I wouldn’t call myself a “discount shopper,” exactly (I love expensive stuff too much for that to be true), but I do really hate to pay full price for things I don’t need. (Or, hell, even things I do.) I’m a single woman in a very expensive city, so that means a lot of my money goes to social activities and living expenses, and in order to keep that lifestyle rolling, I have to be careful elsewhere. That’s true of a lot of fashion lovers in a lot of different situations across the world, and we all have our own ways of managing it.

Personally, I’ve bought a ton of designer bags second-hand, especially when the bags were from brands that rarely or never go on sale. For a lot of shoppers, the luxury sales experience is part of what makes the designer price tag worth it, but that’s never been especially true for me–what I want is the specific thing I’m lusting after. After all, if I want to feel special for buying something at a fancy store, there’s always the beauty department, which puts a much smaller dent in my discretionary budget than a brand new, full price bag. That’s how I make the math work for me.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t buy things brand new–the decision calculus is different for every bag. I’ve had good second-hand experiences, though, and so did Katherine in her first designer resale shopping experience earlier this year. If you’re a pre-owned shopping novice, fret not: we have resources to help you learn the basics and keep your transactions safe, and our PurseForum holds a wealth of knowledge from seasoned shopping vets across all major brands.

So, now we want to hear from you: Are you a full-price shopper? Sale? Pre-owned? A mix? Let us know how you make your bag obsession work.

P.S. Please consider supporting our small, bag-loving team by clicking our links before shopping or checking out at your favorite online retailers like Amazon, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, or any of the listed partners on our shop page. We truly appreciate your support!

Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • Lisa

    When it comes to designer bags, I never buy used. Even if you can get it authenticated, the only way to guarantee the bag is authentic is to buy it at the store. And when you take into account that a lot of the time the pre-owned bag’s price tag tend to be the same as a new one you aren’t saving any money. I’d rather pay the extra and have piece of mind of authenticity and no wear and tear. I tend to be a discount shopper in all other areas so paying full price for an occasional bag evens out for me in the long run.

    • Jennifer McGee

      I’m with you Lisa. I’m not opposed to buying pre-loved bags, however much of the time you are not getting a good deal. So, why not buy used? Does anyone know a site where you can get a pre-loved bag at a good price?

      • Samantha

        Fashionfile has some good prices if you look at the 30% off for brands like Miu Miu

  • CWest

    I have a mix of full-price, discount, and used. I’m with Amanda that it’s about the bag and not the experience for me. With the exception of Hermes, you can find good deals on used designer bags. I only buy a used bag if it’s in very good condition, and I’ve never been disappointed with a purchase. Having said that, I only buy used when it’s a designer whose bags I know very well. However, there are certain bags that I only want to buy when they’re all shiny and new. The heart wants what the heart wants, I guess.

  • Amazona

    I mostly buy preloved, a big reason for rhis is that I can get paranoid if a designer item is pristine. It might not get much use and if it does, just watch me go all sorts of crazy trying to prevent any scratches, scuffs and marks from happening! Preloved designer item is like a used car – all the flaws are exposed and you don’t have to spend all your time worrying. Also, the extra has been shaved off the price. So it’s a more affordable way to buy as well.

  • bellebellebelle

    I’m not against pre-loved shopping and would definitely do it for certain styles, but some of the best parts about luxury bags to me is the luxury shopping experience and the promise of customer service (: I love a pampering session and since I can only afford to buy a new bag once or twice a year, I want it to be quite special! I definitely also try to look for discounts though.

  • Smithy

    I’ve bought plenty of pre-loved bags. If you do your homework, you’ll know what to look for as far as authenticity. I think you can buy on the assumption of authenticity with the right amount of knowledge. Brand new bags are like new cars — fun to shop for, but that new feeling fades fast and the value is diminished the minute you drive it off the lot.

    • Eos

      Yes, you’re so right. And I think when you look for pre-loved bags, you’ve got time to reflect on why you want the bag, and you also discover whether you really “need” the bag or if you’re just being influenced by brands and marketting.

  • Sharina

    I do a mix of both for financial reasons but I would love to buy new every time if I could. Nothing beats the brand new bag smell, the delicious leather, and I love to be the one to break the bag in and soften it up.

  • chae

    only new.

  • Sparky

    Only new because:
    (1) too afraid of getting a fake
    (2) Too much time is required to hunt down and authenticate a bag
    (3) I think they are WAY too expensive for used bags. If a used Boy was $1500, I’d go through the effort to buy it. But when a new one retails for $5200 and the used one is $4800…I’ll just cough up the additional money and buy new. Buy less, buy new.

    • Saf!

      This is a great point, I was just going through Portero and all the Boy Bags are for 4k+ which is ridiculous, I can just it from Europe and get a VAT refund which could even make it cheaper

  • PJGambler

    Only new- it is not exciting for me otherwise.

    • Tang

      Agree. Buying new makes it a lot more satisfying.

  • M Naima

    For me, the art of shopping involves a delightful mix of new and pre-loved. It is not always about the money but about the history of an item or the brand. At Therealreal.com, I found a beautiful Bottega Veneta Cosmetic Trunk in excellent condition for a terrific price. Soon after, I saw that Oprah Winfrey was selling Bottega Veneta trunk. Although hers was slightly bigger, mine was in way better condition. It was also cool to know that Oprah liked this brand.

  • Passerine

    I feel bad because while I have sold bags to second-hand sites (Anns Fabulous Finds), I buy only new. However, I do occasionally buy at a designer outlet mall like Foxtown, as long as the item is a genuine stock surplus or out of season bag and not a second or bag made just for outlets. I’ve gotten some excellent buys at Foxtown, bags I still enjoy using, and I know they’re not fakes.

  • Ingri

    I buy most of my bags on sale. I’ve bought a few pre-owned bags and I’m planning on buying more vintage as well.

  • Only new. I’d rather buy fewer bags new. Asides from authenticity concerns, a purse is a very personal thing for me and I don’t want one that someone else has used. With brands like YSL, Gucci, Prada, etc going on sale for as much as 40%, I can get my discounts from there and save for the brands that don’t go on sale.

  • Maya

    New….I don’t know why, I just like new…it’s all nice and shiny:)

  • Saf!

    I have never bought a pre-loved bag or any other fashion item, I’m also very conscious of “investing” in timeless pieces and designers that never go on sale (Hello Chanel Classic Flap), that being said, I love a good sale! When it comes to clothes and shoes I’m the first to hit the stores after a sales announcement and usually time my trips- favorite shopping destination: London- around sales. Lately, as I have thankfully saved and invested and got my holy grails, I’m exploring second-hand market, following the websites and accounts and I think I’m close to purchasing my first preloved- pray for me to find a good Chanel Boy Old Medium, black preferably Celtic print or the one with chains. I love the Chanel Boy but do I want to go to all that saving I did for the Classic Flap…not really

  • Deborah

    I’ve done a mix like many of the other commenters. It just depends honestly. So – I got my Givenchy Antigona bag from the Las Vegas store and the experience was wonderful. And I have a much loved Keepall I bought because I wouldn’t have to fret about it get dinged and danged. It already was! Both sides of this topic have merit to me. Right now I am on the hung for a Chanel GST. I am longing for this so much and they do not make it any longer. With that said, I’m also watching YSL’s tote. We’ll see how I go!

  • JoJo

    A pre-owned bag is a great idea I hadn’t thought of to keep costs down. But in all honesty I think there’s plenty of well designed and made bags out there to be. I came across these MayaBags and REECII bags from the Caribbean. Definitely going to see if I can get one. http://www.designcaribbean.com/press/handbags-with-a-social-conscience

  • crescent

    When I started getting into bags, I only bought brand new since bags rarely went above $1500 then. The only exception was a Chanel bag bought in a 2nd hand shop in Paris. Nowadays, bag prices just keep rising and rising and the ones that catches my eye all cost north of $2000. My last 2 purchases were pre-loved bags from reputable stores in Japan. They have a massive market for pre-loved bags and the reputable stores are top notch when it comes to authenticating items.

  • Scottsdale Kim

    I buy new always and consign bags I stop using to feel less guilty about it.