I always get asked about my tips for buying a pre-loved designer bag as I have amassed quite the collection recently. I’m always happy to chat on Instagram (@lucy_earnshaw) too but thought I’d go into a bit more depth on what I’ve learnt this past year or so.

It can be very easy to get caught up in the world of designer goods, beware, there are scams and fakes aplenty in any form of resale market. The other thing to note is financially it can be hard to stop once you’ve secured an item. As my Chanel bag collection proves… I jest but I also can see how easy it could be to go into debt for things and quite frankly, nothing is worth that in the world of designer goods. So here’s my tips for securing the bag, but also avoiding any pitfalls too.

Lucy’s Chanel beige vanity bag on a table

Set a Budget and Research

I think with any big purchase, setting and sticking to a budget is the first key thing. Be realistic with this. You can’t be wanting a Chanel at Chloe prices so determine your budget based on what you can afford, what you want to pay, and what the going rate for the brand and style is. Use that to start to build up ideas on what kind of pre-loved designer bag you can afford.

To give some context to this, Chanel prices can vary due to the style of bag. The classic medium size double flap commands the most money usually, as it’s exactly that, a classic. Classics will hold their value more through time and therefore pre-loved they will be more costly too. Because of this, the Jumbo size of the same style, can often cost less pre-loved as it’s a less desirable size. So consider size options to bring things into budget. The colour will also play a part. Limited colours and classic black will always command higher prices.

TIP: To understand what type of prices you’ll be paying on the pre-loved market, head to online marketplaces like Vestiaire Collective and EBay to see what the bags you like are selling for

Research is key to understanding the market a little, seeing the pros and cons of differing bags and getting to know what’s good value and what’s not! I’d also say do research into the leather finishes the brand you like offers. For example Chanel have quite a few offerings as do Hermes so its good to understand what types there are, how they look and most importantly how durable they are.

Image of the Chanel burgundy castle rock bag

Choose Some Options

Once you’ve got a feel for the market, its time to narrow down your options. Look at what styles you like. Think about practicality- what size do you need on average in a bag? When will you be using it? What type of material do you want it in? What colour? Consider everything and start to make your wish list of possibilities with your budget still in mind.

TIP: Think about how you will wear and use the bag when choosing colours and finishes. What colours do you wear a lot? How can you maximise the usage if its going to be a daily bag?


You can wait forever for the perfect bag at the perfect price in the perfect condition, so compromise can be key. For example, when buying my pre-loved designer bag , the Chanel Coco Handle I’d researched and set a budget. I’d decided on the brand, style and size, but was open on colours as I just wanted something light and summery. My dream would have been the caramel colour, but that was retailing for about £2k more than other light colours I liked. Needless to say, that took me out of budget so I went with the white which I love still!

Close up of Lucy’s white Chanel coco handle bag and pistachio Chanel zip purse

There could be other factors to compromise on, especially if you want you bag quickly or for an occasion. the next main one for me has to be condition. Again this will alter the price you’ll be paying so think about what are deal breakers for you. I was very close to buying a 1982 Hermes Kelly, that had already had a visit to the Hermes bag spa, but its corners were cracking and I couldn’t get past that. On other more affordable bags I’ve compromised and worked on cleaning up them myself. The Havre de Luxe Gentle Foam Cleanser (£11.99) brought up a Chanel Travel Line Tote a treat. Most professional sellers will have done this kind of remedial work but from personal sellers, you may get a bargain if you’re willing to risk the work needed/or put up with the wear.

vintage chanel travel line tote on the beach as sun sets

There’s also official bag spa’s from the brands and also independent bag spa’s that if a bag needs some major work or fixing these can do. Sometimes if a bag has been to an independent bag spa I’m told the official ones then won’t undertake work on the item so worth noting.

Choose your Seller

It’s key once you know what you want (at least roughly!) that you then do the research into the selling platforms you might be buying a pre-loved designer bag from. It’s easy to get drawn into scam sellers so always make sure they are legit before buying. I’ve listed a few of the places I go to, and included their positives and negatives! The key thing is to never buy via Whatsapp (or similar social messaging systems) , always pay via a trusted platform (ie credit card/paypal etc NOT bank transfer) and do the research on who you buy from. When I bought from Bagista I could see they’d been around for a while (2014!), could see their socials, their previously sold items and knew someone who had purchased from them before.

SellerTypePro’sCon’sItems Bought
Vestiaire CollectiveDesigner Online Marketplace+Good Product Choice
+Fees Included
+Authenticates in House
– Higher Prices due to high seller fees
– Authentication not wholly trusted
Bags (Sub £500)
Ebay Online Marketplace+Good Product Choice
+Lower Prices due to lower seller fees
-Fakes more common due to lack of authentication
-Authentication only provided on watches and trainers atm
Blaise Ruby LovesOnline Consignment Store+Very reasonable prices
+Great service and fast despatch
+Enrupty certified for authentication
-Items land on Fridays from 11am. Can sometimes miss out on hot items
-Varied selections so helps to be broader with what you are looking for
Luxury PromiseOnline Consignment Store and London Store+Physical Store to view before buying
+Authenticate and provide their own Authenticity Card at purchase
– Daily drops and live shows means hottest items are snapped up!
-Sometimes the prices are a little pricier than I’d expect to see
Sellier Knightsbridge Online Consignment Store and London Store +Physical Store to view before buying
+Keen to share the fakes they see to help others learn
+Authenticate and provide their own Authenticity Card at purchase
-Showcase new drops on Instagram stores so hottest items are snapped upNothing bought from Sellier as yet
Bagista Online Consignment Store and London Store +Physical Store to view before buying
+Reasonable pricing on some items
+Fast despatch and fab service
-Again can have items snapped up before they’ve hit the website

Avoiding Fakes

There’s so many ways to fake so many bags and people can get badly burnt on this. Because of this, I always try and ensure I do everything I can to check an item before buying it. Recently Sellier shared a story of someone who had bought a fake Hermes Kelly for a 4/5 figure sum. That burns. To avoid this, research markings like date stamps, colours, previous collections etc. Does the date, colour and style match when the internet says it was released? Do the common ‘faults’ on fakes all pass the real test? Is the proof of purchase included? (Is that real!?) If you’re using a trusted consignment store who provide authentication then you shouldn’t need to worry.

However as proven with Vestiaire Collective saying something real was fake (and I’m sure the other way around too!) there can be discrepancies! Things can slip through the net, even with some consignment stores, if the stories are true. To err is human as they say. If you’re not sure when something arrives you can get things authenticated via the internet, I’ve never done this but I’m told places like The Handbag Clinic and Love Luxury offer this type of service.

Always be considered and remember, if something is too good to be true, it usually is. I hope that this post has given you some information, and that because of it its helped avoid any pitfalls when buying a pre-loved designer bag.

*Post contains some affiliate links. Please read my disclaimer for more information. Always do your research before buying pre-loved bags linked on platforms here have not been thoroughly researched.