Published 21 November 2014 ● Last Updated on 6 April 2021
It’s a girl’s dream to have a selection of designer handbags stashed away in her wardrobe just waiting to perfectly accessorise a favorite outfit. But when the cost of a Prada tote is comparable to a plane ticket to a far-off destination, it’s difficult to justify such a luxury. But don’t despair – if you are willing to put your girl-on-a-mission hat on and prepare for a journey to the secondhand branded bag (pre-loved as I like to call it) world then that beautiful Prada tote could still one day be yours. A good quality bag can last a lifetime and with some care, attention and the right accessories, a pre-loved Prada or a secondhand Hermes can be given a new lease of life.
Remember though, it’s a dangerous world out there and whether you are buying your used luxury bag online or from a secondhand store, buying used doesn’t always come with the same guarantees as buying the item new.
The two most important aspects to look out when buying an expensive branded bag (yes, they are still not exactly cheap!) secondhand are:
1) Is the bag a fake?
2) Is it in good condition with many years of life left?
So, here are my tips to ensure you get the designer bag you deserve.
At the outset, try to go into a shop that sells the brand you are interested in. Have a good feel of the materials and the weight, check out the labels and details such as the lining, the stitching and any printed patterns. Make sure you really understand the quality of an original designer bag before you decide to buy one secondhand.
Spot the fake
Second, spot the fake. There are many tell-tale signs that the bag is not original. Apart from a difference in the quality of materials, check out details such as the spelling. Is it a Gucci or Guccie, a Prada or a Pradar? Many fakes will have a slightly different name that sometimes can be overlooked. Look at the stitching and the labels. A good quality handbag will always have real stitches with no signs of glue, rubber or any other synthetic materials. Also any metal labels or tags will never be discolored with signs of rusting.
Check the condition
Once you are convinced that the bag is an original, check its condition. Remember the better the condition of the bag the longer it will take pride of place in your wardrobe. Generally check over the leather or material, looking out for cracking and scuff marks. Check the stitching to see if there is any damage or loose threads. Make sure any clasps or zips are still working and have not become damaged over the years.
Finally, smell it, does it have a serious odor that will follow you around every time you use it or is there just a faint smell of perfume evident of its previous life.
So there we have it, check it’s not a fake, check the condition and if it ticks all the boxes and it’s at a good price, congratulate yourself on finding a perfect pre-loved handbag and start planning your outfit.