Each year, I like to treat myself to one big bag purchase. In a way, it’s my motivation to save money and curb my spending on other nonsense throughout the year. Last year, all of you helped me make a decision between a Chanel Wallet-on-Chain Bag or the Saint Laurent Monogram Satchel, and this year my indecision was between Valentino’s signature Rockstud pumps and a Céline Phantom Luggage Tote. Even after buying the Rockstud pumps, I wasn’t fully satisfied with my purchase, and after much internal debate and contemplation, I realized my heart was set on the Céline, which I ended up purchasing through FashionPhile. Now that I’ve owned the bag for a while and had some time to reflect, it’s time to look back on the experience.

Buying a new handbag at a boutique is great, but saving up over $3,000 (plus tax!) takes time and financial sacrifice for almost anyone. After I return my Rockstuds, though I was determined to find a way to buy the Céline. I considered selling some bags I no longer use, and I also hoped my boyfriend might surprise me for my birthday. (I even left him not-so-subtle hints, but he wasn’t budging). My solution, however, came while I was doing my handbag duties here at PurseBlog. While looking through some older posts, I came across this informative guide from Amanda: The Beginner’s Guide to Buying Pre-Owned Designer Bags Online. I took a step back and read through the post with an entirely different mindset: as a reader ready to learn about making a pre-owned bag purchase for the first time.

I’ll admit, the thought of buying a pre-loved bag had never even crossed my mind, but after checking the recommended websites, I knew I had found my Céline solution. Out of all the sites listed, I personally fell in love with Fashionphile because it was easy to navigate and the selection of designer handbags and accessories was massive. As I’m sure many of you can understand, buying a luxury handbag isn’t a one-and-done process–there’s lots of looking and shopping and considering–and I quickly began to learn that buying a used luxury bag can be even lengthier. Now that I was on the hunt for the Céline of my dreams and browsing Fashionphile’s Céline offerings, I finally found the bag I’d been looking for: the Phantom Luggage Tote in corc-stamped black leather. The best part, of course, was that the lower (used!) price was within my existing budget.

You would think my story would end here, but not quite. Like the old saying goes: if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. With that in mind, I began to second-guess myself. I found the bag of my dreams and that was the problem–why did I find the bag and no one else beat me to it? Why was this one still available? Was there some sort of problem I hadn’t noticed? I decided to wait a couple of days and think about my purchase. Any spare second I had went to stalking the site, researching client reviews and practically memorizing the return policy. After talking about it with Amanda in the office one day, she helped calm my nerves and assured me that I was making the right decision. The next day, the bag was still on the site and I pulled the trigger; the Céline of my dreams was mine!

Anticipating the bag’s arrival felt like the longest wait in history, but when the package finally arrived at my doorstep, I was so excited to have a Céline to call my own–something I never thought would happen. After inspecting my new bag, I didn’t have any doubts about its authenticity, but just to be on the safe side of things, I decided to have the bag authenticated on our PurseForum. (If you want to authenticate a bag of your own on tPF, all you need to know is right here.) Within a day, one of our knowledgable members assured me my new Phantom Luggage Tote is authentic.

I’ve owned the bags for six months now, and I truly love it. It’s big enough to carry everything I need for work, and it never feels cumbersome to me. I’m also happy to report that my next possible bag purchase in 2017 may just be another pre-owned handbag treasure.

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Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • kemilia

    I’m glad that you are happy with your purchase. A lot of TPFers can’t bring themselves to buy “pre-loved” and that’s ok for them but I have both bought and sold with FP and have always had a great experience.

    Many of my bags are pre-owned and I love them all (until it is time to sell them and get something that will be new-to-me).

    • Katherine Callaghan

      I had a great experience with Fashionphile and I look forward to possibly buying another pre-loved bag!

  • Lori

    I have been to the Fashionphile offices in Beverly Hills and looked around before deciding to sell some bags with them. It is the real deal. They had a lot of bags that were just gorgeous and most were in excellent condition. They only sell the best of the best and I didn’t doubt the authenticity of the bags for even a second. I have wanted to buy a used bag from them but the problem I have is the bags are usually 2/3 to 3/4 the current cost for retail. So for me, why not just spend the extra $500 or so and get a brand new bag? I have also sold bags on Ebay and for the most part it has been pretty easy, but I did have a couple run ins that pretty much scared me away from the whole Ebay process. The first was a woman who bought my Gucci and changed her mind so the told eBay it was a fake. And even though I had a receipt, etc they said they always side with the buyer because there are so many fakes for sale. The second was a Hermes bag and after agreeing to a price the woman claimed the bag had scratches, that it did not, and got me to reduce the price by $500. I knew she was lying but after going to so much trouble to sell, I just gave her the discount. Both taught me to photograph the heck out of every square inch of a bag you are selling, no matter who you are selling to, and to use a place like Fashionphile for selling the really good bags.

    • Katherine Callaghan

      Oh, wow, that would scare me away too! In the future if I ever decide to sell one of my bags, Fashionphile may be my best bet!

    • Jennifer McGee

      Lori – I agree with you about the prices of pre-loved bags. They can be very highly priced, so why not just get a brand new one for a couple of hundred extra dollars (and the fabulous in-store experience of buying luxury). I’ve thought about this a lot and concluded it is a supply and demand issue. People will pay those prices. Does anyone have a recommendation of s sight that sells pre-loved bags at a reasonable price?

    • psny15

      yes i agree, id rather buy it new than used! a colleague had a horrible experience with a fake on fashionphile, years ago i ordered on eBay and got a fake and had a bad experience! I buy what i want from the store!

  • TexasST

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us, great article!!

    • Katherine Callaghan

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  • buffmom33

    I love Fashionphile have gotten a couple SLG’s on there and was very pleased with the return policy and condition of items. One still had tags attached:)

  • Hazel

    Great post. I have sold several Chanels and LV’s through Yoogis. It was a great experience. I have not yet purchased through them but I plan to. Fashionphile is terrific but just wanted to share that in my experience Yoogi’s is also great and selling through them they keep a smaller percentage than Fashionphile (so you keep more money). Congrats on your new Celine. Beautiful!!

    • Katherine Callaghan

      Thanks for telling us! I’ll definitely consider Yoogi’s Closet as well!

    • jaj

      I sold a bag through Yoogis Closet and bought two bags from them. Good experiences all around. I would feel confident to deal with them again.

  • Jess

    I also love fashionphile and yoogi’s closet. Fashionphile has a great layby option (lay away same thing). Their discount section is fantastic. I have a new without tags medium givenchy pure Pandora in black on lay away ATM for $1200. Baaaargain. Totally recommend them. Also they really help us all recycle our bags as they have a buy back scheme as well where they buy your bag that you bought from them. Its good for all you environmentalists. Haha.

    • Katherine Callaghan

      Yes! That’s definitely another plus!

  • Giselle

    I’m glad you saved up some money on your bag, you should share photos with us! Question though, is this a sponsored post?

    • Katherine Callaghan

      Nope! If anything is ever sponsored on the site, we make a note of it under the title. I realized I never wrote about my experience and I wanted to share it with all of you that buying a pre-loved isn’t as daunting as you’d think!

      • KO0926

        I agree Katherine… once you do it, you realize that it’s a fairly easy exchange and knowing you are protected if you use a credit card makes it even easier. My best advice is make sure the site takes lots of pictures and that you can zoom in and check the corners, hardware and any hard to see spots so that you can ensure the bag doesn’t have any damage. I would also stay away from any bags that have any damage described… anything less than excellent, you are buying a bag with obvious signs of wear…. you might pay a little more, but you are going to get a bag that looks brand new… I buy brand new and pre-loved and to date I have not received a pre-loved bag that looked “used”. Then again, I’m a little older and more experienced and have been collecting bags for over 25 years.

  • Sharina

    I have had great experiences with Fashionphile. The savings in buying pre-loved PLUS not having to pay tax can equal several hundreds of dollars. I have also found bags in excellent condition that are no longer in production – the bag that got away. Even better, if you don’t like the bag as much as you thought, for a certain time period after purchase Fashionphile will buy the bag back – and it’s usually a pretty decent amount. I have also sold to Fashionphile, I usually find their offers fair. That said, Yoogis Closet I do find cheaper, but their inventory of new or like new bags isn’t as large.

  • KO0926

    Sometimes you can only find the bag of your dreams on pre-loved sites if they are no longer being produced. I’ve had some interesting experiences. Any time I received a fake (from Tradesy and Ebay) I called my credit card company or PayPal and fought the charge and prevailed. I have bought several pre-loved bags in “pristine to excellent” condition (and I recommend sticking with that description, anything else, you may not be happy as there may be worn areas on the hardware or scratches to the leather) and had I not known they were pre-loved, you would not have known by looking at them). Sites I have been very happy with: Rue La La (yes, they sell pre-loved, just bought a red Prada there) FMasarovic, Haute.com: I have bought a brand new Chloe Marcie and a Balenciaga Giant City bag and saved over $400.00 on each of them. They still had their tags on). The Real Real has an excellent selection and I have bought several great bags and they have always been exactly what I was expecting as they do a really good job taking pictures. I think they are my favorite! And, my most recent purchase…. that I love! love! love! came from Heritage Auctions. A Louis Vuitton Irene monogram limited edition handbag from 2009. She was listed as Pristine, and you can see from the picture I posted, she is in excellent condition. First day I carried her to work I had to take a picture! :0) https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/15d7a9854f494d528e227eccd675c89230c7d94539f9f74eeda955ed56a8ace3.jpg I think the most important advice I can give is to use your credit card and if you are sent a fake bag, immediatly call your cc company and tell them to stop payment. They may ask you to send pictures, or they may tell you to destroy the bag as it is illegal to sell and ship counterfeit bags in the US. Happy Shopping and Good Luck!

  • ToniP

    I highly recommend Yoogi’s closet. I have not only sold bags there and got very fair prices for them, but I’ve bought two really outstanding LV’s there. I’ve been very pleased with them.
    I do see the need to be a little more selective with Tradesy, but I will tell you I bought my favorite purse of all time~a monogram LV Lock-it with a fabulous charm, and it remains the #1 pre-loved handbag purchase I’ve made. It was authentic, in pristine condition, and the seller answered every question I had and gave me a very good price. These are two sites you cannot go wrong. I like new bags too, but do your research and their are good pre-owned deals to be had!!

  • cmb

    Great post – and always a great way to learn new things, which I love about pb. But unfortunately (and I know we have been complaining about this before) most of your advice is for US baglovers only. Fashionphile looks great, but not so much for Europeans :(

  • Anna

    I got a preowned Chanel jumbo flap in black caviar leather from Tradesy this summer. I know that I’ve seen a handful of users say they’re suspecting their Tradesy bag purchases were fakes (of course it depends on the seller), but I liked how their policy says no hassle returns for a while for any reason + that they can inspect bags for you, so I bit the bullet. I got my flap bag for around $2000 less than retail since there was also a sale, and it came in great condition. Signs of use as pictured, mainly slightly pushed out sides and a crease near the bottom which I don’t mind because they don’t distract from the bag at all, so it was absolutely worth the amount I paid and I love it. It’s definitely authentic as I’ve read a million guides on how to check tiny details as well as have seen many, many pictures so I’m quite confident in identifying which flaps are real! I think TheRealReal would also be a good site to purchase bags from, as although I’ve only bought clothing from them so far, everything is authenticated and if anything is different from described, they send you a free shipping label and refund you very quickly.

  • lucy

    Great post. Can I ask what fashionphile had the bag listed as for condition? (excellent, very good, good, etc)?

  • Jojo Lam

    I love Fashionphile and I forgot how I bumped into the website a year ago while web surfing. Since then, the website has been part of my bag life , LOL. I have nearly got rid of all my old bags which almost all were purchased from the boutique stores. Love their free shipping ( I live east coast) and free return, buy back policy etc.. etc…I got my dream bag hermes Kelly 32 with their extra no restriction 10% discount during black Friday last year!!! I actually got Birkin 35 and Kelly 35 and found they are big when I receive them, no hassle I got them returned… well…at this moment writing, I am waiting for 4 bags to come in, 1 Celine, 1 Givenchy, 2LV…I will see which one will stay eventually, LOL…Thanks…

  • marco bottoli

    To spot a genuine luxury pre-owned bag (or to recognise a quality handbag from a cheap one) is not as easy as it looks. And I think that looking at the leather quality is not the best place to start, because it can be tricky if you are not an expert (nowadays low quality leather or even fake one can look pretty decent) and because there are loads of expensive brands using poor leather and poor make (so you end up buying a genuine rubbish designer bag!!!). To check the leather quality is still important, but to start inspecting the hardware’s quality is the real secret to to spot a luxury bag one form a poor quality one. With a couple of tips, you will nit need to be an expert to discern a brass lock or a quality chain plated in real gold, from a cheap iron piece varnished in gold colour. And you can be sure that a fake bag will never use good quality components, because good hardware is very expensive. We had al look online and we found plenty of guides talking nonsense, tips to look at the stitching (but actually the stitching on luxury craft bags will be less regular than on the counterfeit made with automatic stitching machine!) or to ask for serial number, dust bags or proof of purchase (that are the cheapest think to fake. So we put together a guide you can find it here http://www.lidovenezia.eu/made-in-italy-leather (we give some tips to spot good leather as well). You will be able to judge the quality of a handbag by yourself, when you are in Venice or anywhere else