Fashion | 20th May 2020

Tips for Buying Designer Handbags Online

Over the last five years my designer handbag collection has grown to 20+ bags and I would say 90% of my collection has been bought online so I wanted to share with you my tips for buying designer handbags online.

What I love about online shopping is that we have so many options that we might not have on our local high streets or shopping centres.  I live in London so I have a vast array of designer boutiques, vintage shops and luxury department stores at my disposal but I know for many of you who don't live in or near a city, being able to shop online is a must.  There are of course other perks of online shopping; it's so easy and you can shop from the comfort of your sofa whilst binging on your latest Netflix obsession.  I often sit with my laptop or my phone whilst watching the telly and I'll be mindlessly scrolling through the 'New In' sections of about 50 different retailers.  Some might consider this a bad habit but I actually enjoy it, I find it very therapeutic and at the end of the day, it is part of my job (any excuse).  Most retailers offer free returns so if you don't like something you can send it back, relatively fuss free or at least no more hassle than taking something back to a shop.  Now let's discuss the biggest perk of online shopping, DISCOUNTS!  Come Black Friday we are bombarded with discount codes and offers and it's not just for the likes of ASOS and Topshop.  Over the years these discounts have spread to the luxury retailers like Net-A-Porter, LuisaViaRoma, MyTheresa, Selfridges and many more.  I know Black Friday only rolls around once a year but fortunately for us we're now being thrown discounts all year round so if you're in the market for a designer handbag then here comes tip number one...

Discounts & Newsletters

As I've just mentioned, Black Friday is great for discount codes but guys, you have to be so on the ball when it comes to this day(s) of mega shopping.  You have to be up early and be prepared to be quick with those fingers because stock sells fast in the Black Friday frenzy.  If you're looking to buy a designer handbag around this time of year then stay tuned to the blog because later on this week I'll be posting my usual Black Friday Discounts post which is full of every possible code and offer you might need for easy Black Friday shopping.  If you're reading this a few months on and we're now nowhere near Black Friday then fret not as there are other ways to get discounts.  Firstly I would suggest signing up to the mailing lists of some luxury retailers; Net-A-PorterMyTheresaSelfridgesMonnier FreresNordstromMatches, FarFetch, LuisaViaRoma and even second hand sites like Vestiaire because over the past month some of these big names have had some great discounts on offer.  Matches for example recently had an offer on for £100 off orders over £400 and this went on for about a week.  Last month Net-A-Porter had a 15% off discount code which I took full advantage of and bought myself a Chloè 'Tess' bag.  Vestiaire are known for doing discounts and offers all year round.  These discounts are often announced via newsletter, so yes I know newsletters are the bain of your lives but when they offer a discount for a new handbag then it's actually worth it.  Lots of retailers will also send you an exclusive discount code on your Birthday so you can treat yourself, or so someone else can treat you, and many even offer a discount upon actually signing up to the newsletter so it really is worth it for these small victories.  If you're already signed up and there are no existing discounts on offer then try signing up with a new email address, your other half's maybe, so that you can take advantage of the new sign up offer.


chloe bag

Where to buy - Are They Trustworthy?

Right guys this is the main one when it comes to splashing out on luxury goods as there's a lot of your hard earned cash at steak here.  Please do not buy designer handbags off Instagram if it's someone you don't know.  When someone slides into your DM's offering an array of Chloè, Chanel and Gucci all for 'a very reasonable price, authenticity guaranteed'...THEY ARE FAKE.  A couple of my followers have reported incidents with DM's like this and all I'll say is that Instagram is not a trustworthy platform to purchase a designer handbag (or anything else for that matter) because it's not a shop.  Use Insta as your source of inspiration but keep your plastic in wallet and report those messages immediately.  The same goes for the site ioffer, everything sold on this site is not authentic.  Now I know that not everyone has the budget for designer handbags and I myself have had a few fake handbags in my youth so I totally get it, but the laws and restrictions on replicas are being tightened and even if you knowingly purchase a replica bag, the chances it will get confiscated when coming through customs are pretty high.  So might I suggest getting a dupe instead of a fake. A dupe is something that looks similar to a designer style but is not "identical" and does not bare the logo/name or any distinguishing branding, both Mango and Zara are great for dupes.  I myself still buy dupes of bags which are very trend orientated because I know they're not worth splashing large amounts of cash on but I still want to 'get the look'.

So where can you buy?  Well I listed a few of my go-to retailers above but depending on your country of residence you might have a few more that we don't have here in the UK.  With retailers like Net-A-Porter you are guaranteed authentic goods and retailers who are online only (don't have physical stores) you'll never be at risk of receiving a display item.  If ordering from Selfridges or other retailers who have physical stores then make sure you very carefully inspect your purchase when it arrives because if stock is short or if you've made a purchase during the sales then the retailer can use shop floor stock (stock out on display) to fulfil online orders.

If you are ever unsure about a retailer, perhaps it's a new and emerging retailer, then do your research before hand and Google some reviews before making a purchase.  For tips on buying off sites like eBay and Vestiaire then keep reading...

chanel bag-2

Vintage & Pre-Owned Bags

If you're looking to save a few pennies or maybe you're struggling to save for that dream bag then can I suggest buying a pre-loved or vintage designer handbag.  I've only recently developed an appreciation for Vintage bags and now I'm obsessed because they are so much kinder to environment as it's essentially recycling.  Vestiaire is a great site to check out for second hand and Vintage bags but they also sell brand new bags from sellers who just don't want them any more.  Perhaps it's an unwanted gift, maybe they threw the receipt away in a moment of madness, or maybe it was an impulse purchase, either way one girls trash is another girls treasure.  I have used Vestiaire about 7 times now and I even bought a brand new Givenchy Antigona bag, well when I say 'I' I mean Simon, and it was quite the triumph.  It had all the original packaging, all the tissue wrapped about the hardware and the tag attached, and I, sorry, Simon saved just under £1000 by buying it on Vestaire.  If you're not familiar with Vestiaire and how it works then I made a video on the buying process from start to finish here when buying my Vintage Chanel Classic Flap (aka Jaqueline), so check that out if you want to know more.  I know many of you have asked if it's a trustworthy site and I am only going by my own experiences when I say 'yes', but it is worth reading up on other reviews so you can make an informed decision yourself.  There are a few other second hand sites; The RealRealPoshMark but I haven't used either of these sites before so I'm not prepared to vouch for them, again read those reviews before taking the plunge and if you've had an experience with those sites then please leave a comment below this post so we can share experiences.

Vestiaire is a Paris based company so something to bear in mind if you're outside of the EU is Customs and Duties charges.  For example if you are based in the US then you will be charged Customs fees depending on the value of the item you have purchased.  You can read more about that here.


Buying on eBay

Another option is eBay, but I advise this with extreme caution and only if you know your stuff about designer handbags.  Despite eBay's policies on designer goods there is a risk of being sold a knock-off, especially when it is being sold as 'Vintage', or even a risk of not actually receiving your item altogether.  I have some eBay specific tips which I advise you follow when shopping/bidding on there:

  • Always use PayPal and pay with a credit card (not your bank balance or PayPal balance) because you'll be covered by the buyer protection scheme should you get ripped off or if something goes wrong during transit.
  • Do some digging on the seller, go through their feedback, see what they have bought and sold in the past.  I have a rule that if they don't have 100% positive feedback then it's usually a no-go for me.  That said as a seller myself I know some buyers can just be tricky little so and so's and do anything to wriggle out of a sale when they have simply changed their mind so just investigate and use your judgment fairly.  There are also 'Trusted' sellers on eBay, these can often be professional sellers who have been vetted by eBay and deemed trustworthy to purchase from.  One of my favourites who I now have 2 vintage Chanel bags off is Xupes (they also sell on Vestiaire here and independently on their own website here)
  • Scrutinise the pictures, ask for more pictures and even a video if you want to see something more closely.  Look for matching serial numbers on the inside of the bag and the authenticity card.  This can sometimes be tricky for vintage or 'well loved' bags because it may have worn off.
  • I use Google images to search for the bag I'm about to bid on so I can compare all the images of close ups like zippers, serial numbers, dust bags, and any other little details that might be a tell tale sign of it's real or fake.
  • Don't immediately trust the fact they have a receipt, they can be fraudulently created very easily these days.
  • Do not get caught up in a bidding war.  This is when you'll end up paying over the odds for something that isn't worth it.  Set yourself a limit of what you're prepared to pay for the bag and don't go over it.  Do some research if it's vintage and see what it's actually worth, check previous sold items of the same/similar bag so see what they've been going for.
  • When it arrives if you're not sure or if you just want some peace of mind then take it to a store and have them authenticate it for you, especially if it's Chanel, Hermes or Louis Vuitton as these are the most premium brands with the most premium prices.


chanel bag-3

Thank you guys for reading today's post and I hope it was useful in some way. If you have any questions about buying a designer handbag online, or even not online then please leave those down in the comments section below and I'll get back to you ASAP.

For details of the outfits featured in this post, please head over to the outfits page and you'll find them all there.

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