How to buy pre-loved designer bags like a pro

Designer arm candy can be an expensive hobby. Many can save for a long time and invest in their dream bag that they will use forever and keep as best they can. Hermès, Gucci, Prada, Fendi, Chanel, Marc Jacobs, Mulberry, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton, YSL and Christian Dior are some of the most popular high-end brands when it comes to loving labels and invest.

Personally, I like to buy used or “pre-loved” as it’s affectionately called. A lightly worn bag or luggage that looks seasoned and classy is more exciting to me than buying it brand new. To be fair, this preference in most cases is probably a necessary approach considering the price of new items on the market. You can get phenomenal items from 150 euros instead of thousands.

Laura shows off the Fendi bag by Siopaella

If you’re looking to find your dream Vintage bag, here are my top in-store and online locations to explore:

My favorite place to find these designer pieces in Ireland has to be the Designer Exchange. I have purchased Louis Vuitton and Fendi handbags at incredibly reasonable prices. They have a shop on Exchequer St in Dublin, they also have a pop up in Kildare Village. They have an easy to navigate website if you’re looking to shop online for ease that clearly shows your product options in high resolution so you know exactly what you’re buying. Their prices are very reasonable and they have a varied selection. Their Chanel and Louis Vuitton options are particularly fabulous!

Consignment stores like the Designer Exchange are great because if you have a bag you don’t like or want to improve, you can get a quote, an appraisal, revise the offer and get paid! If you’re looking to invest in your dream bag, this can be a smart avenue to get there. My featured purchase from there was a vintage LV buckle bag I bought in 2020. It’s the perfect handle to rest on your arm with bulky coats etc.

Laura wears the Designer Exchange Fendi Art Deco Baguette
Laura wears the Designer Exchange Fendi Art Deco Baguette

Another consignment store that sells so many beautiful bags and luggage (as well as clothes) is Siopaella. I bought a teal and purple Fendi baguette bag for $400 before Christmas and very similar styles from the same period sell for thousands online. It was truly a rare pearl. A few years ago, I purchased some closed toe nude leather Mulberry wedge shoes that I wear so often and cherish. I find that with Siopaella their stock is very varied so if you are boating or are in hunting mode there is wide appeal there. Their website is great for making an offer and then they can come back with a counter offer via email when you shop online. Barter can play an important role in getting a good deal with these types of shopping experiences.

This little Louis Vuitton from Designer Exchange is beautiful
This little Louis Vuitton from Designer Exchange is beautiful

I think Vestiaire Collective is an amazing app for sourcing designer pieces. Authentication is so important when it comes to buying designer items, especially online. They have trusted sellers and verification processes so you can buy and sell coins legitimately without being duped. It’s like a deposit but for anything high end labels. I found a unicorn level case of a Fendi 1950 48 hour case for 330 euros last year, it’s worth taking your time and not being happy when browsing. Great finds take time, it’s a matter of quality not quantity. Condition and brand selection are important for investing in items that do not depreciate in value.

Browsing by seller if you see they have great pieces can be a good way to find the right options. Their earrings/bags/wallets/clothes and other accessories are truly unique. The one thing about shopping abroad you need to keep in mind is tax and expenses, so make sure you know where you’re shopping from to ensure you take the stress out of unexpected costs.

I would recommend downloading the app if you can, but you can find their website here:

Ebay and Etsy can also be brilliant, but start by looking at places that have simple authentication policies in place. Good shopping!