chanel bagEverybody's done it. Eyed some girl's purse -- be it on the subway or at the mall -- and wondered, "Is that real?" Too often I see women who seriously don't look like they have an extra $1,500 lying around for a Louis Vuitton -- because they look 23 or because they're working at Petco -- toting around really realistic-looking designer bag.

Well, according to MIT marketing professor Renee Richardson Gosline and her doctoral thesis (yes, a super smart person did a thesis on this), those fancypants bags could be real -- even if the women don't have the extra cash -- because apparently owning a fake designer bag is a gateway drug to owning a real one. That's right, a $40 Prada handbag can actually get you to shell out $2,000 for the real McCoy. If that's not irony, I don't know what is.

According to Slate:

[Gosline] found that her subjects formed attachments to their phony Vuittons and came to crave the real thing when, inevitably, they found the stitches falling apart on their cheap knockoffs. Within a couple of years, more than half of the women abandoned their counterfeits for authentic items.

But ... isn't the point of buying a fake to save money? You can't afford to spend an entire paycheck on something that is going to eventually look like the MAC counter threw up on the inside. You're not fancy enough for a designer bag. And I say this with love, because neither am I!

This is serious here, though, guys. A professor -- from MIT! -- crunched the numbers. And if any of us happen to have phonies (you'll never know whether or not I do!), we're doomed to go into debt for the real thing. What started out as something economical and responsible, albeit supporting something illegal, is going to twirl around on its bogus Louboutin heels, and stab us in the back!

And this is only the beginning. You know how gateway drugs work. First, it'll lead us to a real Balenciaga bag, let us sample it, see how we like it. (And how can we not like it? Have you ever experienced leather like that?) Next it's a spur-of-the-moment trip to the South of France like we're freakin' Sonja Morgan. Then what? A car? A house? Before we know it, we're going to be living like a Rockefeller while still loading plush toys into the 99-cent bins in front of the aquariums! Ahhhh!

Alright, let's collect ourselves. Be cool. There are plenty of stores that have perfectly nice bags and clothing for really cheap. They won't have any labels on them, but we can get a totally cute hobo bag at Forever 21 for, like, two bucks. And a slouchy cardigan for four. And then we'll just put our iPods on and turn our noses up at all the rich girls holding designer bags because we're so indie and we keep it real. Yeah, that's what we are.

Would you buy a fake designer bag ... or do you have one already? We won't tell ...

 

Image via AshleyCooper/Flickr