There is no magic to choosing a good preloved or vintage luxury handbag. It’s a feeling you get and a fair bit of trial and error. And trust me, I made a boatload of errors early on! Now I find choosing the right bag to acquire much easier; Part loose methodology coupled with following my trained instincts.
Here are a few things The Daily Luxe Boss Lady learned along the way.
Authenticity. This seems so obvious, but is often ignored! A fake luxury handbag is worth nothing. Zero. If you are unsure of a bag’s authenticity or are unfamiliar with the style, have it checked by a recognised authenticator. It a small price to pay for peace of mind. The Daily Luxe uses and recommends these authenticators; Etinceler [vintage Chanel], Authenticate First [various luxury brands] and Authentic Vintage Designer’s Maranda Yujnovich [Louis Vuitton].
Style. This is important but subjective. Have a think about whether the style of bag (tote, hobo, cross body, top handle etc.) is classic and if it suits your lifestyle needs. There are plenty of cheap vintage luxury bags in the marketplace for sale. Many are priced lower as the style of the bag is outdated. Do not settle for an ugly or ill-suited bag because the low price point is appealing.
Condition v Price. This is probably the most important consideration. The sweet spot is finding a bag that is in good condition at a reasonable price point. There are plenty of shades of grey, so here are the main points to consider:
If a bag is a current-season style, consider the condition and price of the preloved bag relative to purchasing new. If the preloved bag has wear but is only slightly cheaper than a new bag, The Daily Luxe recommends purchasing new. Purchasing new gives you the benefit of the manufacturer warranty (and the undeniable buzz of being the first owner!)
If a preloved bag has noticeable defects (e.g. colour transfer), irreparable damage (e.g. torn canvas) or damage which is expensive to remedy (e.g. replacing vachetta) … walk away! You will either be unable to repair the damage or the cost to repair will be too expensive relative to the bag’s residual market value. Do not over-capitalise! If the defects bother you, it is best to leave it and move on.
If a preloved bag is in good condition and this is reflected in the price… Buy it! You’ve got a good deal. If a bag is rare, the preloved purchase price will be higher. If it is in good condition, it is still a good deal… Buy it!
Then there is the Mecca of preloved purchasing… when you find a bag in good fundamental condition with only minor repairable damage, and this is reflected in the price. It may just require the leather or interior to be cleaned, a drawstring replaced or tarnish marks to be polished off. Make the most of the previous owners laziness (or lack of restoration confidence)… Buy it and run! Then celebrate.
Collection enhancing. Before you buy a preloved handbag, consider if it will enhance your collection. There is no need to buy a third Neverfull GM because the price is appealing. Think about what you already have in your wardrobe and the gaps in your collection you wish to fill. Buy a preloved bag that affords you both variety and versatility.
The miscellaneous. Before you buy a preloved bag, consider what you are actually getting. Is anything missing from a full set? And if the answer is yes, this should be reflected in the price.
- Does it have a dust bag?
- Does it come with its lock AND key?
- Does it come with its shoulder strap?
- Does it include the original packaging (box, shopping bag)
Also consider import duties when purchasing outside Australia.
- Does the purchase price fall under the $1000 duty free threshold?
- If the purchase price is over $1000, does the extra 15% (5% customs duty and 10% GST) significantly impact your view on value?
These are not hard and fast rules, but things you need to consider when weighing up whether or not to buy a particular preloved luxury handbag.
If you still do not feel confident enough to source a preloved or vintage luxury bag yourself, The Daily Luxe offers a procurement service. The Boss Lady is happy to source one for you and help take some of the guesswork out of this process.