"Made in Italy" worth $100+?

Jun 18, 2008
Recently I went to TJ Maxx and Marshalls (my two favorite stores) I keep noticing something. Just a bag says "made in Italy" does it really mean it's worth more than $100? Most of these so-called "Italian" bags are from designers who I've never even heard of. Yet they are priced much higher than the more popular Dooney and Bourks, Michael Kohls, and Coach bags just because it says "Made in Italy". I took note of several "Italian Brands" they had (Claudia Fierenze, Christina Fierenze, Arcadia, Puntores (Made in Spain). I have never even heard of these designers and some of the bags like Christina Fierenze. One bag I saw in Marshalls was by a company called Vincenza. It said "Made in Italy" and it was made of leather. However they craftsmenship of the bag was not something that would be expected in an "Italian" bag: Stitching was frayed and crooked etc. And yet Marshalls was still charging $170 for it. *ahem* no thanks. The Liz Claiborne leather bag which was $59 looked much better than the "Italian" bag for $170.
Feb 18, 2009
One of the reason for price has been the exchange rate between US and Euro. In the nineties you paid about $ 0.87 for one Euro, but by 2007 you had to pay $ 1.45 for one Euro. That is an increase of 66%!
Now to your question at large:
Some Italian manufacturers sell some styles of their collection to discount stores in the US. The rest of their collection will go to the better stores.
Discount stores seldom have the latest styles available, most likely their merchandise is from a previous season.
But if you know fashion, you can find good deals.


bag lady!
Mar 8, 2009
Italian rules allow companies to make most of the bag in China, ship it to Italy, and then do one thing like sew on a handle or something and consider it "Made in Italy." So these could just be brands that are taking advantage of that.


where's my bag?!
Apr 25, 2006
The leather bags made in Italy or Spain from my own experience at TJ Maxx and Marshalls are made from full grain leather which is top quality. The craftsmanship should match the quality of the leather tho; but it wouldn't stop me from purchasing it if it has a beautiful handfeel. It would be easier to find a way to fix hardware and stitching than it would be to fix a defect on the leather, if one were purchasing it based on discounted price.


Jan 30, 2008
wow, how timely to find this article. I just bought a bag from "Paola Del Lungo." I couldn't find much through google about the bag and I'm wondering about the value. I paid over a $100 and even though some of the stiching is coming off already, I do like the style. Has anyone seen a reference point to outlines all these different italian brands found at M & TJ?


Feb 20, 2009
"Italian Bags" can mean everything or nothing. There are great handmade bags from Italy even with great prices. Not big brands of course, but real good deals. On the other side, there are a lot of really cheap bags which are made in China and only the handle was put on in Italy. Don't forget that the shipping costs and the tax (and so on) are also in the price you have to pay. That's why this bags are more expensive than bags made in the USA.
Jul 21, 2006
There is another brand that is carried by TJM and Marshall's called ABRO, and in my opinion, those bags are really nice. However, they are made in Romania, not Italy, so this may be off topic. But in any event, I think you really have to look at the hardware on those unknown Italian designers....that should give you a very good indication whether the bag is worth the $100 or not at TJM. Personally, no bag with a plastic zipper is worth over $100, and I've even seen plastic zippers on Dooney's. I think TJM and Marshall's also sell Valentina bags, and they have really nice hardware, and those run about $129 to $159 at Marshalls.


Nov 19, 2007
Instead of looking at the "Made in Italy" tag, feel the bag. Is the leather butter soft? Deos the hardware look sturdy? Can you not keep yourself from touching the butter soft leather (this has happened to me a couple of times)? Unknown name aside, can you see the bag in your hand, out the store door, and in your closet?

If you have answered yes to these questions, then I think you have your answer.
Oct 2, 2008
I think rather than go by the tag (because, as someone already mentioned before me, just because it says "made in ___" doesn't mean the materials, the assembly, the packaging, EVERYTHING was done in that country, most of the time, they get materials from several different countries, get it all stitched together in another country, and leave one last piece for another country to finish off to be labelled with that country's label.), feel the leather.

The leather doesn't lie. I've seen lots of shoddy leather bags with "made in Italy" labels, so that means nothing to me. And at the same time, I've seen some really great bags with "made in China" labels.