Buying a Louis Vuitton has always been a dream of mine. Not just because of the brand name, but because of how beautifully they’re made, how classic they look, and all of the amazing fashion history behind the name (the only type of history that can keep my attention 😉 ). However, the price point was just simply out of my league. Don’t get me wrong, my favorite thing to buy is a good handbag and I don’t mind spending some $$ on one that is high quality and will last me a good while. But, I also don’t have a thousand some to spend on one.
Recently I was introduced to the world of vintage handbags (aka “preloved” handbags. This is what I hear them referred to as most). I spent hours scrolling through vintage LVs online; researching and watching Youtube videos all about them. Did you know you can score an LV for under $500? Honestly, I had no idea. And, to my surprise, a lot of vintage LVs are around that price point but of course, it depends on the style and year it was manufactured. There are so many sellers that offer vintage designer bags that are excellent quality!
When my birthday rolled around last month, I knew I really wanted to buy my first LV as a gift to myself. I spent hours on sites like eBay, Poshmark, and other consignment stores until I found a bag in the style I absolutely love, in good condition and at a reasonable price. With all of the research I’ve done I consider myself pretty well versed in the world of vintage LVs and I am here to share this new found knowledge with all of you! I absolutely love my bag and I think it is so cool that someone bought my bag new in the 90’s and was probably so excited to be holding it for years… and now it’s mine to do the same with. Let’s jump right in…
Tips for Buying a Vintage Louis Vuitton Online
Tip #1: Do your research! Don’t blindly buy. There is so much information on the web about vintage LV bags. Always do your research about the bag you want. Some questions to consider include, “What year was this style of bag sold?”, “Does the date code on the bag match this time period?”, “Do the details on the bag line up with the details of an authentic LV?”. There are a lot of fakes being sold as vintage and even new, but if you know what to look for it’s very hard to buy a fake… that’s because it’s very hard for someone to make a fake LV look identical to a authentic LV, especially a vintage LV. In a vintage Louis, there will be patina (a golden color the leather takes due to wear) on the vachetta leather. The canvas will always have symmetry seam to seam on almost all bags (if on one side the seam stops at the LV, the other side will look identical). A lot of vintage LVs have brass hardware, something Louis Vuitton went away from with more recently. And, the lining of a true Loui Vuitton bag will be a rich brown color (unless it’s customized). Here are a few websites that are great to look at for authenticating a vintage Louis Vuitton: Lollipuff, Legos in my Louis, Vintage Heirloom (video), Emma Anders (video).
Tip #2: Like I mentioned above, paying close attention to the date code on your Louis Vuitton can be very helpful when deciding it’s authenticity. There are different ways LV set up date codes depending on the year it was manufactured and each year the bag could possible be tweaked. That’s why understanding how to read the date code and then deciding if the details on the bag correspond correctly with the date it was manufactured is huge! Here, here, and here are great websites to better understand the date codes & below is a chart that helps you to read the date codes.
Tip #3: Do research on your buyer as well! Always be sure the seller you’re purchasing from has positive reviews, has sold other Louis Vuittons, or is easy to access and is open to asking any questions you have. A few great places to look for and buy vintage Louis Vuittons are Ebay, Poshmark, Fashionphile, and The Lady Bag. I am sure there are more but those are the only ones I have come across so far!
Tip #4: Ask lots of questions and see lots of photos! Always have a conversation with the seller, ask them anything you want to know and ask for a few more photos. Sometimes, it’s great to ask for a photo with a specific item in the image so you know they have the actual bag you’re seeing in their listing. Otherwise, it’s possible they’re using web images and you won’t receive the image they claim to be selling.
Tip #5: Have a price in mind and barter! Plus, know how much the specific bag you’re wanting to buy is going for. For example, the bag I bought (LV Noe from 1980-1990) was being sold anywhere from $200-$500 depending on the condition (good condition = no rips in the vinyl, minimal cracking in the vachetta although some cracking is normal and could be due to the climate the bag has been exposed to, minimal staining on the vachetta and interior, and all hardware included and in good condition). So, I knew that listings priced way above that weren’t for me. You have to be patient and know what you have budget for as well as do your research about price so you aren’t getting ripped off!
Tip #6: Take good care of your vintage bag and get an organizer! A lot of Louis Vuittons are like black holes… with minimal pockets on the inside of the bags. Having an organizer (my favorite are from The Original Club) saves you so much time when you’re looking for something in your bag and it keeps the lining of your bag clean and safe from being marked by pens or torn by sharper objects, etc. The Original Club was nice enough to give me a coupon code “WELCOME17” for 10% off your own organizer! They make organizers for so many different designer bags & even have an option to give them the dimensions of a bag they don’t already carry an organizer for. The image below is of the organizer I have and the color “chocolate” matches the original LV lining perfectly!! But, if your bag is customized they have so many other colors to choose from and will help you pick a color if you’re stuck!
I think those are the top 6 tips to find the best vintage Louis Vuitton online! But, if you have any questions please let me know in the comments or via email and I’d be more than happy to help you out! Owning a vintage Louis Vuitton is like owning a piece of fashion history and it’s something really special… so be sure to do your homework and have fun! You won’t be disappointed with your purchase if you stay patient and follow these tips. P.S. Let me know if you’d be interested in a post all about how I clean my bag and got it looking even better after purchasing!