3 Tips for Buying Used Handbags

Wow long time no post…let’s just say real life sometimes gets in the way of doing fun things! Recently to unwind from all this “real life” stuff I decided to treat myself to some well deserved purse shopping. I’m in the process of saving for a bigger bag purchase but did want a few bags to freshen up my wardrobe for the spring/summer season. In an effort to save some dollar bills I went to my local consignment store to pick up some new fun bags. Vintage/used shopping can be risky so below you’ll find my top tips for buying aged.

Smell the Bag

So you may think this is kind of a crazy tip but trust me. If the bag smells like moth-balls it isn’t going away anytime soon. Also if a bag smells really bad it probably isn’t that clean and you may not want to take it home. During my recent haul I spotted the yellow Kate Spade (above right) and literally fell in love BUT before I bought it I smelled it. It smelled a little musty but nothing out of the ordinary, so I decided to take it home. If for some reason you do find a bag you love and it is a little dank smelling, you can always seal it in a plastic bag with a few dryer sheets, this usually does the trick!

Do some Stealth eBay-ing

For sometime I’ve been wanting a vintage Coach. Personally I think the reissues the brand has been doing of their classics really haven’t been stacking up so I knew I’d have to buy used to get what I wanted. When I found the Coach bag (above left) it was priced for $45. I couldn’t remember if this was a fair price so I actually stepped outside for a few minutes and did some quick eBay searching. Doing this while shopping is a great way to negotiate with the seller of the item if you’re in store and the best way to find out if the price is reasonable – no one wants to get taken for a ride. After doing some quick searching I found that Coach bags similar to this one in the same condition retailed online for about ~$60 to $80, so I knew that negotiating was probably out of the question and that I was at least getting a fair price. My rule of thumb is unless its from a famous French design house where you aren’t getting a discount any day of the week, make sure you don’t pay full price.

Check it Once, Twice, Thrice

Finally, I cannot stress this one enough CHECK THE BAG OVER ONE MILLION TIMES! If you buy from consignment, vintage, or thrift store chances are returns are no go. I know from the particular seller I purchased these bags from – all sales were final unless I bought with consignment credits (which I don’t have). That said made sure everything is in good working order. Main things to check are:

  • Seams around the bag and strap
  • Zippers, do they work or easily opened
  • Any major structural issues? Vintage Coach bags are going to have wear but if you put a wallet in it, and it falls out…you may want to put it back.

All told I spend about $75 (yes you are doing the math right and that Kate Spade bag is the find of the century) and so happy with my new bags. While happy about my bargain, I’m most excited to start my own history with them!



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