8 Helpful Tips on Buying Designer Bags

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I remember the first time I came to New York City, I really wanted to buy the Louis Vuitton Damier Azur Speedy 30. I saved for a few months and my sweet husband (boyfriend at the time) handed me a card with money inside so I could buy the bag while visiting NYC. I walked into the Louis Vuitton store off 5th Avenue and made my first purchase! I loved that bag. It was my favorite for years!

Since then, I’ve had my fair share of experiences when buying luxury bags at retail stores and online. Here are some tips and tricks for splurging on luxury bags.

Luxury Online Consignment Shops

My favorite place to buy designer pieces is from TheRealReal.com. The company originally started in San Francisco. I was living there at the time and I remember back when they started the company, I thought to myself… why didn’t I think of that?! Other places try and duplicate what they’re doing, but simply don’t have the best selection nor the inventory coming in each day. They sell everything from Rebecca Minkoff to Hermes. My most recent purchase was from TheRealReal. I had never gotten a bag from them prior, just clothing shoes and accessories. The experience, like always, did’t disappoint. The Chanel bag showed up in amazing condition and I couldn’t be happier. As you can imagine, something in high demand must be purchased quickly or you will miss out. They have memberships you can buy in order to get a first dibs on their new inventory. For only $10 a month, it’s not a bad deal if you want the latest and greatest designer pieces from the site.

p.s. They’re always having sales! Today, you can get 20% off your purchase by using the code TRENDS. Some items are excluded, like my Chanel bag, but most are available!

Online Consignment Shops

I’ve probably bought and sold on every online consignment platform out there. The overall concept is brilliant. I’ve been a long time user of both Poshmark and thredUP (wrote about here). They are great a resource for both high and low end pieces. It reminds me of going to your standard consignment shop but you don’t have to leave your home, which is amazing, since we all love to shop online. The only downside is that unless you know exactly what you want, you really have to sift through a lot of stuff. This will happen though, particularly when you are undecided on what you really want to buy. One of my favorite pair of flats, my beloved Chanels, are from Poshmark. They’re one of my all time favorite purchases when shopping the online shops. If you haven’t yet, be sure to check them out.

Department Stores

When it comes to your traditional department stores, I’ve found that Bloomingdales reigns supreme for designer pieces. They don’t necessarily go on sale, but you get points for your purchases. When I purchased my Chloe Drew Bag, I didn’t purchase at a discount, but I got points and put those towards another purchase. Yes, I know, it’s not putting money back in your pocket, but you do get more for your money!

Traveling Abroad

If you have your eyes on a designer bag for an upcoming trip, try and hold off on purchasing until you get there. I remember that I bought my Chloe Drew bag at Bloomingdales just before heading to Paris. I found the same bag there and it was $300 cheaper! Prior to going, be sure to check the exchange rates. A little tip if you are heading to France…they have tax free shopping. Make sure you tell the store clerk that you are traveling and you need a VAT. You get that stamped and mail it in at the airport. My Valentino flats were purchased in Paris and I saved $118 on the overall purchase. The purchase does take 4-6 weeks to show up on your credit card, but it’s worth the wait.

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Your Favorite Fashion Bloggers

Most fashion bloggers go through many designer pieces. Try and find out if and where they sell their items. If they’re anything like me, they’re all lightly used and reasonably priced. Many people have links to their blogs, separate Instagram accounts, or they use apps like Depop to post their items. I use Poshmark but haven’t been as active as I’d like recently. I plan on eventually selling my old Chloe bags at some point. You’re welcome to follow me if you want to keep an eye on what I’m selling.

Luxury Brick & Mortar Consignment Shops

I’ve had mixed results with these guys. When I lived in San Francisco, I used to visit consignment shops all the time. I’d always look for the bags hanging behind the counter. Those were the designer bags. What I’ve found is that they’re not in the best condition and slightly overpriced. Here in New York City, I have found a few places that have brand new luxury items, but they’re still slightly more expensive than what I’ve found online. Keep in mind that there is a lot of overhead when buying from a traditional consignment shop. If you do stumble into a traditional consignment shop, make sure you cross reference online prices and condition.

Buying Directly from Retailer

As much as I’d love to get all my bags on the cheap, there have been plenty of purchases I’ve made directly from the retailer. It’s almost always because it brand new to the market and I couldn’t find anyone selling the bag I wanted online. This happened when I got my Fendi 2Jours. I knew it was the bag I wanted and the saleswoman was spectacular.

Last tip…

There are so many options out there where you can buy luxury bags. Wherever you end up making your purchase, be sure you trust your source. Authenticity is important. Replicas have become a much larger issue nowadays. The last thing you want to experience is finding out you spent a lot of money for a non-authentic, faux bag.

Wish you the best and feel free to send me any questions.

Happy Shopping!

xo, Olivia

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Shop this Post

Zara Turtleneck (similar here & here)  | Joe’s Jeans (worn here) | DVF Heels (similar here & here, worn here) | Chanel Bag | J.Crew Coat (similar here) | & Other Stores (similar here & here, worn here)

xo, Olivia

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8 Comments

  1. Cynthia wrote:

    Great tips, will keep in mind. When I pass (fingers crossed) my board exam next year I want to reward myself with a designer bag. Since it’s a special occasion I think I will have to spring and buy brand new at a store for the full experience!

    Posted 11.18.16 · Reply
    • Good luck on your exam! You will do great and make sure to reward yourself for all your hard work!

      Posted 11.21.16 · Reply
  2. Lauren wrote:

    I can’t imagine being able to afford things like that 🙁

    Posted 11.21.16 · Reply
    • Hi Lauren, I’ve felt the same way and can totally relate. One of the ways that I’ve found to save money for these types of purchases is through an app called Digit. It takes a small sum of money $5+ out of my account daily and puts it in a digit “savings” account. This allows me to save without thinking about it and I end up having money at the end of the quarter/year to put towards an item on my “Nice to Have” list. Thanks for reading!

      Posted 11.21.16 · Reply
  3. I agree with this, and think 100% it’s a treat, i like your tips you have mentioned in the below comments like stashing away $5 out of your account daily, its quick how the starbucks coffee budget can add up!

    https://www.berkleysboutique.com/collections/bf

    Posted 11.21.16 · Reply
    • Yep, totally a treat! It’s nuts how saving a few bucks everyday can really add up throughout the year! Wishing you the best!

      xo, Olivia

      Posted 11.24.16 · Reply
  4. M. Sabatini wrote:

    Hi there, as a new visitor to your blog, I love your content but there are so many typos that it’s annoying to read. Just a tip from me.

    Posted 2.19.17 · Reply
    • Thank you for catching that! We must have forgot to save our edits ?

      Posted 2.19.17 · Reply

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