For A-List Living on D-List Dimes......

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Chow Couture

Now let’s be honest, when you think of your local Chinatown, fabulous fashion finds are not something that instantly spring to mind. In truth, I have avoided Chinatown like the PLAGUE since my first flirtation with it three years ago. Before even stepping foot on its actual soil I had the misfortune to ride the bus through there. Now I don’t really care if some 60 year old woman, who has beaten herself into a purple velour tracksuit, thinks she’s Beyonce. In fact, I say more power to you sista! However, I’m still somewhat traumatized by the woman who sat next to me with some sort of live animal in her shopping bag. I think it was a chicken….. it could have been a rat……I’m probably better off not actually knowing the truth…..but this bad boy was going CRAZY in her plastic bag and I mean CRAAAZZY! She just sat there completely expressionless, unfazed and unperturbed by the fear permeating through the back of the bus. That was enough for me. I decided there and then that anything I needed from Chinatown I could order off a menu from the comfort of my couch……

Of course, I felt this way until that fateful day a few weeks ago when I had the misfortune to find myself alone, magazineless and with an hour to kill in none other than – Chinatown. I lasted as long as I possibly could in a restaurant where nobody spoke English and I brought the median age down by about fifty years before I realized I was outstaying my welcome and was going to have to just start trawling the streets.

Lucky I did, as I had what could only be described as a Sex & The City ‘forbidden experience’ but unlike Carrie and the girls, I truly embraced it. I was aimlessly browsing through a store offering fake Guess bags and ugly faux-Hermes scarves when the owner approached me and suggested I might like to take a look in their ‘back room’. Cue angels singing ‘aaahhhhhhh’.

Oh my GOD, the bags in this tiny little back room were AMAZING. I’m talking about perfect Coach bags, chic Chanel, Prada clutches, Tory Burch totes…..the works! I literally stood dumbfounded for minutes before I got to work touching….feeling….checking the interior of the purses….now I’ll be honest, I’ve a good eye for the fake and phony (and I’m not just talking about bags) but these items were perfect, they were treasures to be owned and loved and tucked into bed at night. After whiling away the best of an hour (I was now late for the appointment I had been killing time for in the first instance) my spidey senses honed in on the most beautiful Coach tote in a soft, supple yellow leather. Mmmmm delicioso!! And what was even more sumptuous was the price tag - $40?? Doth my eyes betray me?? Yes it’s true, my little recessionistas, this Neiman Marcus delicacy was mine for a mere forty bucks. I couldn’t believe my luck!

Now I have genuinely no idea if these bags were fake or had perhaps ‘fallen off the back of a truck’. All I do know is that they certainly fulfilled my A-List living aspirations on my D-List dimes. The trick with making fake look fabulous is not to look like every designer label that ever existed vomited all over you. Nothing says fake more than a girl wearing Gucci loafers with a D&G t-shirt with a Louis Vuitton tote, a Burberry scarf adorning her neck and Chanel logo studs in her ears. If you have to emblazon a designer’s logo across your chest chances are it’s cos you can’t afford the real deal. I vowed only ever to use my Chinatown find casually during the day – cos let’s face it, a Coach purse is an everyday essential for an A-List lady – not a luxury. If you want to emulate the look you need to also embrace the lifestyle. Don’t save your few fabulous finds for special occasions – flaunt them as if you have fifty.

But beware! Most fakes are betrayed by inaccurate logos. If you’re a novice when it comes to deciphering which is Chanel fact or fiction, take a minute to check out this great website Not only does this site specialize in selling fake purses for less but it also gives you tips on how to tell a good fake from a bad fake. Genius!

And you know the best thing about getting a great deal on a great bag? Unlike trying to beat your ass into a pair of J Brand skinny jeans on a menstrual Monday one size truly does fit all! Hurray for all us pear-shaped people in the world! Now go and get your Guci, I mean, Gucci on…….;)

UPDATE!!  I just made a believer out of one of my closest friends!  Inspired after reading this posting she actually succeeded in dragging my hungover ass down to Chinatown and we had an even better 'forbidden experience' than I had before!  Just as we were walking out of this store that had sub-standard fakes the saleswoman said she could show us more if we were interested.  There was an awkward pregnant pause.  She knew what we were looking for.  We knew what she meant.  But like a first date.....nobody wanted to make the first move.  The next thing we know we're following this little Asian man out of the shop, up a hill, through an alley, into another store, behind a curtain, past a doorway and into, what can only be described as, fake purse heaven!!  There were literally hundreds and hundreds of Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Coach, D&G, Prada.....I could go on and on!  I scored a beautiful red leather Jimmy Choo bag that normally retails at $1,225.  My price?  Forty of my hard earned American dollars.  Loves it!  And my friend got a fabuless white Gucci number for $45.  The sense of satisfaction just eminated from the two of us.  We were positively BEAMING leaving the store.  And the best thing of all......we even had change for a nice glass of wine afterwards.  Cheers!

WHERE TO GO??  Hollywood Kool, 904 Grant Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94108

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