Polene’s popularity has been increasing steadily over the past few years, but especially more recently with its fame on TikTok. Unfortunately, with that popularity, comes the trickiness of navigating secondhand marketplaces for a great deal on the brand. Even with the recent price increases, pre-loved Polene bags often are priced below the threshold for authentication services offered on sites like eBay and Poshmark. I’ve seen a lot of replica bags pop up, and hope the following authenticity guide can help you avoid any heartache.
Price is too good to be true
More than 30% off when condition looks nearly new. This is often paired with…
Multiple listings by the same seller
Often with the same photos and heavy reliance on stock photos. While there are certainly folks out there with multiple Polene bags *raises hand*, it is unusual to have 2+ of the same style:
Bonus: Use Google to reverse image search the photos, to confirm that the seller is using their own photos. I’ve seen people use photos from my blog, which I don’t mind if they reference multiple influencer photos for styling purposes. But definitely not cool when they pretend that those are photos of the item in hand.
Polene’s leather is thick, and they use quite a bit of reinforcement to help the bags keep shape. This deconstruction video by Tanner Leatherstein shows exactly how much goes into the making of a Polene bag. Authentic bags are always shipped in boxes, so a new / nearly new bag should not come with any wrinkles or dents. Those are a clear giveaway, especially when the folded areas of leather look flat and squished, indicating thin leather.
Polene bags come with a rather weighty dustbag that has a felted exterior texture. They don’t wrinkle easily, and the texture can be seen from various angles.
You will see two types of designs on authentic dustbags. Older styles and bags will have the Polene name with the logo design on top. Newer bags (my Dix, Neuf Mini, Micro, and Tonca all have these) are more minimalist, and don’t have the designed logo. Both designs of dustbags are made of the same heavyweight material.
August 2023 Update: With the latest Polene rebranding a few months ago, all new styles (ex. Ilo, Nodde) will come with a redesigned dustbag. The exterior now has a more canvas-feel, while the interior has the soft brushed fleece feel. Older style bags purchased summer 2023 or later should also come with these.
For some reason, many fake Polene bags tend to have a “Numero Sept” paper exterior hang tag. If a NWT listing shows the Polene side of the hang tag, ask for a photo of the other side and make sure the style name matches the actual bag.
Now, I wouldn’t discount a listing simply because it doesn’t come with a box. Keeping boxes can take up a lot of space, an often precious commodity. If a listing does comes with a box, check to make sure it has the following qualities:
- Pearly, iridescent white coloring
- Foil lettering on the lid, including Polene and the style name
- Perfectly sized to fit the bag without squeezing it in
- For the Numero Neuf Mini, the box is vertical and not horizontal
- Bonus points:
- Polene info postcard, which usually has a stylistic photo on it
- Tissue paper with branded monogram, and sticker
- Note: Not all styles come with a box. Given their size, some of the larger totes come only with a dustbag.
Proof of purchase
When in doubt, ask for proof of purchase. And once provided, do reverse Google image search on said proof, to make sure they are not yanking it from another (legitimate) listing. As someone who has rehomed quite a few bags (as mentioned in my review roundup), I take no offense if a prospective buyer asks for proof of purchase!
And last but not least
It’s possible that you can take all of these precautions, and end up with a fake bag. It’s a small chance, but possible nonetheless, if the seller is using legitimate photos from elsewhere. Most platforms, like ebay and Poshmark, are good at refunding buyers if the item is a bait and switch. So submit that ticket for IND or “item not as described”, and get your hard earned money back.
Some styles also tend to be faked more than others – particularly the Numero Dix, Beri and Neuf. More complicated styles like the Numero Huit, older/discontinued styles like Numero Deux, and smaller accessories don’t tend to be repped. Of course, still proceed with some care – but it’s less likely you’ll encounter fakes in these styles.
If I’ve missed anything, please let me know in the comments. I hope you find this guide helpful in your Polene shopping endeavors!