Still thinking about that limited-edition luxury handbag you missed out on five years ago? Carrying around a guilty conscience from splurging on last season's it-bag that you've only used a handful of times? Looking for a great investment piece that will stand the test of time? Or wanting to buy less, but buy better? Let me introduce you to the wonderful world of pre-loved designer bags.
It feels like every recent catwalk collection contains at least a nugget of nostalgia—or in the cases of Miu Miu and Fendi, a no-holds-barred Y2K throwback—giving you full permission (not that it is needed) to abandon your tendencies toward the ‘next big thing’. Instead, try embracing the reigning designer buys of times gone by.
There's a multitude of benefits that come with shopping secondhand; not only are you making the sustainable choice and giving forgotten goods a new lease of life, but you're putting your initial excitement over a design you've seen on Instagram and impulsively added to your basket to the test.
Find every brand from Saint Laurent to Chanel and Bottega Veneta to Celine on some of my favourite pre-loved sites.
You're also more likely to wind up with something unique. There's a certain exclusivity to owning a ten-year-old handbag, which you probably won't spot on a passer-by en route to work. “Nothing quite compares to the thrill of finding an amazing pre-loved bag or limited-edition vintage style,” explains Ceanne Fernandes-Wong, CEO and founder of luxury subscription service COCOON.
But where to start? With thousands of handbags on COCOON and similar sites, whittling it down to the right one for you can be overwhelming. If you want your designer bag to feel like an investment that you'll wear forever and potentially pass down to the next generation, Fernandes-Wong has some suggestions. “Core ranges from classic heritage brands like Chanel, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton have enduring appeal and have proven to never go out of style.” More of a trend-led shopper? Just because these bags are secondhand, that doesn't mean they're passé. “Recently, we've seen renewed interest in noughties fashion, which has led to a surge in demand for bags like the Dior Saddle, the Fendi Baguette and monogram Pochettes from Louis Vuitton" explains Fernandes-Wong.
See for yourself—I've treated myself to a lengthy stint sifting through some of the best resale platforms, hunting down the most special pieces available now. Yep, staring at beautiful designer bags for hours on end is just as fun as it sounds. Scroll down to the best second-hand designer bags available right now.
1. COCOON CLUB
COCOON operates on a subscription basis; sign up to a plan and enjoy access to a different designer bag every month. But, this pre-loved handbag platform also has a resale section, so if you've landed on a style you think is worth investing on, you might just find it here. COCOON assesses the condition and grades them for you—most of their bags are either A or B, meaning ‘very good’ or ‘good’ respectively.
According to COCOON's CEO, this is one of the bags they repeatedly see fly. In other words, don't expect it to hang around for long.
2. VESTIAIRE COLLECTIVE
Paris-based company Vestiaire Collective offers a platform for people to sell on their unused designer buys. Fear not—every item is quality controlled before it hits the site. And hey, if you buy a handbag and find you're not reaching for it regularly enough, you can always return to Vestiaire to re-sell it down the line.
3. THE LUXURY CLOSET
You can expect everything from lightly-used Cartier jewellery to good-as-new Gucci loafers on The Luxury Closet, but we're most taken with the vast handbag collection. Similar to Vestiaire, this is a platform for designer fashion aficionados to buy and sell goods—all of which go through an authentification process, so you can relax and shop without worry.
You might already head to Farfetch for all your new-season wardrobe heroes and investment buys, but did you know what it also has a pre-loved section on the site? Along with a glorious collection of bags, you can also find pre-loved watches, dresses and other accessories.