Handbag enthusiast Dr. Jennifer Su shares her tips to ensure authenticity.

Gucci, Chanel, Fendi, Christian Dior, Hermes — nothing pulls a glam outfit together like a one-of-a-kind bag (extra points if it’s versatile and stylish.)

In Jefferson City, there is one expert who can spot a high-end luxury bag from a mile away.

During work hours, gynecologist Dr. Jennifer Su cares for patients at Whole Health JC, but her moonlight obsession is fashion — luxury bags, to be specific. Jennifer has spent years eyeing and buying the perfect bags.

She encourages shoppers to do their research. It’s easy enough to find a preowned bag through online retailers such as Tradesy (www.tradesy.com), Rebag (www.rebag.com), and eBay (www.ebay.com), but it’s actually much harder to determine its authenticity when you cannot pick it up to examine the features. Jennifer points out that each Louis Vuitton bag is hand-stitched and has trademarked, iconic features specific to its own model. Leather tabs with double stitching and the perfect tulip “tip” on the handles indicate authenticity on the Neverfull model. Likewise, every bit of hardware on a Gucci, down to the last grommet, will be stamped with the proper logo and feel heavy and high-quality. Each Chanel bag with the quilting feature has between eight and 12 stitches per side on the classic diamond design, and the lambskin or caviar leather will always be unmistakably supple and soft. All luxury brand bags will have a clean, tight lining, one that doesn’t wrinkle or warp. Zippers should zip flawlessly and no threads should come loose.

Jennifer is entertaining, but informative, in her Youtube posts that highlight the differences between luxe and dupe bags.

“It’s okay to get a fake if you want one!”


“I put this out there so that when you’re shopping, you don’t pay for a real one and actually get a fake.” High-end bags come in many shapes and sizes, but nearly all are made of leather, treated canvas, or both. In bags made from untreated leather, it can be difficult to recognize natural patina (that mellow, honey-golden color that becomes deeper and more gorgeous overtime) without matching it to the identification code on its tag. The code verifies the place and date it was made, so if your leather has an incredible patina, but the tag says it was made this year, you’ve been duped. If your bag doesn’t smell like leather but has a rather chemical, fake scent, it probably is not leather at all. Investing in a high-end bag can initially be a big hurdle, but the quality of design is superior and will last for years to come. With some bags costing upwards of$10,000, it pays to do your homework.

Keep it Clean

On her YouTube channel, “From Jen With Hope,” Jennifer posts videos on cleaning and maintaining her favorite fashion accoutrements. She reminds viewers that regular cleaning is an essential part of maintaining a luxury purse. Jennifer uses simple household ingredients everyone likely has in their cupboard— dish soap and leather furniture conditioner. Remember to always begin by cleaning a small, inconspicuous part, like the side of the bag that faces your body. For PVC-coated canvas bags, try wiping the material (avoid leather piping and handles) with Armor All protectant wipes. Never use rubbing alcohol, MagicEraser, or baking soda, as these are all abrasive enough to remove the monogrammed print. For whitening, Jennifer uses a diluted mixture of one drop of Dawn dish soap and one-half cup of cold water. To clean untreated leather, apply leather furniture conditioner. Simply squirt a dab onto a soft cloth and massage into the bag.