By definition “the greats” are legends, rulers of their categories, something or someone so outstanding they’re unforgettable. In handbags, “the greats” are vintage. They’re bags so iconic and expertly made, they stand the test of time. They’re also eco-friendly, and prices are significantly lower than retail. Right now, they seem to be everywhere, too — on the arms of every top model and blogger and reintroduced at some of the biggest fashion houses. But finding an amazing vintage bag online is kind of like digging for treasure. It isn’t easy, but you can strike gold.
First things first, if you’re ready to buy one, you have to start by doing your research. “You have to know who you’re buying from,” says Yael Kanter, who runs the Toronto-based e-retail site, Vintage Couture, with her mom, Lynda Latner. “You want to have a full condition report. Some sites have rating systems, like A, B, C, based on the interior and exterior,” says Kanter, whose company has been dealing vintage all over the world for over 20 years. You should look at plenty of photos of the bag you’re intending to purchase, and make sure there is a return policy or an actual person you can speak to if you’re not happy with the final purchase, she advises. As for number one most important thing? “You have to feel comfortable knowing that this bag is not pristine, no matter what,” says Kanter. “Even if someone bought it and it sat in their closet, it’s not brand new from a store.”
While Dior’s Saddle Bag has become one of the most sought-out vintage bags online, according to Kanter, there are other treasures to consider. “I would definitely snatch up as many of those vintage-style Gucci bags, if you can find them,” she says. Given that they never stray too far from their cult classic bags, Chanel and Hermès are good value buys too, says Kanter.
As for what’s ahead, Kanter has a couple ideas of which bags to buy before they become the next big thing in vintage trends. “I feel like Balenciaga is going to do something with a bag they’ll pull from the archives and make new again, but still honour the style that made it so famous in the first place,” she says. Another good bet: Any of Loewe’s ’70s animal-shaped bags, which have made a comeback in recent seasons in the brand’s main line. “They’re just fun and quirky,” she says.
Ready to start the search? Keep clicking for seven amazing vintage bags from seven trusted sources.