Kate Spade and kate spade outlet can seem very similar at first glance, but there are some key differences between the two brands. Kate Spade is a luxury handbag and accessories brand, while kate spade outlet sells discounted or clearance items from the main Kate Spade line. Knowing what to look for can help you identify authentic Kate Spade purses versus outlet or knockoff versions.
One of the biggest giveaways is the price tag. Authentic Kate Spade bags retail for $100 to $500 or more, with most styles in the $200 to $400 range. Kate Spade outlet bags are typically priced at 25-65% off retail prices. You’ll rarely find a real Kate Spade purse selling for less than $100 unless it’s a small accessory or is significantly marked down at the outlet. Knockoffs usually sell for much less than that.
Quality & Materials
Kate Spade uses high quality leather, cotton, wool and other textiles for its main collection. The nylon bags at the outlet will feel thinner and less luxurious. Check that logos and appliques are neatly stitched rather than glued on. Hardware should have some weight to it and not feel hollow or flimsy. Lining and interior organizational features will be more basic on the outlet bags versus the signature Spade prints on the pricier versions. The craftsmanship and attention to detail will be lower overall on outlet merchandise.
Tag & Logo
Inspect the logo closely. Kate Spade bags will say “Kate Spade New York” in crisp, clean font. The “spade” logo should look pointy, not round or uneven. Outlet versions may have a neon green or red “outlet” sticker rather than the gold foil “Kate Spade New York” stamp. Fake Kate Spade labels often look sloppily printed or embossed compared to the real thing. The tag with item details and “Made in…” country of origin will also look less refined on outlet and counterfeit bags.
Kate Spade does not sell its main collection on other discount websites or stores besides its own website and retail locations. You will only find authentic Kate Spade purses at the brand’s New York flagship, other retail shops, official website, or the occasional department store. Outlet bags can be found at Kate Spade outlet locations and on the outlet section of their website. Any “Kate Spade” purses being resold on eBay, Poshmark, Amazon, etc. are most likely outlet or fake.
Patterns & Colors
While Kate Spade produces seasonal collections in a wide range of patterns and colors, the main line tends to use more premium looking leathers, fabrics and finishes. The outlet bags often use cheaper looking fabrics with loud graphic prints not found in the core collection. Research the current and past season’s styles to get a sense of the main brand’s aesthetic compared to the outlet. For example, the nylon bags with large “KS” logos all over them are exclusive to the outlet.
Straps & Stitching
Attention to detail is a Kate Spade signature. Look closely at the stitching, which should be straight, tight and consistent no matter where on the bag. Straps and handles should be firmly sewn on with no loose threads. Poor stitching and glued-on or flimsy handles are a sign of an outlet or counterfeit bag. The zippers on Kate Spade purses are always branded with the spade logo and move smoothly. Check the stitching and sewing at zippers, seams and trim for any red flags.
Gently inspect the interior of the purse. Kate Spade bags will have high quality, branded lining with the signature spade print. The Kate Spade logo or name should appear neatly printed or stamped. There should not be any uneven gluing, loose threads, smearing or spelling errors. The interior organization such as pockets and dividers will also look clean and carefully constructed. Lining and interior pockets are often plain and flimsy on outlet and knockoff bags in comparison.
Packaging & Dust Bag
Your Kate Spade handbag will come carefully wrapped in tissue paper inside a glossy, branded dust bag. Outlet bags come in plainer cotton dust bags with drawstring closures rather than zippers. Fake Kate Spade purses usually won’t have a dust bag at all or will have a cheap polyester one. The shopping bag, tags, receipts and other packaging should also match the quality and branding of an authentic Kate Spade item.
This may sound silly, but give the purse a sniff. Real leather and suede have a distinct natural scent, while cheaper materials tend to have a chemical or plastic smell. When you run a finger over the leather, it should feel smooth and high quality. Fakes often use stiff, molded leather that creaks or cracks.
Wear & Tear
A brand new Kate Spade typically won’t show much wear apart from some minor scuffing on leather edges or feet. Examine the bottom and four corners carefully for excessive scratches, scrapes or fraying. Heavily worn handles, hardware or interiors indicate the bag is not brand new. Some outlet bags may be rejects or leftovers with flawed materials, while knockoffs tend to fall apart quickly.
If purchasing from a private seller, ask plenty of questions. Request photos of any tags, markings, logos or other details you can cross-reference. Some key info to ask for is the item name/number, collection, year purchased and original price paid. Do a quick search online to verify if the details match up to a real Kate Spade style. Reputable sellers will happily answer questions and provide extra photos of logos and interior labels.
Buying online? Read through user reviews carefully, especially looking for any mentions of poor quality, issues with logos, hardware breaking, etc. Reliable sites like Nordstrom Rack will make it clear in the item description if it’s outlet merchandise. Be wary of Kate Spade bags sold on sites known for counterfeits. Check reviews of the seller if buying secondhand.
Authenticate Before Purchase
If still unsure, have the bag professionally authenticated. Companies like Real Authentication can verify if a Kate Spade purse is real or fake. You can send photos and item details for their experts to inspect prior to making a purchase. Authentication services give peace of mind and are well worth the small fee for expensive designer items.
Trust Your Instincts
When in doubt, go with your gut feeling. If a Kate Spade bag seems excessively cheap, poorly made or has other red flags, it’s likely a fake. Outlet bags will be marked as such and priced accordingly. Stick to reputable retailers like the Kate Spade website, retail stores or department stores to ensure you’re getting the real thing.
Here is a quick reference comparison chart summarizing some of the key differences between Kate Spade, Kate Spade outlet, and knockoff bags:
|Kate Spade Outlet
|$100 – $500+
|25-65% off retail
|Usually under $100
|Excellent, luxurious materials
|Good, cheaper materials
|Poor, cheap materials
|Tag & Logo
|“Kate Spade New York” in crisp, clean font
|May have “outlet” sticker
|Messy font, spelling errors
|Kate Spade stores and website
|Kate Spade outlet stores and website
|Resale sites, unauthorized dealers
|Patterns & Colors
|Classic, refined, luxe
|Loud graphic prints
|Straight, tight, consistent
|May have some flaws
|Crooked, loose, uneven
|Branded lining and labels
|No labels, cheap lining
|High quality, branded
|Basic cotton drawstring bag
|No dust bag or cheap quality
With close inspection and by comparing things like price, quality, branding, location and other details, you can identify if a bag is authentic Kate Spade versus a Kate Spade outlet or fake version. When purchasing online especially, take time to research the seller and ask for additional photos of any features you find suspicious. Trust your judgement – if a purse looks or feels cheaply made under closer examination, it is likely not the real deal. Stick to reputable retailers and Kate Spade’s own stores and website to ensure you get a genuine Kate Spade handbag.