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Vintage Chanel bags - the ultimate guide to buying pre-loved

Luxury vintage seller 'Parisian Sweet' shares his top tips on buying a Chanel handbag

vintage chanel bag
Natalie Salmon
Natalie SalmonFashion Digital Editor
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Few pieces have become as sought after as the vintage Chanel bag. Thankfully, there are now plenty of places online where we can procure the treasured item, and make sure we are contributing to a circular and sustainable wardrobe while doing it.

But how do we ensure that we are making the right decision when it comes to buying a vintage Chanel bag? Well that’s where the expert comes in. Many of you will know Jackariaeh Francis as the face behind the brand Parisian Sweet. He’s a reseller, collector and fashion stylist based between Paris and London who specialises mainly in vintage Chanel handbags, jewellery and accessories.

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MORE: 5 iconic times Kate Middleton has worn Chanel

vintage chanel bag sequin

Chanel bags are a wardrobe staple

He’s known by his devoted Instagram followers for his sharp wit and his ‘Hot or Not’ designer bag reviews, sprinkled with many historical handbag facts on the platform. He’s also passionate about vintage bags and promoting sustainability, “Sustainability is something that I’ve always embraced and supported right from the very start of my career,” Jackariaeh explains.

“I help to teach my followers about authentication, regularly share tips and tricks when it comes to purchasing your first beloved handbags, how to secure yourself some of the best financial investments and brands to avoid when buying store fresh, pre-loved or on the secondary market.”

“Buying a vintage Chanel handbag isn't just about sustainability. It's about channelling a precise moment in fashion history and re-visiting those iconic style makers from the golden age of Hollywood. Think of Renée Zellweger carrying the Chanel reissue in the Judy Garland biopic, Elizabeth Taylor or Audrey Hepburn in the 1960s. There's a magic to those vintage pieces which only adds to their allure.”

RELATED: Vintage designer clothing: 5 items that never go out of style

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If you're looking to make your first investment into buying a vintage Chanel bag there are of course key things you should be looking out for… We asked Jackariaeh to share his top tips on making your first vintage Chanel bag purchase.

What to know before you buy a vintage Chanel bag

First and foremost, make sure you always buy from a reputable reseller, avoid buying from online auction sites unless you have buyer money back guarantee or protection, never bank transfer unless a trusted seller. The market is saturated with mirror image counterfeits and however good the photos are if the price is way to good to be true, it probably is.

How can I tell if my vintage Chanel is in good condition?

Buying a piece in excellent to good condition is very important after you ensure the piece is 100% authentic. Check the condition, over paying on a piece with heavy corner wear or has had a trip to a handbag spa and has been repainted I try to avoid if possible… unless the price is extremely reasonable. Light corner touch up is fine as long as it’s done well. I myself know we all need a little maintenance after kicking around on this planet for a few years. Treat your handbag like you would your skin.

READ: The history of Chanel perfume: everything you need to know about the maison's most famous fragrances

RELATED: Historical handbags and their muses: Why Launer is The Queen's favourite handbag brand

Which style of vintage Chanel bag should I buy?

vintage chanel bag

Invest in a classic colourway

There is nothing like buying a beautiful black classic Chanel with gold or palladium hardware, I always say buy timeless pieces, avoid trends and remember if you look after this piece like a small wearable savings account it will pay you dividends.

What material should I go for?

Find out exactly what leather works best for your lifestyle, lambskin is a far more delicate leather if you’re a lady or gent who’s heavier on their handbags than we recommend caviar or calf leather as they are far more durable, because let’s face it your bag may end up looking like its had two rounds with Mike Tyson if you choose unwisely.

Do Chanel bags go up in value?

Chanel increases the prices of their classic design handbags year on year. Since the pandemic the cost of production and labour has meant that supply can't keep up with demand. Consequently the secondary market is booming so if you are in a financial position to buy a vintage classic flap don't hesitate as it's an investment in style you won't regret. Take the plunge.

Hello! Fashion picks the most stylish vintage Chanel bags out there right now: 

Chanel Caviar Bag

Chanel Caviar quilted shopper bag, £1,995.44, Vestiaire Collective

Chanel Lambskin Bag

Chanel lambskin shoulder bag, £6,700.32, Vestiaire Collective

Chanel Red Bag

Chanel red quilted bag, £4,049.10, Vestiaire Collective

chanel vintage leather satchel

Chanel Kelly Carvier flap handbag, £5,679.93, Vestiaire Collective

chanel vintage leather beige flap bag

Vintage Chanel beige quilted single flap bag, £3,658, Vestiaire Collective


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