How To Spot Fake Lilly Pulitzer Dresses (Avoid Knockoffs)

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Different items have vastly differing popularity in areas of the country.  In our neck of the woods, Lilly Pulitzer at a thrift store is as rare as hen’s teeth.

In all the time we have been thrifting, I can count on two hands the number of Lilly Pulitzer items we have found at thrift stores.  To add insult to injury, being unfamiliar with the brand leads to a much higher probability of us being duped by fakes when we do find them.

Like every other highly recognizable and desirable brand, Lilly Pulitzer is often faked and duplicated by unscruplous selers looking to make a quick buck.

Luckily for you and I there are a couple of easy ways to identify a fake Lilly Pulitzer dress, shirt, piece of fabric, etc.

While this guide is mainly meant for those who are looking to buy or sell Lilly Pulitzer items on eBay you’ll find it helpful no matter where you shop!

How To Spot A Fake Lilly Pulizter Dress

The main difficulty with authenticating Lilly Pulitzer items (and any other brand) for sale on eBay is twofold:

  • You can’t hold the item. One of the best ways to identify a fake item is simply by feel. If you can’t touch it, this method is out. We’ll have to rely on a few other tricks to ensure that the clothing we’re getting is the real deal.
  • You don’t necessarily get the photographed item. Some savvy eBay scammers have taken to taking pictures of an authentic item and then sending out fakes of the same item. If you return it, they’ll claim you switched it out. Luckily we have a method to deal with this type of fake as well.

1. The Fabric and Lace

The workmanship and overall quality is the main indicator of authentic Lilly Pulitzer items. You’re looking at a dress with a $300 MSRP and you can very well expect it to have commensurate quality.

If you can’t feel it, however, what do you look for?

If you have good pictures available, look for straight even stitches, the absence of loose threads, and even patterning.

Knockoffs are typically made as quickly as possible and have tell-tale signs such as lopsided panels, dropped stitches, etc.

This is especially evident if the piece is lace. Most dresses will have Lilly hem lace as well as perfectly even symmetrical lace patterns.

It’s also worth noting that Lilly Pulitzer usually incorporates small satin straps under the shoulder of sleeveless dresses to hold your bra in place and out of sight. These are often absent in fakes, as are the YKK brand zippers.

If you are looking at spending a significant amount of money on a Lilly Pulitzer item, don’t be afraid to ask for a few more pictures of key areas so you can get a better idea of what you’re dealing with.

2. The Labels/Brand Tags

Nearly every company that produces counterfeit items messes up the tags in some way. Sometimes this is done purposefully (so as to weasel out of lawsuits) but more often it is simply negligence.

If you’re not familiar with the look of Lilly Pulitzer tags, head to a Nordstrom nearby and look at a bunch. You’ll quickly learn the standard look and will be weirded out when you see something that is crooked or has the name poorly stitched.

However, just because a label is a bit different doesn’t mean that it’s fake.

There are several different varieties of both vintage and modern labels. Not to mention the fact that much of the Lilly athletic apparel now has a printed label.

However, the two examples below are the most common types you’ll find:

Modern Lilly Pulitzer Tag
Vintage Lilly Pulitzer Tag

If you’re specifically looking at vintage tags, after 2000, the TM was changed to a circled R. 

If you find a print manufactured after 2000 with a label that has a TM, then you probably have found a fake.  In 2006, the label was changed once again and it was made much smaller.

In 2007, it was further changed and (again) made smaller.

If in doubt, you can always take your dress is to take it to a Lilly Signature Store and ask a knowledgeable salesperson who will give you their opinion.

Another thing to be aware of is the presence of hang tags. Many sellers who are shipping fakes sell their dresses as NWOT (New Without Tags) to save them the effort of producing additional tags.

There are a large number of fake dresses from the Philippines and they are generally older prints sold as “New” but without tags.

3. Details (Lilly Buttons)

If everything checks out so far, let’s get to another area that is often skipped over in dupes.

In the interest of saving money, the small details that aren’t easily visible are often passed over. One of the main ones is the distinctive Lilly Pullitzer buttons.

Most dresses and many shirts have buttons and they all have the signature button with the logo on them.

authentic Lilly Pulitzer button closeup

If you can touch the dress, you can also be tipped off by small things such as the weight of the liner and the quality of the button holes.

4. Location Of The Seller

Where is your seller located? If you are brave enough to be shopping on eBay or Poshmark, do your due diligence on the store selling you the item.

Be sure to check a seller’s feedback to make sure they have not received negative comments related to selling counterfeit goods. Many sellers have return policies that allow you to return merchandise in its original condition for any reason within a specified time frame. If in doubt, don’t buy it.

Although reading feedback is typically sufficient (although eBay sellers can cheat the feedback system) but you can also make a judgment call based on where the item is shipping from.

If it’s coming from an overseas seller, particularly from China or the Philippines, take that as a strike against the authenticity of the item.

In some cases, you may be getting authentic Lilly fabric, but the dress may not be manufactured in a licensed Lilly factory.

Lilly Pulitzer fakes are common enough (and good enough) that some people find them from even reputable sellers. TJ Maxx for example…

Just remember, if you bought your dress at retail, you would expect to pay between $160 and $320 for a new with tags (NWT) dress. If you find a bargain on eBay, ask yourself why.

Conclusion

As with everything you buy on eBay (or other online platforms) the best way to protect yourself is to buy from a reputable seller.

In fact, we’ve written entire articles just identifying the best eBay sellers for Louis Vuitton, designer handbags, and even Burberry.

However, you’ll need to educate yourself to make sure that the item is indeed authentic because even honest well meaning sellers sometimes make mistakes and sell fake items by accident.

If you are looking for current pieces and want to make absolutely sure that you’re not wasting money on a knockoff, the clearance section on the Lilly Pulitzer site often has pieces for 70% or more off the MSRP.

So, wherever you choose to buy your Lilly, put in the work and make sure that you’re getting a piece of clothing that will last you a good long while. Good luck!

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