases under $800 when shipped to the US. Those are the best deals!
Once you place an order it may take a day to confirm the item is still available in the store. If confirmed you will receive confirmation and tracking info quickly. The items are shipped fast and arrive in about 4 days. I suggest really making sure you want the item and will not need to return it. They do allow returns but please remember all returns are handled through Italian customs. Italian customs will require you pay for return shipping and they do not refund customs duties. I rarely return items, but if you need to return there will be cost associated with it. Here is a quick video explaining it all.
Lastly, this is something I always have to address when sharing new sites. Reviews! I always research websites before I purchase from them and often read the reviews. I do take reviews for all sites with a grain of salt though. Every website has reviews stating fake items and terrible customer service. No website is without these reviews. They are not the majority, but I do know it can make the decision to order difficult. The majority of people only take the time to review when they are angry which makes it hard to get a clear picture. When reading reviews of Italist the majority of complaints come from people that did not read the return policy and then had to return. There are plenty of positive reviews as well. Remember, no website or company will make 100% of people happy.
Thank you Italist for sponsoring this post. All opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal views.
Here are some of my favorite items currently on Italist:
Sale season is upon us!!! The best deals I have ever gotten are from sales associates in department stores. I can’t express enough how important finding good ones are for deal hunting. I take this real serious. Hahahah. You will need good ones when second cuts happen and items drop to 60%-70% off. Prices will drop online but with thousands of people shopping at the same time its gone in seconds. To get Louboutin, Dior, and Chanel at 60% off you will need to have a relationship with sales associates. Other than Louboutin (occasionally) you will not find Chanel and Dior on sale online ever.
Many associates now use photo sharing and WhatsApp to share sale items and new arrivals. You need to be on their list to get the updates. Right now is the time! I have already started receiving list of what items will be on sale including Gucci, Valentino, and Saint Laurent. Some SA’s share these list via email, WhatsAPP, or photo sharing. Pre-sell is starting and if you have those list you can contact to order now. Nordstrom and Saks seem to be faster at getting list out and pre-selling so start there.
As of now I don’t share my list of SA’s for 2 reasons. 1. They took a long time to build and 2. I think it’s a personal relationship. I know that sounds crazy but sometimes you just get along better with some SA’s than others. We could have the same SA and they share their deals with you first simply because they like you better. It can be that simple. The nicer and easier you are to work with the more you get offered. No one wants to work with high maintenance rude people….right? 🙂 I have some that will text me first simply because we are friendly and they know I will buy fast. Most of mine know I only buy during sale times but that I am a serious buyer. They need to know you are a serious buyer and that takes a few purchases to establish.
That is the other way to get offered items first. Build a reputation that you will buy fast without a lot of questions. They are super busy during sale time and running around. They don’t have a ton of time to be responding to 100’s of people. Most SA’s have my card on file and when they text me a pic I simply say Yes. They have my info and shipping address already already on file. It’s as simple as that. A one second response to produce a sale. I’m not saying you can’t ever ask questions but if they know you are easy and fast to work with they will be more likely offer to you.
This is the week to find sales associates! Come next week when the sales really start they get super busy. Here is the simple way to find sales associates and get on their list. Call! It’s that simple. You don’t need to go into stores and you don’t need to live close. I would say I have never met 90% of the sales associates I work with. They are from all over the country and different department stores. Pick up the phone and call a bunch of Nordstroms (with designer items), Saks, Neimans, and Barneys. Ask to speak to a sales associate in womens and/or mens shoe dept. They will also be able to sell you bags and send bag pics. Someone from the floor that day will pick up. Ask them if they have a sales list you can be added too. Not all do, or some will not disclose they do if they already have a big client list. Keep calling! Maybe call the same store the next day when someone else is working. The more stores you call the more list you get on. It’s a numbers game.
Some of my favorites sale finds this year! All over 60% off retail! Happy shopping!
You will never catch me shopping on Black Friday! The crowds, the pushing, the no parking, and don’t get me started on why stores are open on Thanksgiving Day! That is not Black Friday that is Thanksgiving and I want to be eating and drinking. Who’s with me? Now, the real reason I am not shopping that day is because it’s too late. The sales don’t start on Black Friday they start days before. Most of the good stuff is gone!
What do I mean? Black Friday is a myth in the fashion world. Stores don’t do anything special on that day regarding designer items. The sales start a few days before. Saks, Nordstrom, Barneys, Neiman Marcus etc. have already started the sale typically a few days before Thanksgiving. This year I was told Nordstrom sales associates will have the designer sale list on 11/15 and the sale begins 11/20. Get in touch with a Nordstrom sales associate and ask to have the list sent to you before the sale starts. That is true of most department stores. Time to contact your sales associates and make sure you are on their list to receive sale updates. Why shop on Black Friday when most of the good stuff was cleaned out days before without the chaos? I do understand if you like the experience and its a holiday tradition with friends and family. For me I like the deal! I will be out shopping on the 20th or before.
This goes for outlets too! Last year most of the Black Friday sales started online and in stores the Monday or Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Sometimes, if you are real nice the sales associates they will pre-sell or hold items until the sale starts a day or two before that. Gucci, Saint Laurent, Prada, and other designer outlets start early as well. Sometimes, they start their sales even earlier. Last year the Gucci outlet started their sale on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. For the Gucci outlet and others you need to be at the store when the sale starts to get the best items. They may have a few things to restock but not always. If you go to the Gucci outlet on Black Friday the sale has been going on for almost a week and you don’t get the best selection.
Online retailers like Farfetch, Italist, and Matches Fashion send out emails for early shopping access. Make sure you have signed up to receive email alerts from these companies. Stay tuned I will be posting when sales start on Instagram. I love shopping this time of year, but after Christmas when prices drop to 60%-70% off I get real excited.
Department store sales start at 30-40% off retail. The Gucci outlet typically is around 50% off outlet prices on select merchandise. That wall of shoes was 50% off outlet prices which are about 50% off retail. Prada, Saint Laurent, Fendi, etc. have special pricing on select items. These are some examples of prices from the last sale. Happy shopping season!!!!
If you don’t shop on European sites you should! I have been on the hunt for a new bag. When I want a current season bag one of the best ways to save is to look online overseas. Prices are typically a little lower in Europe. Here is an example of the difference in price.
This bag retails for $1200 here and after my local tax it would be $1311. Same bag buying from a boutique in Europe including duties, taxes, and shipping is $1195. Saves me $116. During sale times these differences are even better.
Make sure at checkout all customs duties are included in the price. Any sale under $800 shipped to the US does not require duties. If you are buying multiple items and they are under $800 each it might be best to place 2 orders to avoid duties. Some sites like Farfetch and Matches Fashion include everything in the prices so there are no hidden fees. Other sites don’t add until checkout. Here are 2 examples of what check out looks like. Make sure it says duties and taxes included.
Make sure the site is trusted. Most cards and PayPal protect you against fake purchases. It’s a pain but typically you get your money back. There are several great sites in Europe that are not well-known here. That doesn’t mean they aren’t great. Some are small boutiques that sell online as well as the larger department stores. I always google the site and check to see if they have a physical store location. If they have a physical store you can search for reviews and social media. With a little research you can see if the site is a trusted authorized seller.
A few more things. Check return policies and return shipping cost. The return shipping cost can be very high sometimes. Also, if you are using a credit card make sure your card does not charge you a foreign transaction fee. I have some that do and some that don’t. Don’t forget to use Ebates or Top Cash Back to save even more. That is also a good sign the site is trusted. They don’t partner with fake sites. Here are some sites I love.
Farfetch, Matches Fashion, Italist, L’inde Le Palais, Glamood, Gente Roma, My Theresa, Gaudenzi Boutique, Harrods, and Giglio. I will try to get a complete list up soon.
Head over to my shop page to snag some Louboutin’s at a great price. For Louboutin’s online some sites make you send an email request. It is normal and you will get a link to purchase right away. Use code 20MORE to take an extra 20% off items in the outlet with a star. These are now $305!!
I’ve loved deal hunting for as long as I can remember. It all started in junior high with a 90% off rack of peach and teal turtle necks at JCPenney’s. Yes, I was in junior high in the late 80’s. I was hooked! From there I spend countless hours at Ross, Marshalls, and outlets. It wasn’t until a few years ago I took my deal hunting to the next level. I started learning how to find high end designer items at a fraction of the retail price. I have learned a lot of the years and now ready to share with all of you. I have wanted to start this blog for awhile as a way to not only show the deals, but also dig deeper into how to find them and some tips along the way. I’m so happy you are here!!!!!
One of the most asked questions I get is HOW? HOW do you find these deals? I am going to try and explain the HOW one post at at time. I didn’t learn this all over night. It took time to learn all the sites to check, when to check, when to shop in stores, and how to make contacts that will help you score big. This latest round of Louboutin deals is the one of the largest and best yet! I knew designer shoes were going to end up at the outlets around this time. HOW? Because designer sales had just ended in the full line department stores (Saks, Neimans, Nordstrom, Bergdorf, etc.) When the sales end they pull all the merchandise from the floor and some end the sales online. When they do this is takes a week or so then they start popping up online and in the outlet stores. The biggest and best (IMO) bulk of designer items can be found in these few weeks at the outlets. Outlet stores like, Nordstrom Rack, Saks Off 5th, Neiman Marcus Last Call, and Barney’ Warehouse will all get most of the items that didn’t sell or were returned late in the sale. This is the time I start checking websites a lot. I mean like 4-5 times a day everyday. I know I am crazy! Once you spot one pair you know more are to follow. Louboutin’s, Manolo’s, Saint Laurent etc. all pop up online at the same time. They tend to add a bunch of new designer items all at once. You have to be quick, like real quick. No time to think. If I see 10 pairs of Loubs pop up I add my top 2 and check out. No time to look through them all or they will be gone. After I check out I go back and see what might be left. It can sell out in seconds. Here is what I got all in one week online at Saks Off 5th. Prices were about 60-87% off retail! I paid $242.99-329.97 for each pair.