Fashion Tips

When Are Knock Offs Okay? 

For Christmas, I received a pair of Stuart Weitzman Lowland boots in gray. They’re gorgeous, but more importantly they wrap tightly around my legs like a pair of leggings. Boots have never fit me so well! I have skinny legs so most over-the-knee boots require constant adjustments throughout the day. They slide down excessively. That was until the Lowlands.

I loved the fit so much that I was considering blowing through a chunk of my yearly bonus and buying a pair of the high-heeled version (Highland) in black. I knew that the chances of finding an affordable pair that actually fit me well would be a struggle. Nearly impossible.

Before making such a big (and ill-advised) purchase, I decided to see what Amazon Fashion had to offer. An unlikely place, but it has such a wide variety of sellers that I thought maybe just maybe I’d find something outside of the department store/big shoe brand scope.

That’s when I spotted a pair of gorgeous boots that looked and fit exactly like the Stuart Weitzman pair. I scoured through the customer reviews/pictures and the general consensus was clear. They are an exact replica of the Stuart Weitzman Highlands with the exception of being faux suede and a fraction of the price. Two things I could definitely live with!

I would have thought that the obvious next step was to buy them immediately, but I was suddenly conflicted. These shoes weren’t just an imitation they were the true definition of a knock off. If you put them side by side with the Stuart Weitzman boots, you probably would not be able to tell the difference. After a lot of back and forth I bought them. Fashion week is just around the corner and it would be irresponsible to buy the real thing at this point.

The shoes arrived Saturday. They look and fit great! I do not even have the smallest bit of buyer’s remorse. Does the quality hold a candle to the real thing? Definitely not. Will they serve their purpose though? Definitely. In this case, buying a knock off was okay.

I still asked myself, what are the rules of knock offs? When is it really okay to buy the knock off over the real thing? Here are my thoughts on the matter…

Shoes/Bags with Distinctive Shape/Fit (No Logo)— Okay 

Photo: Purse Blog
Photo: Purse Blog

There are brands that are known for their shape and fit. So much so that if you are carrying a knock off people may mistake it for the real thing. For example Céline bags have two shapes that are very well-known. It really comes down to how comfortable you are with having to say, “No it’s not Céline, it’s from H&M” every time someone asks. In my book wearing designer inspired shoes or bags are totally okay. I know I do it all the time (and if you shop at stores like Steve Madden or Aldo so do you).

Note: This also has a lot to do with your circle. If you have friends who aren’t super into fashion then there’s a good chance you won’t ever get the question.

Clothes— Always Okay

Photo: Fashionista
Photo: Fashionista

The reality is that when it comes to clothing EVERYTHING is a knock off. When designers debut something on the runway for the first time it is a knockoff of something else from decades prior. They just put their own spin on things. Stores like H&M, Zara, and Forever 21 pride themselves on their ability to turn runway fashion into wearable fashion. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that especially because every trend has a shelf life. It’s a lot less of a headache to donate that “knock off” to Goodwill than to try to sell the designer item on Ebay or on consignment.

Anything with a Logo or Distinctive Marking— NEVER OKAY

Christian Louboutin—So Kate
Photo: Talk Shoes

I repeat, not okay! A fake monogram Louis Vuitton bag or a shoe with a painted on red bottom that isn’t Christian Louboutin is not only tacky, but wrong. You are literally taking money away from that designer and everyone else who worked hard to create the real thing. Worst of all, you are blatantly trying to pass off a fake as the real thing which is completely dishonest. I definitely understand wanting designer items, but you’re much better off either saving up or hitting up a great sale. Do not head to Chinatown for that fake Chanel bag, you’re better than that. It’s okay to wear something that was inspired by a designer item, but never good to try pretend that it is actually designer. Fake logos are always (always) not okay.

Get these fabulous knock offs here!

What do YOU think the rules of knock offs are?



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