Real or Fake? 4 Ways to Tell Whether It’s Leather or Faux

Leather messenger bag

Fine leather goods are ubiquitous in fashion for both men and women. From mens leather satchels and belts to leather bracelets and tote bags for women, this material is considered to be a true classic. But if you’re in the market for a leather jacket, a leather briefcase, or womens leather wallets, you might have trouble distinguishing between real leather and a faux, synthetic alternative. After all, no one wants to invest in a product that has inferior quality — especially without his or her knowledge! In order to tell the difference and avoid getting duped, here are four ways to tell whether what you’re looking at is real or fake:

  1. Smell the material
    The smell of real leather is entirely distinctive and elicits feelings of comfort for many people. People love it so much that some companies have made candles and perfume oils to replicate the beloved scent! But synthetic leather will smell of chemicals or vinyl — not like real fine leather goods. The smell test may be the quickest way to tell whether that leather belt or bag is the real deal.
  2. Check the label
    If a product is made of real leather, the label will proudly say so. If an item is vintage, it may not identify the materials like modern pieces do, so this is not completely tried-and-true. But if the label states that the jacket in your hands is comprised of “man-made materials,” you’re looking at an imitation.
  3. Feel the surface
    Real leather doesn’t always feel the same from product to product; sometimes it can be smooth, and other times, it will feel coarse to the touch. But if the item feels too smooth, is rigid, or simply feels “plastic-y,” you might be right to be suspicious.
  4. Look carefully
    Did you know that leather has pores? It makes sense, given that leather is made from animal hide. But real leather will have inconsistent pores and lines, which is hard to replicate in synthetic materials. You should also look at the edges of the product. If the edges feel hard and perfect, it might be fake. Real leather tends to have a rougher look. Part of the beauty of owning fine leather goods is that their imperfections make them even more beautiful, and they only grow more so with age.

Whether you’re trying to distinguish the authenticity of a couch or a trendy leather jacket, these tips can help you make a determination. Above all, you should buy fine leather goods only from a reputable seller. That way, you’ll have a guarantee that what you’re buying is the real thing.

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