5 Tips for Buying Pre-Owned Designer Handbags

Kara Ferguson Beauty and Style Blogger Off-the-shoulder top - Politics of Pretty

Aside from my love for beauty products, I also have an affinity for designer handbags. If you keep up with designer fashion then you know that Chanel is the mecca of all designer handbags (other than Hermes). Over the last few years, I’ve slowly acquired beautiful timeless bags and it’s become a hobby of mine.

Not too long ago I made a groundbreaking purchase—without breaking the bank. It almost sounds too good to true but I bought my first Chanel bag—a classic quilted lambskin wallet on chain— for just a fraction of the retail price.

While I’ve always daydreamed of walking into a Chanel boutique, trying on some handbags and walking out with the iconic bag of my choice in its beautiful gift wrap, I never could fathom paying thousands of dollars for a handbag (unless I win the lottery or something). Instead, I opted to buy my first Chanel WOC pre-owned through a luxury designer reseller website… and it was the best decision I made.

Have you been eyeing a designer handbag lately but can’t seem to justify its retail price? You may want to consider buying a pre-loved version of your dream bag. I had such a great experience that I thought it would be helpful to share some tips for buying pre-owned luxury handbags and avoid some of the mistakes I *almost* made along the way.

Louis Vuitton crossbody bag

Stella McCartney Metallic Vegan Leather Tote

Take your time.

Don’t rush to buy an expensive handbag (whether its new or preowned). I’ve been researching designers, bag types and prices since last November. While I certainly get excited making splurge purchases on a whim, this was one purchase I didn’t want to rush.

Make sure you’re buying from a reputable seller

There are so many e-retailers selling pre-owned designer bags, so be skeptical. Here’s a list of some reputable authenticated luxury consignment websites worth checking out: The RealReal, Fashionphile, Vestiaire Collective, Yoogi’s Closet, Tradesy, Trendlee, Snobswap, and Bluefly.

Check return and authentication policies.

Which brings me to my next tip—do your research. Buying pre-owned handbags online can be overwhelming but buying pre-owned and not being able to return it sounds like a case of buyer’s remorse, and that’s the worst kind of feeling. I found that most sites are final sale unless the bag is deemed inauthentic. If they do have a return policy, you only have a limited amount of time to return the bag (and sometimes they don’t cover shipping costs).

Find out the actual retail price of the bag.

If the bag is hard to find, it’s very possible you’ll see a significant markup and if that’s the case, you might as well purchase brand new. Last summer, I purchased a Louis Vuitton SLG (small leather good) and was so pleased with my purchase… until I realize I had been duped! Turns out that SLG retailed for less brand new than what I had paid for preowned. I contacted the seller directly and even though they didn’t have to give me a refund, they were kind enough to still do it.

When you find your dream bag—check other resale websites before you checkout.

So here’s a little fun fact: When I first spotted my Chanel WOC on SnobSwap, I thought I was getting a pretty good deal because the seller was offering a 15% discount. The discount code was TRENDLEE (and I thought that sounds like a familiar site), so I checked out Trendlee and sure enough, there it was. The same bag with the same serial code, and sure enough it was priced LESS than what I saw on SnobSwap. Plus Trendlee was offering 5% off my first purchase AND because they were reselling on SnobSwap the sale was final. On Trendlee, that same bag had a 2-day return policy (not the best, but better than SnobSwap).

I hope you found these tips for buying pre-owned designer handbags helpful! I’d love to hear your feedback on this post and if you would like to see more fashion and style related posts!

Do you have tips for buying pre-owned designer handbags? I’d love to hear about your experience with shopping for pre-loved goods online.