Shopping for vintage or secondhand designer pieces can be tricky enough, let alone when you try to do it online and can't inspect the quality of the pieces up close. However, French resale site Vestiaire Collective makes this process so much easier, thanks to rigorous authenticity checks and the coolest online vintage edit. However, with over 500,000 handbags on the site alone, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. Many street style stars, such as Aimee Song, are Vestiaire sellers, too, so it is a treasure trove of cult sold-out steals and amazing vintage pieces. But just like vintage or secondhand shopping in real life, it can require some sifting to find what you want. Thankfully, there are a number of whizzy tools to make your hunt easier, and we've spoken to Vestiaire's experts for how to navigate the site like a pro.
Whether you're browsing or you're after a specific handbag, scroll below to see the seven golden rules of shopping Vestiaire.
The One That Got Away Function
Ropes of Holland's Loewe bag is from Vestiaire Collective.
"We often have rare and one-off pieces on the site that some people spend years hunting for," explains Fanny Moizant, the co-founder of Vestiaire Collective. "We introduced a function called 'the one that got away' that helps our members track down the pieces that they are looking for, and we encourage members to scroll through this page to see if they have any of the items to sell."
How to See Pieces Before They Go Live
Camille Charrière's Chanel bag is from Vestiaire Collective.
Advises Margaux De Fouchier, head of social media, "Keep an eye on Insta Stories, as we tend to post exciting pieces just before they go online so our followers know what's going to be available before anyone else does. Our main social accounts also feature imagery from style influencers to help inspire. Look out for key pieces highlighted through the #BestofVest hashtag."
The One Item That Is the Safest Investment
Lucy Williams with a Balenciaga basket she found on Vestiaire Collective.
"Vestiaire Collective is a great online destination to shop for investment pieces as well as current-season and trend pieces," adds Marie Blanchet, the site's head of vintage. "If you're looking to invest, my tip would be to buy a Cartier or Rolex vintage watch. The Oyster and Tank models are fairly priced, and they will hold their value well. Either would make a safe investment, as they are the most desirable watches that will never lose appeal."
Look at Measurements Rather Than Sizes
"The vintage edit is curated by experts and features lots of desirable and timeless pieces—you can buy great '80s Alaia leather, '90s Maison Martin Margiela, through to Chanel and Hermès at a very competitive price," says Blanchet. "Do your research before buying preowned online: Read the descriptions carefully, and go through each picture. With vintage especially, you need to pay extra attention to the measurement details, as sizes often don't correspond to sizes we know today. To avoid any disappointment, be sure to ask the seller questions, and request additional pictures of how the clothing is worn to get a good understanding of the item and the condition before buying."
The Longer the Items Have Been on the Site, the Better the Price
Style Snooper Dan
"Never be afraid to browse, and try to view the site like you're hunting for treasure," says Charlie Collins, VIP concierge manager. "The best pieces I've ever found have been through searching the enormous catalogue high and low. Quite often, the longer the items have been on the site, the better the price will be. My best score was a beautiful silk patterned off-the-shoulder gypsy top with a matching skirt from Yves Saint Laurent's 1976 Russian collection." (Swoon.)
Use the "Make Me an Offer" Tool
Emili Sindlev found her Chanel pumps on Vestiaire Collective.
"A tip that people may not know about is the 'make me an offer' tool," says Bay Garnett, Vestiaire's fashion consultant. "You can offer the price that you're willing to pay for an item, and the seller can choose to accept or decline. It's good that you have the option to negotiate, and you can often get the price down."
Set Up Alerts
"There is an alert function on the site that's helpful if you're looking for something specific that's not currently available," says influencer Monikh Dale. "Click on the 'create an alert' button found directly on the item's page. I always set up an alert so I'm notified as soon as the item becomes available. If it is an in-demand item, it is likely to sell quickly, so this tool ensures you're the first to know when it drops."
There are dozens of quilted Chanel bags.