3 Tips for buying vintage bags online

Super excited to share my tips and tricks in today’s post after receiving a couple emails about what my research and buying process was like for the vintage Coach City Bag in last week’s post. To be honest, I’m much more of an in-person thrifting kinda gal, but all my lucky thrift finds (like this vintage Coach Stewardess Bag found in Goodwill in 2013) weren’t planned. Whenever I have specific items in mind for trips to the thrift store, I never find them. So, with the Coach Classics line (re)launch to remind me of how beautiful their classic all-leather bags are (but totally out of my current budget), I took my search of a vintage Coach City Bag to the internet.
tips for buying vintage bags online
(photo via Pinterest)

1. Be flexible with style and colour
Although I had my heart set on a Coach City Bag, I also had the Legacy Purse style bookmarked as a second top contender. Price range wise, they were pretty similar when doing some super lightweight, preliminary research in the vintage resale market. Originally, I had set out to find a red bag, hoping that this would be my statement piece for the upcoming Spring and Summer seasons. In the back of my mind, the cognac or mahogany versions would also be good contenders if the red didn’t work out for whatever reason.

Having these backup styles and colours really helped with my search because it gave me options. If I ever got priced out in one style, I could fall back on the other. Similarly with colours, I had such a hard time finding a red one with the right balance of price and condition that I ultimately fell back on my second choice of the cognac. Doing a little bit of research up front for colour options definitely saved my butt from making any impulsive decisions!

2. Have a set budget
It’s so easy to go overboard and want to buy the latest and greatest with all the bells and whistles to boot! If I didn’t have such a strict, self inflicted, shopping budget this year, I might have entertained the thought of buying a new bag from the relaunched Classics line. In reality, $298 was just too steep for me, thus the start of the search for the vintage version of this bag.

Having a strict budget up front will make shopping for the dream vintage bag a bit more challenging, but also rewarding then you finally find the one. By doing the preliminary research to get a feel for the spectrum of what a vintage bag of a certain style sells for, I mentally set my max price and started bookmarking all listings I could find that didn’t exceed the budget. Through this exercise, I was able to quickly learn the condition of bags that fell within my budget and could’ve (but ultimately didn’t) adjusted my max price if I felt that I needed to go up/down a bit to find my dream bag.

3. Research your shopping options
Buying vintage bags online is tough because not all bags will be listed for the same amount(s) on different platforms. Not all shopping platforms will have the same bags for sale. Likewise, not all options will be available at the same time. The beauty of the vintage resale market is that you never know what you’re going to find when you find it! I ended up stalking listings of the Classic City Bag for almost a month before finally deciding to purchase the listing that I did.

To give you a quick idea of the situation I worked with, the Coach Classic City Bag that I purchased had wide spectrums of prices over the following sites I visited (from as low as $20 all the way up to $200+). On average, for the condition of bag I was willing to purchase, here’s what I saw:

  • Ebay: $60 (Buy It Now average)
  • Etsy: $75 (this beauty was my fav!)
  • Poshmark: $50

  • I ended up making my purchase on Poshmark because of the amazing condition of the cognac bag that I found. I ended up missing out on the same bag on Etsy within $2 of my final purchase price on Poshmark because I took too long debating between the two listings. Buying vintage bags online can be tricky because of the sensitive timing, but I think this worked out perfectly given that I have no regrets on buying the bag that I did.

    Hope these tips were helpful! Would love to hear your experiences on buying vintage bags online (or any other wardrobe pieces) and if you have any extra tips to share.

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