If you’re an avid follower of the blog, you know my motto is always to go vintage. Whether it’s handbags, jewelry, or clothing, I’d much rather spend my hard earned cash on classic and unique than what’s popular at the moment pieces. For example, my vintage Louis Vuitton cosmetic bag that I’ve had for years is probably the most popular bag I have because no one else has it! One of the pieces I love to collect is vintage Chanel especially bags and jewelry. Over the years, I’ve learned from experience and bit of research about buying authentic vintage Chanel bags. Every time I’ve walked into a consignment shop, I’ve studied vintage Chanel bags and asked a lot of questions. Plus, I’ve done the shopping myself and have learned the questions to ask and the resources to use before I buy.
The Best Tips for Buying a Vintage Chanel Bag
WHERE TO BUY VINTAGE CHANEL BAG
eBay. Of the hundreds of sellers, I trust Fashionphile the most, plus they have brick and mortar stores in Beverly Hills, San Diego and San Francisco that you can shop in person. You can also check out this list of Chanel resellers, which includes eBay sellers as well as other online retailers.
Farfetch. Farfetch is a luxury retailer that recently started selling vintage. They have a great vintage Chanel bag collection and are a reputable seller. Note that their prices are higher since they have done the hard work of finding the most unique vintage pieces to add to their inventory.
Malleries. Malleries is an online shop specializing in luxury items from premier brands such as Hermes, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Bottega Veneta, Valentino, Emilio Pucci, Alexander McQueen and more. It’s similar to Etsy in that there are many different sellers, a wide selection of new and on-trend items to unique, vintage bags.
Vestiaire. Vestiaire Collective is a curated collection of thousands of new, pre-owned, and vintage luxury items. They check every item to ensure quality and authenticity before it is sent to you.
HOW TO SHOP FOR VINTAGE CHANEL BAG
Shop around. Do lots of research and shopping around before you buy. This helps you narrow down the style you want, but also gives you access to various types of bags and prices. Trust your gut and use common sense when shopping. If a certain bag is way underpriced as similar bags on other sites, then it’s likely a fake. But if the pricing is pretty consistent, then dig deeper to ensure it’s authentic as well as check the store policy.
Check the store policy. Each shop and even each seller on eBay or Malleries will have it’s own return policy, shipping rates, and other specific shopping policy. Be sure to read every store policy before you buy.
Get all the details. Find out everything you can about the vintage Chanel bag including if it comes with the dust bag and box. All resellers should provide an authenticity card or certificate of authenticity.
Ask for pictures. Every shop will include pictures, but they may not be exactly what you want, so ask for pictures. For example, I always want to see a handbag modeled so I will ask for images with the purse carried as a messenger, shoulder, and also carried as a clutch.
Double check measurements. Pictures can be deceiving and sometime they make a bag look larger than it actually is. In addition to asking for more pictures, as for exact dimensions of the bag.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN SHOPPING FOR VINTAGE CHANEL BAG
Leather. Chanel leather bags are offered in lambskin and caviar leather. The lambskin is super supple, while the caviar has texture and is better at hiding scratches. It’s good to know which As long as an item is priced correctly, don’t hesitate to purchase a bag that needs some TLC. Whether the leather needs cleaning, chain needs polishing, or lining needs to repaired, you can save money when buying a vintage Chanel bag by picking the not-so-perfect one. One trip to the Chanel Spa or Leather Surgeons, your bag can be repaired to near perfection. I have a Chanel woven bag that
Stitching. The devil is in the details as they say, so check for straight stitching pattern. Also, all of the stitching should line up and meet where the flap folds over in front of the bag. If the handbag comes with a small pocket on the backside, then the stitching should line up here as well. If the stitching is crooked and doesn’t line up, then you are most definitely looking at a fake bag.
Authenticity Card & Serial Number. All Chanel bags should come with the authenticity card and have the hologram sticker and they should have matching numbers. Note that bags before 1980s don’t have hologram stickers, but anything produced mid-1980s onward should have both a hologram sticker and authenticity card. Fake bags will come with hologram stickers and authenticity cards! Google the serial number and run a reverse Google image search and see if the number pops up. If it does (and if it’s for an active listing), then you know it’s a fake. Serial numbers are like fingerprints, they are unique to the individual bag.
Check the Cs. On Chanel bags, the CC stitching and CC lock has a distinct pattern: the right C should overlap the left C at the top and the left C should overlap the right C at the bottom.
AUTHENTICATION OF A VINTAGE CHANEL BAG
Chanel Boutiques do not authenticate bags; I rely on Leather Surgeons or Meme’s Treasures for authentication of my designer handbags. If you’re buying from an online store that doesn’t offer returns or you’re looking for an online authentication, then turn to The Purse Forum community as a back up. You can submit information, links, and images here and The Purse Forum community will review and authenticate for you. Note that not all requests are answered.
If you’d like get the ultimate guide to authenticating a Chanel bag, then check out Vintage Heirloom. She’s the Queen of Vintage Chanel!
Check out my Tips for Buying a Designer Bag for Less.