Admit it. You’ve been tempted. How could you not be? When £2K seems to the going rate for an everyday work tote or the school-run cross body, it’s no wonder companies like Vestiaire Collective are so popular. Even the sellers on eBay have upped their game significantly in recent years.
But how do you know what condition its really in, if the seller has been transparent about the wear and tear and what’s fixable versus hopeless? Unless, you’re eating and breathing this everyday like us, why would ever know these things?
We thought it might be helpful to give you a few short tips to help take out some of the guess work.
Top three tips:
1. At the risk of sounding boring, go for black leather. It can be dyed or painted, smoothed or re-grained, holes can be filled and scratches buffed. It’s the most restorable material and colour there is.
2. Pay attention to shape. Let’s face it, many designer bags aren’t meant to stand up to the myriad of things you’ll put that bag through and one the key things we put our bags through is excess weight. Tempted to load the large Givenchy Antigona? Think again. We have a few techniques but they are limited in efficacy. Generally, a bag bent, collapsed or stretched from improper storage or carrying too much will struggle to regain their shape. Look closely for small signs (e.g. collapsing corners, strange folds) that inevitably indicate larger damage.
3. Always ask the seller questions and for more pictures. They will naturally put up the best photos and obfuscate damage but the more you ask for, the truer state of the item will emerge. In particular, ask for up-close photos of the corners, the bottom, the handles (discolouration for hand oils, make up etc) and the lining. Also ask the seller what the “story” is behind the bags. “What was it used for and for how long” is a good all-encompassing question. “What am I going to be surprised about when this bag arrives” is another.
While there are many more pointers we could coach you through - like why to avoid patent leather - we hope this is a good starter-for-ten. If you are considering a pre-loved purchase, feel free to get in touch and we’ll give you our thoughts.