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It doesn't pay to buy fakes

A collection of Nine West bags.
A collection of Nine West bags.
Photo by Kathy Poe

Instead of spending $50 on a fake Dior purse, go to TJ Maxx and buy a Nine West for $15. Besides handing out bragging rights, designer handbags also last much longer.

Avoid fakes. Chanel and Louis Vuitton fakes are especially easy to spot. A woman who is carrying a "Chanel" bag while wearing sweatpants and a camouflage jacket is giving herself away. People who know can spot a fake a million miles away. Don't try it.

Again, affordable alternatives are outlet or overstock stores like TJ Maxx and Gabriel Brothers. These stores stock a colorful variety of gorgeous accessories by Ralph Lauren, Guess and Nine West.

To the designer-phile who must have a pair of real Prada boots: save, save, save money. Study the trends, take a trip to a Neiman Marcus outlet store and buy those boots at the beginning of the season to get as much wear out of them as possible. Or follow the example of Charleston resident Polly Holstein who buys one Coach bag every year at Macy's as a special treat to herself.

Designers give their creations more flair and detail so unfortunately they go out of style faster. But as long as the item is not garishly outlandish, and more than likely will stay trendy for several seasons, then buy authentic designer accessories. The item will both be a good investment for the wardrobe and self-esteem.