Sunday, September 4, 2011

Chanel, Part III - Buying pre-owned or new bags at a discount


Dress: Asos Petite Pencil Dress in cafe cream, sz US1  Necklace: Talbots (old)

In this video, I shared the three places from which I've personally purchased Chanel. When buying from anywhere other than an authorized retail boutique, it's important to:

1. Be familiar with current retail prices, for reference. The amount you can save by not purchasing at retail stores will vary with the age, condition, and "rarity" of the bag. 2011 Classic prices: Petite Shopping Tote - $1595, Wallet on Chain - $1295 to $1595, Classic flaps in all sizes - visit this post for prices.

2. Know almost exactly what you want (style, size, leather type, color, hardware) at set a price cap for yourself, so you're not distracted by non-perfect options or random "bargains" when browsing online.

3. Become an authenticity expert. Some good things to learn about:
 - The serial number (found on both the hologram tag and the authenticity card for each bag) tells you when the bag was made. This site lists serial numbers by year, and what authentic tags should look like.
- The CC logo. The right C should overlap on top, and left C should overlap on the bottom.
chaneltips
- The hardware - This will differ with year and style, but on the classic flap, the snap button and the back of the turnlock closure should be engraved with CHANEL PARIS.
chaneltips3
- Stitching. The quilt stitching should line up neatly on the front flap and back pocket. On the back pocket, it is not one continuous stitch that runs from the purse onto the pocket. The pocket and purse are two distinct pieces that were stitched separately, and joined via a stitch along the outside perimeter of the pocket.
chaneltips1
- Packaging. I usually look for bags with the original box, because boxes are less commonly counterfeited (possibly due to space issues when shipping from overseas). Dustbags, authenticity cards, and even receipts are often included with knockoffs, but the black purse boxes are more rare.

chaneltips2Final thoughts: Beware of really good fakes out there that show all of the above "signs of authenticity." My advice is to not rely on any one of the above or just inspect photos, but to look at the overall big picture. Is the seller a reputable seller with all positive feedback, and a history of many higher-end items? For individuals (not resellers), I like to ask where and when the bag was bought (then checking that year against the authenticity code), for how much, why they're selling it, etc, and asking for large extra photos.

In summary, Chanel classics are timeless bags that I feel are worth the extra research and money. My black flap is hands-down my favorite purchase of all-time. A fellow blogger, Bessie, shared with me photos of her mom's Chanel flap from 19 years ago (retail $990). It's in pristine condition with buttery leather and glowing hardware - a true testament to the quality of the brand and longevity of the style!

While at Bloomingdales, I saw the newest addition to the classic flap family - a size between the Mini and the Small at about 7" long x 5" tall. This bag has a single flap (no smaller flap that snaps inside) and retails for $1900. Here it is on Ping, who is approx. my size.

Other relevant resources:
- IamStyle-ish posted about where to buy vintage Chanel
- Wendyslookbook has videos on buying designer items on eBay
- PetiteLittleGirl shared her journey to find her dream Chanel

Other posts in my series:
- Part I - Review of Chanel Petite Shopping Tote and Wallet on Chain
- Part II - Review of Chanel Classic Flaps

If you have any questions for me (who is not an expert), the quickest way to get a response is through my Twitter or Facebook. Please note that if you are private on Twitter, those who are not following you can't see your message : )

Readers - If you have purchased pre-owned Chanel (or discounted new), please share your shopping experience and any advice!

37 comments:

  1. Your make up is flawless in this video.

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  2. It's hard to find reputable dealers online. So I do my pre-owned purse shopping/trading through friends and family. Enough people were interested that my sister's friend opened up her own pre-owned designer consignment/boutique in Hawaii: The Paris Station. She sells online too at www.parisstation.com/ But in case that doesn't convince you, maybe we can just stalk the petite and purse forums for fellow bloggers selling.

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  3. Thanks for the video and post. This was very helpful and gave me some great pointers for my future channel bag purchase (coming this holiday season.) Good link suggestions as well! :)

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  4. Hi Jean,

    What time frame do you have to contact Pay Pal by for them to refund for a non-authentic item?

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  5. Jean, you're totally gonna hate/shun me for saying this but I recently bought a Chanel look-a-like from Forever21 ... I just love the look of the purse, the quilted leather (in my case vinyl) and the classic chain straps. Sigh...It's gonna be a loooonnnggg time before I can buy the real deal so this will have to do for now :T

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  6. @Anonymous https://cms.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/?cmd=_render-content&content_ID=security/report_problem It looks like 45 calendar days from purchase date.

    @FashionableAsians Don't be silly! Why would I hate/shun you for sharing that : ) Good job finding the quilted/chain look for less!

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  7. Jean: Thank you so much for mentioning me in your post! I think you did a fantastic job in all 3 parts of your purchasing Chanel guide and offered some great tips for your readers as well as the different vendors they can consider! My mom actually purchased her Chanel in 1993 from Bloomingdales and opened that credit card to get the discount too, it was 10%! Things certainly haven't changed much, except our Downtown Chicago Bloomies no longer carries Chanel! Have a great weekend!

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  8. lol yes craigslist is creepy...i hope you brought nick along!!

    i never considered getting a chanel purse until seeing all you petite ladies buy them. i probably won't get one soon, but i know where to go when i do want one.

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  9. jean, you're so funny and entertaining in your videos. thanks for the tips. i watched all three of your videos and you give some great ideas. thanks again! :D

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  10. This was very informative! Thank you for thoroughly explaining and doing a video about this. It is truly helpful. I learned a lot. I love Chanel bags.

    http://sassyuptownchic.blogspot.com/

    SassyUptownChic xoxo Kim

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  11. Your face is so flawless! I love it =] What's your current facial hygiene routine and makeup? I get a bit lazy on a daily base =[

    Thank you for this! I've been wanting a classic Chanel flap purse for so long but never splurge on it... not yet anyways. I just want a few colors c[= teehee... Is the C's just one color or can be many colors? I think I've seen mostly silver but question about the gold.

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  12. Hi Jean,

    Thank you so much for linking me. Your videos are always so helpful. I am sure your readers appreciate the time and effort you put into each post. I can't believe you got your first Chanel on Craigslist. I never would have thought of going there for a Chanel bag =)

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  13. good tip on asking the seller for additional pictures with a specific request! i would've never thought of that. and great video, as always!

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  14. hey jean.. where did you get your rings from? love them!

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  15. Hi jean,

    Thanks for the information. Really useful pcs of information as i'm planning to buy 1 soon. Thanks!

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  16. Hi Jean!
    I'm a senior year Fashion Design student from Brazil. For my final project i'm going to make a collection for really petite women, focusing in tailored clothes, because they are the hardest to find. It was also very hard to find researches sources, so i got delighted when i found your site, because you represent everything I want to show in this work. You wouldn't mind if I'd mention you and your site in my work, would you? It's just because I want people to know I'm not the only one who faces a real challenge when searching for tailored well fitting clothes. Here in Brazil we don't have petite special lines, and even XS (not XXS) size is already hard to find in the stores. Thank you for the attention! Loved your site!!

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  17. Thank you thank you thank you Jean for this post :) I still am on a quest to buy the medium-large flap but they are ALWAYS sold out - I have gotten my name on a few waiting lists but I know it is going to take major persistence to get one around the time of the 20% off promotional Bloomingdale's card sale. Have to call around out-of-state since we don't have Bloomingdale's in TX >_<

    At any rate your posts are always helpful and whenever I need a refresher on Chanel, I reference your site! Thanks again for putting in the time and effort to share your knowledge and experience - means a lot for a Chanel hopeful like me ;)

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  18. To be honest,I've always thought it is ridiculous to spend more than $200 on a bag, let alone $1500. I just don't understand why people would put so much money on a bag...until you talked about Bessie's mom's bag and I just flipped out of my bed! 19 years !?!

    While I still don't have the money to buy a Chanel bag, I totally respects girls that do now. Also, super useful tips Jen! I definitely will try asking online sellers to point at a certain part of an item I want to purchase :) That's really a good idea!

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  19. Thanks for the tips, Jean.

    When I'm ready to buy one of these babies, I'm definitely going to go through your vids again.

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  20. Great post and great tips! I'm looking into getting a vintage Chanel soon..

    http://www.stylish3.com/marylane

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  21. Such great tips and advice - thanks for sharing. I recently posted about my own experience of buying Chanel bags and will post about finding a Chanel suit next. It's just fantastic how so many bloggers are pooling their experiences to help each other and anyone else who needs it because it can be a minefield out there. You just can't be informed enough.

    I will only add that for vintage bags before the mid 1980's, there were no serial numbers and the popper didn't have the Chanel Paris stamp on it. But not many of these have surfaced in good enough condition.

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  22. Thank you for the information. As a fellow Chanel-o-holic, I can offer one tip to your readers (particularly the travelling ones) to save a bit of cash--buy your Chanel purses in Paris at their boutiques. The price, even with the icky euro/dollar rate, always works out to be $100 less. Then you can do the detaxe, which gives you 12.5% back. On a $3k bag that means you save almost $500. In addition, for the vintage fans, look up "depots-vente" (consignment stores) in Paris. They have amazing selection of name brands and you can find great stuff--I once bought a Chanel suit for $200 and a skirt for $50. The shopkeepers of these lux boutiques are bonafide experts in their wares--many of them have been around for over 50 years. The likelihood of them selling fakes is very small, but of course do your due diligence, if it looks bad, it probably is. Happy shopping!

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  23. i love your lipcolor on the video. what are u wearing?

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  24. Hi Jeans, I live your blog. You are very adorable. Thank you for
    sharing your experience about Chanel bags. My question is how can
    you pre-purchase a Chanel bag , then open the credit card and
    still get the discount on it? I called bloomingdales and they said that
    the 20% discount is only up to 100$ . Is that right? Thank you ! Tiffany

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  25. Thanks for this article.. very useful and interesting!

    http://absolutelyfaaabulous.wordpress.com/

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  26. Hi, I recently watched your Chanel YT video. I was wondering if you knew what month or date Bloomingdales would have their 20% with new card discount. Thanks!!

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  27. Hi! I love your post, I really want the clasic caviar Changel medium bag. However, I just started grad school and can't afford it. So when you explained how bloomingdales has a 20% discount I was ecstatic! I have a few questions for you, 1: Do you know if all bloomingdales cary this bag, what bloomingdales did you get yours from?
    2: Do you know the date they run the 20% promotion, I know you said in February. That's so close I am willing to wait till then, rather then risk purchaing one on ebay.
    3: What was the price of your bag with the discount. I am trying to see how much I will have to save. Did you purchase before the price increase?
    I know you have the smaller one, I would be appreciative for either price or both the smaller and medium one!

    I also posted this question on your facebook account... if you could respond on that it would be easier

    Thanks again you are so great!!

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  28. Found a site that sells pre owned luxury items, Loved Luxury

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  29. Can anyone tell me if www.fashionclhandbags.com is real? I am afraid to purchase without knowing. They do not do PayPal, does anybody else know where I could buy Chanel bags for $250 or under. They all seem to meet the requirements you said.

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  30. I am totally against buying fakes or supporting fakes...but honestly at a price of $4400 for a medium/large Caviar leather Classic Chanel Flap bag...I would not mind a close to perfect fake...I am 35 yrs old...with kids and loads of expenses and their classes n tutions...i cannot wait my whole life for the real deal...i might as well get a fake quilted bag n enjoy fashion....Not everyone is born with silver spoon...

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  31. Hi! I love your post, I really want the clasic caviar Changel medium bag. However, I just started grad school and can't afford it. So when you explained how bloomingdales has a 20% discount I was ecstatic! I have a few questions for you, 1: Do you know if all bloomingdales cary this bag, what bloomingdales did you get yours from?
    2: Do you know the date they run the 20% promotion, I know you said in February. That's so close I am willing to wait till then, rather then risk purchaing one on ebay.
    3: What was the price of your bag with the discount. I am trying to see how much I will have to save. Did you purchase before the price increase?
    I know you have the smaller one, I would be appreciative for either price or both the smaller and medium one!

    I also posted this question on your facebook account... if you could respond on that it would be easier

    Thanks again you are so great!!

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  32. you have explained these details so well...that now the guys who make Fakes know how to make real fakes... :)

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  33. Do you know if www.parisstation.com is safe?

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  34. Hi. I LOVE the necklace you have on the Chanel III video. Can you tell me where you bought it from?

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  35. Hi, I like your post, very info. Now I am looking at pre-owned chanel classic flap with small size with lambskin. I wonder if you know how good are portero.com and luxedh.com they sell auth designer bags. Thanks. and also do you think mini flap is too small for 5.2ft height or small will be the best fit? thanks

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  36. I pruchased a lambskin Jumbo Xl chanel quilted flap bag from a dealer on Malleries a few years ago for about $2200- I had it authenticated, and it was the real deal. I carry a ton of stuff in my purse, so although I am 5'2" I needed a bag that size to carry all my stuff. I am in grad school now, so I can't do any more designer handbag shopping for awhile, but I've been very happy with my purchasd so far.

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  37. I just purchased a Chanel lambskin double flap med. vintage bag ( it is on layaway at Luxedh.com) the serial number starts with a 0 and there are seven numbers total. the one thing that I have not seen in other bags is that under the word Chanel it says Coco. have you seen this before in older bags. I really wanted a vintage bag I will not have to worry so much about it getting marks on it. I imagine who the original owner was what she was like and what she did. I think the history behind a vintage Chanel is the best.

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