The thought process needed for buying used designer bags is a lot like shopping for a new (used) car. Hear us out. City dwellers, like myself, rely on the contents of their bag to ensure they’re prepared for whatever the day has in store. This requires a sturdy design that is both suited for your lifestyle and aesthetically pleasing — something that, much like with automobiles, can very rarely be found in one sitting. In other words, if you wouldn’t rush to buy something you rely as heavily on as a car without doing your research and peeling back the surface, then why commit to a gently-worn designer bag that's bound to rack up some miles of its own, without shopping around first?
Charmia Elam, the owner of vintage luxury e-boutique Mauve Co. advises readers to practice patience. “Remember [secondhand] shopping can be a marathon,” she tells NYLON. “It’s not always a sprint and sometimes you will automatically be drawn to an item. In other instances it will take time to find exactly what you want.”
Arguably the most desired category of the resale market, secondhand bags continue to grow in popularity. For fashion archivist Yuri Carter, this phenomenon has a lot to do with the industry’s penchant for nostalgia. “There is a huge emphasis on referencing and honoring the past right now that has shown up in fashion with secondhand buying,” says the Atlanta-based expert. (But only after citing access, or the lack thereof, as a key factor that most don’t take into consideration.) “Consignment and resale allow [customers] to obtain a bag that is not only affordable, but an elusive gem that stands out in the world of sponsored content and hype culture.”
As the founder of pre-loved fashion destination and authentication services Yuri’s Market, Carter knows a thing or two about finding the best of the best. At the top of her short list of tips for shoppers is research, first and foremost, to help you understand what you’re looking for and reduce the chances of getting duped. Thankfully, there are a good number of options when it comes to ensuring authenticity, which, for most, includes a handful of celeb-approved websites for all things vintage.
Rebag, Fashionphile, and Vestiaire Collective are just a few of the go-to hotspots for editors and influencers to secure their new secondhand designer bag. With detailed breakdowns of each bag's condition and its inventory of powerhouse brands to choose from, it’s easy to see why. From Hermès to Prada and everything in between, secondhand retailers' offerings are extensive yet always in line with the trends, thanks to an assortment of curated edits. On instances when you know what you want, but aren’t sure how the brand in question will stand the test of time, well, there’s something for that, too. Enter: Rebag’s 2020 Clair Report, a digital deep-dive into consumer habits for what the retailer calls “radical transparency” to allow customers to make an informed purchase.
Whether you want a sleek, everyday style or are on the hunt for a designer-name grail, here are 9 of the best places to start your search.
Where To Buy Used Designer Handbags: Rebag
One of the things that sets Rebag apart from its competitors is its dedication to what they call “radical transparency.” Using its “Clair” data (which is short for comprehensive luxury appraisal index for resale), the company is all about revealing the most popular (and profitable) bag brands on the market in order to help shoppers understand the value of their purchase. Plus, you’ll get a chance to see what styles hold the best ROI, too.
Where to Buy Used Designer Handbags: Vestiaire Collective
Based in Paris, Vestiaire Collective was founded in the peak of e-commerce innovation as a one-stop shop for all things secondhand luxury, including a diverse edit of handbags. It’s also worth mentioning that you could likely shop the closets of your favorite influencers and celebs. Vestiaire Collective's unique approach to secondhand shopping uses celebrity sales with proceeds often being donated to charity.
Where to Buy Used Designer Handbags: Yuri’s Market
For those who know exactly what you’re looking for, Yuri’s Market has a few different shopping services available. The highly anticipated drops, which are usually teased on the brand’s social media accounts, are chock-full of classic Jean Paul Gaultier and Vivienne Westwood. Aside from perusing the products that live on the e-commerce site, you also have the option to commission help and request something be sourced specifically for you.
Where to Buy Used Designer Handbags: Fashionphile
While the offering at Fashionphile strikes the perfect balance between tried-and-true classics and trendy must-haves, it’s the company’s trade-in Refresh program that seals the deal. If you purchase one of the authenticated handbags from Fashionphile, you have the option to sell the items for either a portion of your money back or store credit to buy something else — your choice. This may be the best route for a shopper whose style is constantly evolving.
Where to Buy Used Designer Handbags: Farfetch
Known best for its trendy designer runway pieces, the luxury e-commerce website has a “pre-owned” section that’s worth perusing. With inventory that dates back to some of fashion’s most memorable eras, it’s one of the first places you should look if you’re hunting down something out of the ordinary. The handbag category in particular is stocked with the Hermès Kelly in almost any variation you can think of, as well as countless "It" bags from seasons past.
Where to Buy Used Designer Handbags: EBay
One of the trickier sites to navigate for used bags is EBay, so be sure to check this site out once you’ve done substantial research. (That means understanding unique selling points, key details, and brand signatures.) This will come in handy when combing through pages and pages of product as you try to determine the authenticity of your finds. However, once you have a list of reputable sellers in your arsenal, your network will only continue to expand — and so will your buying options.
Where to Buy Used Designer Handbags: The Luxury Closet
Founded in Dubai, The Luxury Closet or cleverly nicknamed TLC, houses more 16,000 pre-loved designer items on their website, including bags from the likes of Prada, Gucci, and Chanel. Just be sure to review the rather detailed product descriptions to get a feel for the condition, measurements, and fabrication before adding your find to cart.
Where to Buy Used Designer Handbags: Luxury Garage Sale
If you’re not yet familiar with Luxury Garage Sale, the name pretty much speaks for itself. The company was founded back in 2011 and has been bringing its customers a highly curated collection of pre-loved vintage ever since. With new styles being uploaded daily, you have the option to shop online or at one of its two brick-and-mortar locations in Chicago or Dallas, if you live in the area.
Where to Buy Used Designer Handbags: What Goes Around Comes Around
There’s a good chance you’ve seen What Goes Around Comes Around all over Instagram. More famously known as WGACA, the luxury vintage company has famous fans like Kim Kardashian, as well as younger sister Kylie Jenner, who have both acquired an impressive vintage handbag collection over the years. Brands on WGACA's roster include Chanel, Dior, and Hermès (to name a few).