There's a lot of discussion going on related to new purchases, vintage and preowned luxury shopping. I love vintage and have a special place in my heart for preowned luxury designer handbags since I frequently dive into this market on a regular basis. I also have a video on Designer Accessory Adoption TV if you'd rather listen. This post was written to help you determine when you should go for pre owned vs new.
Item is rare, discontinued or cannot find new
When an item is rare, discontinued and/or you cannot find it new; you'll want to consider going preowned. The price could be more than retail depending on popularity (and other factors too). In many cases, you'll be able to find discontinued luxury pre owned designer handbag styles for less than retail. Just remember even if an item was made years ago doesn't mean you cannot find it in nearly new or new condition. That's one thing that makes pre owned unique since no two bags will be exactly the same. It will be dependent on how the owner(s) maintained it over time.
Item never goes on sale
For extremely popular fashion houses that are well known for never having a sale (Chanel and Louis Vuitton come to the top of my mind) you will have to purchase pre owned. There are other luxury brands like Bvlgari where you should never waste your time waiting to see if there will be a sale, because you won't find one. That doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't purchase full price. However, if you don't want to pay full price your only option is preowned. Now keep in mind if you're looking for a discount on a recent collection (meaning it is currently selling in stores) it is highly unlikely you'll find it for less than retail. There are more people purchasing designer leather and canvas bags at retail price due to limited quantities and more people that miss out of the retail experience because of lack of availability.
Preowned version has better qualityI am a huge fan of vintage and many times vintage luxury handbags, clothing, etc. are better quality than newer versions. There are many cases where newer versions of styles from some fashion houses weren't produced with better quality. I believe the main reason is due to the quality of materials. Even if an item is not vintage, luxury pre owned designer handbags made in the early 2000s, had better quality and finishing details. My Marc Jacobs Multi-pocket hobo is a great example of this. Obviously, this is not going to be a hard fast rule for all brands. However, I have seen a difference in quality between preowned luxury bags made from 10 or so years ago and newer styles produced by the same fashion house in recent years.
Retail price is more than you can or willing to spend
One of the main reasons I purchase luxury pre owned designer handbags is due to the instant savings on the retail price. You can even save on new or barley used items as well. The biggest savings to date has been on my Hermes Victoria ii. I got it half price with minor wear on the corners. It didn't come with any of the packaging or dust bag. However, the most important parts for me was the condition of the bag and the lock (including keys). I would have not been able to purchase this bag full price for a long while. Therefore, preowned was the most accessible option for me. Style staples produced each year by fashion houses are great options to purchase pre owned since you'll remain on trend in addition to reducing your financial investment. Most preowned luxury accessories range from 30%-70% off retail.
Color or hardware finish no longer in production
For those Chanel and Hermes lovers out there this tip is for you! Both brands are known to release styles in limited colors and hardware based on the season. Either you wait until it happens to come around again or you purchase it from the secondary market to get exactly what you want. The second option is the easiest since you won't have to wait until something turns up or jump through hoops to be "offered" the luxury handbag you desire.
I hear many stories from fellow luxury handbag lovers that say the reason they're into luxury is because they admired their mother's or grandmother's personal style. You could be into vintage beaded evening bags because it reminds you of your grandmother. Maybe that Dooney and Bourke all weather leather handbag reminds you of something special or someone special. Purchasing pre owned is a way to get the item you want and bring back those warm fuzzy feelings.
For similar reasons, as I've already listed, would apply here. Usually, new releases from fashion houses, rare fabrics, unique colors, etc. are all reasons why an item can be extremely popular and will likely sell out quickly. In this case you won't save money, unless you purchase it years later, but is a reason you'd purchase from the secondary market. Unless, you have connections with a client or sales advisor you'll have to get it from a reseller.
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