Sometimes, you just don’t have a few grand lying around to buy that Louis Vuitton of your dreams. A great designer handbag is a joy and an investment, but they aren’t always feasible if you’re on a budget. After all, there are splurges and then there are splurges.
But if you’re trying to ball on a budget, have no fear! You can still get the bag of your dreams if you consider pre-owned bags. It’s all the quality and style of a designer bag but without the sticker shock.
If you can look past the lack of glory you get for getting an in-season designer bag, and you’re okay with a bag that’s not in pristine condition, used bags are a great way to get a designer bag, especially if you’re new to the luxury handbag game or just trying to keep a tight grip on your money.
Here are some tips to you started as you go hunting for your dream bag.
Know How to Spot Knock-Offs
The worst-case scenario with used bags is paying a premium for a knockoff bag. Aside from just being a shady thing to do, selling a knockoff at designer prices (even used!) is the worst sin in the consignment bible.
Know the signs of a knock off before you go shopping to spare yourself some heartache. Does the bag have plastic parts where they should be leather? Is the bag branded on the inside? Is the logo centered? Are the zippers and hardware high quality? Are the straps cut straight?
These are all things to look for when you’re shopping.
A good way to avoid the risk of buying a knockoff is to find a seller that specializes in used designer goods. They’ll verify the bag for you to make sure you’re not getting scammed. You’ll pay more than you would if you were hunting through thrift stores, but there’s no risk that you’re going to get cheated.
Score With Secondhand Stores
A riskier but cheaper route is to go to thrift stores and online retailers like Craigslist and Ebay. You can find some killer deals this way. Because places like Salvation Army and Goodwill will often not realize what they have, they may price it the same as other handbags or mark it up only marginally compared to its worth, so you can find some rock-bottom prices on bags.
This route requires patience though, so be prepared to hunt!
You can also find some good deals through online retailers, but be careful. There’s no way to verify that what you’re getting is authentic, so ask for photos of the branding and the details with proof that the pictures are authentic. Consider asking them to photograph it with today’s newspaper, for example.
Just because you’re buying second hand does not mean that you should snap up the first deal you find just because it’s cheap. That’s a great way to carry around a bag just for the prestige of the name and without considering what you actually want out of a purse.
Don’t get caught up in the exhilaration of finding a great deal and ending up with a bag that is not your taste or just plain ugly.