Tips For Buying Vintage and Pre-Loved Items

Sometimes there’s no merit in spending an extortionate amount of money on just one designer product, when you can buy it pre-loved for half the original retail price.

While some of us might cringe at the thought of buying something that’s already been used before, you can really bag-a-bargain if you know where and how to look for one.

If you need some help making your first pre-loved purchase, then the following tips will really help you out.

RELATED: Jess Stein of Tuula Vintage for The Iconic

Be realistic

First rule of buying something on the internet; if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. This goes for any times that claim to be in ‘brand new’ condition but look more like damaged goods.

An item which retails at over $2000 won’t be selling for 1/4 of the original amount, unless of course it’s a fake.


There are a number of different websites which will authenticate your products free of charge. Although this offer only stands for current sales (not stock images saved to your computer), they are a good indication if something is authentic or not. Even though they might not be official sales associates, they know enough to spot a fake from a mile away.


Use certified websites which will take back your order (or exchange it) if you are not completely satisfied. This could be anything from a faulty chain, a broken zipper, or sometimes the item is not fit for resale. Take a number of pictures with natural light, and email customer service as soon as you can.


If you’re buying from a seller off eBay, always take into consideration their past feedback. If they have none at all (aka they’re a new seller) this is almost always a major red flag. Only purchase from sellers that seem reputable, and use PayPal to have your money protected in case of fraud.


The cost of an item is a big indicator of its quality. Items which sell close to their retail price are usually in mint condition, and hardly ever used.

Always ask for a number of photos from different angles, and request close-up shots of straps, zippers, and plated metals to see how the wear and tear is holding up.


While the seller might offer a signature upon delivery, always ask for a courier service. They are guaranteed to make their way to your doorstep, but take only a few days so you don’t have to worry about your package losing its way. Paying that extra bit of money will give you peace of mind.


If you are thinking about buying a vintage item, don’t expect the quality to be as brand new. For an item to quality as vintage, it needs to be more than 30 years old – so the leather might be a little worn in!

Again, stick with a reputable website which will inform you of the exact quality of the item, and provides you with that extra protection if something does go wrong. Websites such as Farfetch have a vintage section for those who want to collect designer pieces, but they do come with a heavier price tag.

Have you had any problems with buying pre-loved items?

Image via Vintage Pics

February 27, 2015

Tips For Buying Pre-Loved Designer Items

Saving up for a luxury designer bag, wallet or even a much-coveted piece of clothing can take months or possibly years since buying brand new is so expensive. Pre-loved items are all over the internet and with many Sydney-based boutiques offering a piece of luxury at the fraction of the original cost price. Make sure the item ticks a few important boxes as mentioned below, before splurging an entire month’s pay.


If you choose to buy online, most descriptions of the item will state whether it is in good, as new or mint condition (which is quite rare). The number one rule about buying pre-loved items is that you shouldn’t expect them to be in brand new condition. The leather will most likely be worn-in, expect a few minor scratches on the item and of course the bag or accessory won’t look like it does in store.

Look out for any major scratches, plate loss (gold hardware turning silver), and how worn-in the leather may be for these accessories.


The number one problem most people have about buying pre-loved designer items is the issue of authenticity. Some items may not come in their original packaging but might be presented in their dust bag or with an authenticity card. If you’re buying the item from a recycled clothing store or even a website specialising in pre-loved designer items, rest easy knowing that these items have been through an intense process to determine whether or not they are suitable to be resold again.

Websites such as The Purse Forum allow users to sign up and post pictures of an item they’re interested in purchasing, then experienced moderators can determine whether a product is authentic or not. This is a great option if you’re buying online and have enough time to have a third party check out the item.


Depending on what you’re buying, some items may seem to be expensive even though they claim to be pre-loved. This usually comes down to their demand and how much the item is still coveted. Chanel bags are a great example since it is very rare to find a pre-loved item which is under $1500 and in good condition. If you do come across an item which is very cheap; if it’s too good to be true it probably is.


It is important to observe as many pictures as you can of the item before going ahead and buying it. Take into consideration how big the item is, if it’s your size and ask for measurements just to be extra safe. In regards to accessories, avoid buying the item without a clear picture of the bag (or if the seller is using a stock image). Definitely ask for images of the date code, heat stamp, finish of the leather, hardware and general stitching of the item. Most reputable websites will give you all this information without hesitation, but if you’re buying off an independent seller it is crucial to understand this all before buying.

Additional suggestions

  • Take a look at the returns policy of the seller or store in which you are buying from. Make sure you have a back-up plan if the sale falls through, and you are making the payment through Paypal which will keep you protected.
  • If you choose to buy online, use reputable sellers such as Fashionphile, Yoogi’s Closet, Reebonz and Malleries. These sites have sold thousands of handbags and will offer you complete support if there is a problem with the sale.
  • Compare photos to make sure the product isn’t a fake. This can help with intricate details such as comparing seams, font, hardware, heat stamp, authenticity cards, and the overall look of the item.

Image via The Style Spotter

By Felicia Sapountzis

July 5, 2014