A Good Time For Resale (Buying)

Occasionally, when I find myself with some nice chunks of free time (aka commercial breaks of Bravo shows), I like to trawl the various resale sites (Fashionphile, The Real Real and the like) as well as eBay, looking for old season items that got away. Lately, I’ve been noticing a trend – prices seem to be going down, down, down – on everything from bags, to clothes, to other accessories like scarves and jewelry.

While this is good news (unless you’re a designer bag flipper), it’s been very tempting on my wallet. There seem to be quite a few items out there going for less than they would have a year or two ago. Why this is happening, I don’t know why – maybe it’s due to the still weak international economy, currency fluctuations, or some combination of the two. Here’s an example – I remember when this Chanel black metallic flap was so in demand, and here’s one in very nice condition for almost half off.

Screen Shot 2015-05-02 at 9.13.40 PM


And another example below (of all the resale sites, I’ve been finding that Fashionphile has the best prices generally, along with regular eBay auctions).

Cabat Fashionphile


Agh! An almost new, limited edition Bottega Veneta Cabat bag for $2,700? Amazing. I watched this one for a good few weeks, but then it got sold (of course). So there’s a lesson – there are some great deals out there right now, but you still need to act fast for the steals.

As for me, I’ve largely been good and watching from the sidelines…envious of all the deals that are being had. Well okay, I did just pick up a limited/seasonal Chanel bag that I had been looking for, for probably the last five years (I’ll share when it comes). My advice for if you’re in the market for some second hand/pre loved luxury accessories right now? Try not to get sale goggles…and take advantage of some of the great prices!

Have any of you noticed a trend in prices declining lately? Where are you based? I’d love to hear more details!

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  • heather
    May 4, 2015 at 11:54 am

    How much do you trust fashionphile and other resale sites to accurately authenticate bags? Have you bought from a resale site before this time? Genuinely curious. Thanks!

    • Katherine
      May 4, 2015 at 1:05 pm

      Hi Heather, I think one should always do their homework and yup I have bought from a reseller site before – Anns, Yoogis and Fashionphile all. If there is any concern you can always pay more for another authenticator to look at the item 🙂

  • Amy
    May 4, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    Fashionphile is great. I can guarantee you that the price is lower on that Chanel flap due to the lack of authenticity card. I bought a flawless 227 flap with a rare chain at a great price from this seller, and recommend them highly!

    Of course, you can have your purchases authenticated by an outside source if there is concern. But I think that trusted, pre-loved sellers are a great avenue. I would definitely go this route again. 🙂

  • pret a porter p
    May 4, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    I just bought a 10 year old, tom ford era ysl bag on the resale market. I have a loooooong fashion memory, and designer bags seemed tone more interesting back then.

  • Mariko
    May 4, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    Katherine – I’m a huge fan of your blog and its intelligent approach to fashion and luxury brands. As for pricing, I live in Hong Kong and Chanel recently reduced prices on nearly all of its bags by 20%. Other brands (Cartier I heard, and possibly also Prada) have also followed suit, due to the weaker Euro and demand factors. Luxury sales in Hong Kong and China have been weakening in general due to a number of factors (anti-corruption/graft policies in China, higher prices in Asia vs Europe, over saturation) and even brands like Chanel, which is privately held and thus there is much less scrutiny on quarterly results, are feeling the downturn in demand. Interesting times in general and I wonder whether this heralds a rethinking of their luxury proposition in Asia.

  • Anna
    May 5, 2015 at 6:00 am

    I’m a huge fan of resale sites and have also noticed some fantastically declining prices on luxury goods. I mainly purchase clothing and shoes (not really a bag girl; have a few staples that I rotate but that’s it). I am able to buy brand new Jimmy Choos for well under $150 and my recent Stella McCartney dress (new condition!) cost only $50. It’s gotten to the point that it doesn’t make sense to buy clothes from the mall (J.Crew/H&M) because I get superior pieces for less than the price of fast fashion.

    • Katherine
      May 5, 2015 at 2:20 pm

      Wow those are some wonderful prices on clothes, especailly the Stella!

  • Helen
    May 5, 2015 at 9:48 am

    I feel I should share my fashionphile story. By the way, frequent reader of the blog, rare commentator. I got my fashionphile “habit” nearly 2 years ago when I was pregnant with my second one. After going back and forth, I finally took the plunge on a chanel black cavier flap (I was looking for a single flap, no longer made, due to concern about weight and accessibility of the compartment when I’m running after kiddies). The bag looked sturdy, fine, and I have no reason to doubt their authenticity. I have a number of girlfriends that are frequent purchasers of Hermes, Chanels etc. and they all noted it looked great.

    6 months ago, my 3 year old went to grab something from that bag and the turn lock flew off. (rage) I went to SCP’s Chanel to drop it off to be repaired (“it could take months, yada yada yada”) and got a phone call 6-8 weeks later stating “they cannot authenticate the bag” (SHOCK!!) I called fashionphile, who stated return the bag along with a letter from Chanel stating the above and they will refund the money. I called fashionphile back, asking them to pay for return shipping which they did quickly. There was a mild hustle at Chanel as I understand they don’t like writing letters stating the above for fear of being abused as an authenticating service? but eventually got the letter. I got the check quickly.

    However, I’ve hesitated ever since with regard to resale, because honestly, if it wasn’t for the breaking of the turnlock, I would’ve had NEVER went to Chanel and I would have paid 4k for a fake bag and been none the wiser.

    Buy careful and authenticate quickly (hopefully your SA can provide that service at your favorite brands).

    • Katherine
      May 5, 2015 at 2:20 pm

      Thanks so much for reading (and venturing out to comment to share your experience). I’m sorry this happened to you, and it definitely serves as a cautionary tale. I do try to avoid buying the “popular” bags on reseller sites and focus more on limited editions/items from years back which I hope are harder and less interesting to fake.

      • Amy
        May 6, 2015 at 11:09 am

        That’s an interesting point. A black flap is probably SUPER highly counterfeited at this point! 🙁

      • Helen
        May 6, 2015 at 12:01 pm

        You know, I didn’t even think about that. I just thought I was the freak who’s looking for a single flap when every one else keeps talking about double flap as the “classic”. But certainly would make sense that a black caviar chanel flap would be a hotly counterfeit’ed item. I had placed too much trust in fashionphile’s authenticating abilities. lesson learned.

        • Amy
          May 7, 2015 at 8:43 am

          I’m so sorry about your experience. 🙁 I’m a single flap girl, too!

          • Anna
            May 10, 2015 at 12:31 pm

            Eek! That’s why I stay away from popular styles and brands. All my bags I purchased from Bergdorf’s in NY..

    • Anonymous
      May 10, 2015 at 10:42 pm

      I am sorry about what happened. Did you ever have it authenticated by some other authentication websites like authenticate4u, etc..? I’m curious if the professional authenticators can catch those really good fakes like yours.

      • Helen
        May 11, 2015 at 11:39 am

        I didn’t. I’m generally not a resell buyer, preferring to either get things on department stores sales or just biting the bullet a few times a year. That chanel single flap was purchased on resell due to the fact Chanel didn’t make it anymore. I thought I was safe since I didn’t go through ebay or other sites (where I would’ve been sure to re-authenticate). I did purchase a VCA piece from fashionphile more recently, but my SA at VCA did a “clean” and examine and told me it’s good to go. I’m placing my faith in that.

        • Katherine
          May 12, 2015 at 9:14 pm

          Good to hear about your nice SA at VCA and I’m glad it worked out okay there!

      • Helen
        May 11, 2015 at 11:46 am

        And I just thought of something else Anna. I paid about 4k for that bag (tax etc.) because it is a popular style in “nearly new” condition. If I then pay for authenticating (which I’m not sure how much it runs, let’s say 200) the savings (which is a big advantage for resell) would be slim if any. I’ve thought about the above point quite a bit and generally find the savings of around 15-20 percent for resell to not be worth the uncertainty for the popular items. An off season Alaia at 60 percent off.. no brainer. A vintage chanel, no brainer. A popular item (i.e. Chanel jumbo, VCA alhambra, H’s birkin/kelly) just not sure if the savings are worth it. My 2 cent.

  • Whitney Farris
    May 5, 2015 at 11:12 am

    It’s a great time to buy from resale, but it’s a horrible time to sell! So Ladies hold on to the luxury goods, until the prices go up again……and they will!

    • Katherine
      May 5, 2015 at 2:19 pm

      Yup, true that….definitely a buyers market!