“I’M SHARING MY TIPS ON SOURCING, BUYING AND LOOKING AFTER SECOND HAND DESIGNER SO HOPEFULLY YOU CAN FIND SOME TREASURE OF YOUR OWN!”
It’s no surprise (especially if you follow on instagram, where I’m constantly sharing my bargains!) that I’m a huge advocate for second hand shopping. I love scouting eBay for designer scores, trawling London charity shops and most recently; exploring the world of online, second hand, designer retailers. This year, I knew I wanted to invest in a vintage Louis Vuitton, that would last me years and be really special; but sometimes, the task of researching, finding the right piece for your budget and finding somewhere reputable and trustworthy, can be daunting!
I did a lot of researching, asking others for advice and trawling of my own. This, combined with years of second hand shopping and I decided to compile my top, tips for where to look for second hand designer, how to buy it and how to look after it and give it a new lease of life! Here’s hoping you find some of these useful and perhaps go on to find your own treasure!
WHERE TO SHOP? DO YOUR RESEARCH & DON’T RUSH
The coat I’m wearing here is Jaeger from a charity shop, the Beret from a local vintage store. The scarf is from a charity shop and the Aquazzura shoes I scored brand new for £30 in a posh London charity shop. Out of all of these, the only planned purchase was the Louis Vuitton, for which I ended up turning to the infamous Vestiaire Collective. It just goes to show you can find designer treasure almost anywhere. (in fact I think the first purchase I did was in a really rural, English Charity shop where I found £15 Christian Louboutins!
There’s a plethora of online places to find second hand designer, some more expensive than others. However, one impulsive, un researched move could have you accidentally ordering from a replica site, so make sure you look carefully, list reputable sites and ask anyone who perhaps has experience shopping second hand designer for their thoughts. I love to shop in person if possible, you can then have access to try the item on, feel it, check for wear and authenticity. Charity shops are my jam for this; in particular, London has a tonne of incredible ones, it just takes patience and perseverance, sometimes you come away with nothing, sometimes your dream shoes! This site has a great list here. For online shops, these are my favourite:
eBay – (If you look correctly and source reputable sellers, it’s a gold mine of designer steals (it’s where I bought my Chanel shoes from!) Set up saved searches so you can trawl every so often if you’re after something and you’re able to keep updated with what’s on offer – for example ‘ Women’s size 6 Gucci shoes’ – and save the search so you can easily browse.
Vestiaire Collective – Probably one of the most famous destinations for pre loved designer and the site of choice for my Louis Vuitton purchase. They have most things you could possibly think of at incredibly competitive prices. Just be cautious that shipping fee’s can be large if it’s coming from afar. (I actually decided to get mine from Japan, because waiting for one to pop up in the UK or Europe was more scarce and probably more expensive, even with large shipping fees!)
We Buy Designer – Again, huge choice, similarly to the above at very competitive prices – a lot to browse through and lots to offer for every different budget!
The Vintage Bar – A beautiful, hand selected collection of vintage bags, a site that’s a joy to browse! From re-worked Chanel button pendents, to Chanel, Dior and Gucci handbags; a smaller selection than the above but less to trawl through because all the good stuff is immediately there! I also find their prices incredibly fair; this was the second option had I not purchased from Vestiaire, and I can see myself shopping here next time I want to invest.
MAINTENANCE AND CARE; BRINGING YOUR ITEM TO LIFE!
Invest in the care of your products. This is something I’ve particularly learnt and practised since January this year, after purchasing my Vintage Louis Vuitton and now it’s become a habit (and it’s pretty enjoyable and rewarding too!) I personally prefer the look of an aged Louis handbag; so I actively looked for one that didn’t have very pale leather handles. My speedy is from the 80’s, has been stored away for years, the brass was tarnished and it needed a serious spruce. So, I googled my way into a 3am session watching people clean their vintage handbags on Youtube (SO therapeutic btw) I found this particular post really helpful, followed the steps, and was then left with the pretty remarkable results below! I’ve since cleaned it again and more thoroughly and it gets better every time! Just be careful to really research what products to use on certain materials and leathers, as you really don’t want to ruin it or dry the leather out!
After I gave my handbag a makeover, I realised I should be doing this with all my leather, suede and designer goods. I rarely buy clothing, shoes and bags now and when I do? They’re primarily second hand. I want to invest in pieces that will last years and years, so looking after them is crucial. Buy leather protectant, hardware and brass polish and the right cleansers. I’ve bought 2 pairs of Chanel shoes and a pair of Gucci suede heels, all of which were under £60, because they needed re-soling. I then swiftly bought a suede brush, cleaned and conditioned all my leather handbags and shoes; they will un-doubtably thank you for it! Scoring designer at a more affordable price often means more wear, but that’s not to say it can’t have a serious makeover with some TLC! (Moda In Pelle have great shoe care on their site and it’s super cheap!)
LEARN TO GO WITH THE FLOW AND BRUSH UP ON AUTHENTICITY.
Rarely are my designer finds planned. When I’m presented with an item in a second hand or vintage shop that I know I probably won’t find again easily, it’s an affordable price and something I’d undoubtedly wear to death (Or have scope to sell on should I not wear it enough) then I’ve learnt to judge when it’s good to impulse buy and when it’s not. If you’re only buying because it’s ‘cheap’ – that’s not a good enough reason. If there’s an incredible pair of Gucci shoes in your size on eBay that are worth bidding on (always set a limit – it’s rare I’ll personally stretch over £50/£60) and you can see yourself wearing them a lot; then why not?
If you feel that the quality is as expected, or the seller is reputable, then you can’t often go wrong, however if you’re planning a purchase, like I did with my handbag, make sure you research tell tale signs that it’s real (or fake!) and don’t rush, take your time browsing to find something that you can see yourself wearing for years and years. With the Speedy, it’s such a replicated bag, that I was cautious to make sure it had all the signs of the real deal (however it’s always easier when you buy through a designer store as it’s guaranteed authentic) I normally find that via eBay or in second hand shops, it’s easy to normally tell when something is legitimate or not, but always trust your gut when in doubt and be sensible with your money.
SHOP MY PICKS
Hope you guys enjoyed this one as much as I enjoyed putting it together! I would love to know if you guys are avid, designer, bargain hunters or if you’re thinking about your first purchase! My Insta DM’s are always open for a chat!
Photography by Ben Kapur