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5 Tips in Buying Your First Vintage Luxury Handbag

July 11, 2017 4 min read

Have you ever heard the adage "old is the new trend?" In the world of fashion, there's truth to this. In fact, vintage is coming back like it's here to stay.
If you are a lover of all things vintage, you may already have been saving for your first vintage Hermes Kelly or Chanel Classic flap bag. These iconic vintage luxury handbags are just a few of the timeless fashion pieces every luxury-lover should own. But buying one, like any other luxury purchase, requires serious investment. Luckily, luxury consignment stores make it possible for fashion-lovers on a budget to score vintage designer bags for less.

 Chanel colorblock handbag in neutral black and white adds a minimalist vibe to vintage. 

Understandably, it can get a little nerve-wracking to purchase your first vintage luxury designer handbag. How do you spot the fake from the real? How much is paying too much even for a pre-loved designer handbag? Can you return it in case you have shopper's remorse? These are only a few of the nagging questions you might be asking as you consider your first-ever vintage luxury handbag purchase.
So how do you ease the worries of vintage luxury shopping? Here are five tips to help you happily bring home your first-ever vintage designer handbag:

1. Do your research.

When it comes to a luxury purchase, it pays to do your due diligence. Research online the history of iconic bags you are planning to purchase. Each piece has a history and soul to it, making it more valuable beyond just its hefty-priced brand name.

By researching each of these iconic bag's history, you'll gain a better appreciation not only of their classic beauty but also of their enduring value.

 Step into the bold side with this red Louis VuittonMalesherbes leather bag.

For instance, it's been said that Louis Vuitton's "Speedy" bagwas born after the iconic beauty and Hollywood darling, Aubrey Hepburn, asked the brand to create a scaled-down version of the enormous "Keepall" travel bag. This eventually gave birth to the upscale and trusted day bag.

We have heard of how Hermes created the highly loved Kelly bag, inspired after the royal beauty of Grace Kelly, but did you know how exactly the Birkin bag was born?

2. Expect slight wear and tear. 

Because you are buying vintage, you should expect that the handbag would show a little sign of wear and tear. Obviously, you need to steer away from anything with rips, cracks in the leather or broken hardware. Unless you are buying online, inspect the handbag very closely before buying. Ultimately though, be realistic with your expectations when deciding to shop in a luxury consignment store. While "good as new" finds are possible, many pre-loved finds will likely show some age.

In its signature quilted leather, this Chanel crossbody is as functional as it is classic.

3. Look up the handbag's original price and determine how much you are willing to pay.

In order to determine the right value of a vintage purse, find out how much the handbag originally cost. By having it as your baseline for price point, you will be able to determine the worth and value of a vintage luxury handbag.

Be ready to spend though. While pre-loved designer handbags are expectedly cheaper than buying a new one, they could still be at 50 to 70 percent of the original cost. For example, the pre-loved Chanel crossbody bag featured above costs $1,199.99 at, which is not exactly loose change but more affordable than buying a comparable new Chanel bag that could easily cost $4,000.

This Chanel suede brown bag adds elegance to any after-six ensemble.  

4. Inquire about return policies.

As with any purchase, it's best to know in advance a retailer's return policy. Given that buying a vintage luxury handbag is an investment in itself, you want to make sure you covered all bases before you purchase. Most luxury consignment shops have a "final sale" policy, but a few stores, including, offer a 30-day return policy.

5. Educate yourself on how to spot fake from real.

With so many cheap knock-offs in the market today, it takes a trained eye to spot the real thing. For this reason, it's very important to educate yourself on the tell-tale signs of a cheap knock-off. For instance, authentication experts often suggest you closely inspect the overall craftsmanship. Pay attention to the materials, hallmark stamps and hardware as high-end designer bags often use only high-quality materials. If the materials (e.g. plastic, vinyl, etc.) seem cheap relative to the price point, you may want to investigate further.

When in doubt, it is wise to consult an expert to help you authenticate a vintage luxury handbag. Companies like and www.purseforum.comoffer free authentication services.

For paid authentication services, you may visit:

Still apprehensive about buying your first vintage luxury handbag? Contact us with any questions you may have about authentication or brand information, we are here to help!

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