I have really started to love collecting vintage bags – I love the unique designs and silhouettes of vintage purses.
Chanel purses, especially vintage Chanel purses, are also made from different (sometimes superior) materials so not only is the quality better, the price is usually better as well. There is also a bit more incentive to buy vintage Chanel purse because Chanel prices just keep on rising every year. Did you know that the price of a classic flap in jumbo has increased almost 100% in just 5 years? Ouch. So why wouldn’t you go for a vintage Chanel purse?
Here are my top tips for buying authentic and affordable vintage Chanel purses:
1. Understand styles and sizes
The first step to getting an authentic designer item is to generally understand the sizes, colors, and styles of Chanel purses. Chanel purses generally came in three fabric types: caviar leather, lambskin leather, and tweed (seasonal design). A limited edition may come out in a special fabric (e.g. a sequin design, neoprene, etc.), but otherwise, that is it. Chanel purses also come in standard sizes. The classic flap comes in mini, Medium/large, jumbo, and maxi while the reissue flap comes in 226, 227, and 228 – each size is progressively larger. Understand the size and fabric that works for your lifestyle and body type. Also understand the types of authenticity cards and hologram cards to look for – not all bags may come with them and yes, these may also be faked, but they help in determining the age and condition of your bag. This guide provides a quick primer of what to look for in evaluating a pre-owned Chanel purse.
2. Buy from a well reputed online seller
Now that you generally know the type of purse you are looking for – it’s time to have fun and start looking! Online shopping is simply the most convenient form of shopping for many of us. I simply adore leisurely browsing through pictures in my pajamas. While I may lose out on touching and feeling the item, I do my research and only check out well reputed resellers and stores.
My top resellers of Chanel goodies are:
- The Real Real
- Portero Luxury
- Ann’s Fabulous Finds
- Authentic Bags for Less
- Yoogi’s Closet
- Decades Inc.
I’ve also spoken about my love for the Purse Forum Market Plaza before. I bought my first Chanel purse through the Chanel sub-forum. This by application forum provides a treasure trove of luxury goods and is one of my favorite places to shop. Unfortunately, it is a bit harder to get access now, but keep trying or let me know if I can help! My favorite auction sites are eBay and Bonanza. Check this link for a list of well regarded eBay sellers and of course spread the word if you’ve bought a purse from a great seller.
3. Buy from a consignment or goodwill store in a great neighborhood (or online!)
Consignment stores are essentially boutiques of another lady’s fabulous goodies. The consignment store has the benefit of collecting and combining quality pre-owned (sometimes even new) goods and then pays a percentage of the proceeds to owners. Consignment stores may have certain quality standards and you will find that some carry pristine apparel and accessories. I went to a few in Paris and fingered the most gorgeous Chanel and Hermès purses. Look for renowned consignment stores in your city and also remember to check out goodwill stores as well. I’ve heard stories of women scoring really fabulous finds when someone has come and donated a few choice luxury pieces. The prices will certainly be lower here, but authenticity is for you to decide.
Individual consigners pop up on auction sites and even flash sale sites. My top flash sale sites that have listed authentic Chanel vintage purses are:
4. Shop from friends
Sometimes it pays to have friends with great taste. It is even better when a fashionista friend decides to clean out her closet and you become the lucky recipient! I’ve heard of a friend’s mother selling her vintage Chanel purses and accessories for bargain prices when she decided to purge her closet. I wish I had gone to that sale! Of course a friend or a friend of a friend is a reliable reseller because she knows exactly where she got her goods. Hopefully she can cut you a friend discount too of course!
5. Save up those gift cards
If you’ve scoured the auction sites and resellers and have your eye on a great piece, save up for it. Vintage pieces may be hard to find so more often than not, you should buy it immediately. While you are waiting to find your perfect piece, you can always collect gift cards to the store of your choice so that the final price can be a little lower. Perhaps your good friends can take the hint that you’d just love to shop at a certain store and would definitely use a thoughtful birthday gift there! This can be applied to both vintage and new Chanel purses as well!
6. Scout estate sales and auctions
I have been stalking auctions all over the world for a few choice items. I use Artfact so I am notified when items I am stalking are listed at an auction somewhere. Do your research and buy from a well regarded auction house. The well known auction houses will have in house experts that have checked over the purses and can accurately list its condition and authenticity as well.
What other tips do you have for getting a vintage Chanel purse?