Vintage Accessories (Part II)

Following on from my previous post about my vintage collection,  there are a few items I missed out and a couple of new additions I thought I’d share. The first Chanel bag I ever bought was this black shoulder bag with a bijou chain strap. It belonged to a friend’s mother-in-law who has quite a Chanel collection.

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It’s a great size and I fell in love with the way it elevated any outfit. In classic black and gold it can be worn throughout the year, so I thought it was worth the investment (little did I know this was just the start of collecting vintage).

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Shortly after, I discovered Vintage Heirloom and then the collecting began! I loved the way everything I bought had a history to it and the fact that these bags were so clearly made to last. The quality of craftsmanship was so great then, that these pieces just seem to get better with age.

Once I had a few bags I became a bit more confident in what I was buying and what to look out for. With so many fakes on the market – some of which are very good, it’s easy to be duped. As well as buying from Vintage Heirloom, I have also bought a few bags through Vestiaire Collective. Before doing so, I read up on them and if I buy anything, I make sure I do my homework.

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I bought this black and white Chanel as I liked its shape and the colour lends itself well to dressing up or down.

After buying these more classic bags, I decided to stop playing it safe and start buying some more unusual items. I love to have fun with colour and print in the rest of my wardrobe, so it seemed to be the logical next step!

Then I found this:

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I was slightly concerned that I would tire of the slight (ahem) tackiness of this one but bizarrely I love it more and more. The summery colours definitely help and it’s beautifully light-weight. At first I didn’t think I’d get much use out of it past Summer and then I realised it went well with one of my many rain coats (phew!).

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Another slightly off-the-wall piece I bought was this fun Celine:

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I couldn’t find out much about vintage Celine online but thought I’d take the risk as it wasn’t expensive and it looks amazing with stripes! It’s a great bag to travel with as it’s crossbody, spacious and pretty indestructible. I also liked the fact that it wasn’t leather which makes it a lot more comfortable to carry in warmer weather.

I really try (but occasionally fail) not to buy things on a whim. I usually have in mind what I’m looking for when I’m browsing in terms of colour/shape/style so when I was looking for a pink/nude evening bag and came across this, I did a little happy dance:

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It is actually a cosmetics bag but I think it’s way too pretty to leave on the dressing table and it fits an iPhone 6 and a wallet so makes for an ideal dinner companion.

My most recent vintage purchases are this stunning red Diana flap and this beautiful Louis Vuitton shoulder bag:

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One of the reasons I love buying vintage is because a lot of the styles are no longer available. To me, this makes them all the more special and it’s reassuring to know you can walk down the street and not see another soul wearing the same bag.

If you read my previous post, you’ll know I was on the lookout for a red Chanel. They seem to be like gold dust, so when Vintage Heirloom managed to track one down, I knew I didn’t have time to mull it over.

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Originally I was looking for a mini size but this is so much more practical and is definitely more of a long-term investment piece. I’m so lucky to have found one in such great condition – the leather is so buttery-soft and it’s in a subtle, subdued red that allows for a bit more versatility with my wardrobe.

Buying all things vintage/preloved is a bit of a minefield and I am in no way an expert, but my top tips would be:

1. Get/see as many photos as possible. If a listing only has one or two grainy photos – avoid!

2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions (if you want to see more pics, ask the history behind the bag etc.).

3. Find out about the condition of the bag (I personally don’t  mind too much if it has a bit of ‘character’ to it!).

4. Make sure you know the dimensions – including the drop of the bag, as this will tell you whether you can wear it crossbody/on the shoulder etc. (Ideally, see a pic of someone wearing it.)

5. See pics of the inside of the bag – you can tell a lot by looking at the layout, lining, hardware and serial code (if the bag has one).

6. If you know the serial code, do some research – you can find out online what collection the bag is from and how old it is. (If there are pics online from the original collection you can compare them with the bag you’re buying.)

7. Make sure the serial number matches that on the paperwork (although do be aware that some fakes come with matching documentation).

8. Buy it because you’re in love with it – not just because it’s a particular brand!

I would like to say that this is where my collecting ends – who could possibly need any more bags?! But then I know I’d be lying. If something interesting and unusual catches my eye, all logical thinking goes out the window, the fear of missing out kicks in and then the purchase is made in one great surge of adrenaline.

Here’s hoping that in my dotage  I’ll be one Chanel-wielding stylish lady collecting something far less damaging to my pension. Any suggestions are welcome!

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