12 Tips for buying second hand designer online

12 Tips for buying second hand designer online

I’ve had my fair share of designer item fails when purchasing second hand online and I’m here today to share some tips I’ve picked up when hunting for a designer item online. I’ll also put my hands up and say I’ve tried a few knock off items whilst on holiday in Turkey or Thailand (“Miss, it’s a genuine fake – just as good as real thing” 🙄) so have gained a lot of experience in fakery. Not my proudest moments in life and the last one in Thailand was because I needed a bag and couldn’t find anything that wasn’t a knock off. But you know I’m all about keeping it real here and a quick disclaimer: I wouldn’t ever purchase something fake (knowingly) anymore – we all have our past!
It’s a minefield of fakery out there, so hopefully this post will help you navigate through the tat to find the treasures!

  1. The product descriptions are key when searching for designer wear (no matter what it is you’re looking for) – when I first click on something, I always make sure to look out for “Gucci Style” or “Mulberry Style” (or whatever brand you’re searching for “style”) because that means the seller can’t verify its authenticity or they’re aware it’s a fake. If an item is genuine, you’re likely to have a more thorough description and maybe confirmation of where the item was purchased – be wary of “Genuine Mulberry Bag” without much else to go with it, it probably doesn’t indicate you’re getting something genuine
  2. Check the photos VERY carefully! Now I don’t mean to check whether it looks as amazing as it should because the design is amazing and what you’re after; check for pictures of the item up close; the stitching should be immaculate, hardware should be in the correct place and there shouldn’t be just one picture of it. If you’re unsure, go onto the designer’s website to check their product pictures and see whether it matches exactly. This can sometimes be difficult distinguishing from photos as they might not be showing the dodgy parts, but it can give you a bit of reassurance until you see the item in real life (if you decide to take the plunge!)
  3. If the product has a serial number (usually on accessories like sunglasses, belts, purses, bags etc.) make sure to Google search the serial number to check it’s not a common one used for fakes – there are normally loads of sites listing the common ones to look out for so it’s definitely worth dropping the number in there to find out
  4. Try to get some proof of purchase – whether that’s a copy of a receipt or a certificate of authenticity. A lot of brands will provide these if you’ve purchased something you’re not sure about and eBay/PayPal will insist on you obtaining these if you’re disputing a purchase- if you can’t see in the product description whether they have this, drop them a message to ask! Most of the time they’ll share that in their description as it makes the item more desirable due to it being authenticated
  5. Check the feedback from the seller and what other items they have for sale. If they’re selling various designer items with photos they’ve taken themselves and they’ve had great feedback, you’re probably onto a winner. But if they’re using stock pictures from a brand’s site, I’d say to steer clear
  6. If a seller doesn’t have any feedback, it doesn’t automatically mean they’re dodgy, but it can be a warning sign if they’ve only got one item available for sale, or the same one in different variations – ain’t nobody got time for that!
  7. Always shop around and check what the average price for a secondhand item of your choice usually is – you don’t want to overspend on something you’ve first seen if someone else is selling for a more genuine price. I found this a lot when I was shopping for my Mulberry Taylor bag – someone might have purchased it originally for £900 but that doesn’t mean it’s still worth that amount, despite it being unused in its dust bag
  8. If the price looks too good to be true, it more than likely is. I learnt the hard way when purchasing a fake Gucci Marmont belt on Depop and it’s a pain in the arse trying to get your money back from a seller who’s profile has mysteriously vanished or doesn’t reply to your pleas for a refund!
  9. ALWAYS PAY THROUGH PAYPAL!! I cannot stress this point enough! If you’re buying on eBay or Depop, then PayPal is always an option and gives you buyer protection for when an item isn’t genuine or doesn’t turn up (I’ve been victim to both – the Gucci Marmont belt as mentioned earlier was a fake, but I also purchased a Mulberry bag on eBay a few years ago which the buyer didn’t end up sending 🙄)
  10. Try selling some of your old clobber to help fund the purchase. Before I bought my last Mulberry bag secondhand, I had an old vintage one that I’d impulse bought and an old smaller one that I wasn’t using anymore, so I popped it on eBay and used most of the money I got from selling those to fund my new purchase!
  11. If you’re wanting to drop quite a bit of coin on something, make sure you REALLY want or need the item you’re looking for – it’s easy to get wrapped up in the whirlwind of online shopping and you might not have wanted those neon coloured Christian Louboutin shoes yesterday, so sleep on it and go back tomorrow or a few days time. Your bank account will thank you for it
  12. And the final tip comes from Aaron “buy with your head and not your heart” which I thought was a great one! So often you can want an item so badly that you can’t see any of the above points, so you’ll go with your heart, only to find out later that you’ve bought a PVC Louis Vuitton bag that “definitely looked like genuine leather” in the photos – save yourself heartbreak and keep on looking

And those are my little nuggets of wisdom when it comes to buying designer online, if you want some more specific, popular brand related posts, make sure to check out the following links to find some more tips;

Let me know in the comments if you’ve had any second hand designer fails and if you’ve got any tips to add to my list!


  1. jazziepickles
    March 26, 2018 / 10:34 pm

    I’ve never actually thougt of buying designer second hand so this post has opened up a whole new world for me to explore and hopefully buy something genuine and pretty!

    • March 27, 2018 / 5:36 pm

      Ahhh Jazzie it’s so bloody addictive I tell ya! I go through phases of sorting through everything until I find something that curbs the urge for a while 😂❤️

  2. March 27, 2018 / 5:36 pm

    It’s always hard for me to find authentic designer bags, so this definitely helped! Saving this in my archives👏🏾

    • March 27, 2018 / 5:37 pm

      Ahhh thanks lovely – how funny that I was just lurking on your blog just now 😂

  3. meganrosel
    March 27, 2018 / 8:06 pm

    This is such a handy post! I’ve on the market for a Gucci belt but was so frustrated with the amount of clear fakes i just gave up! xxx

    • March 27, 2018 / 9:22 pm

      Thanks lovely!! I did a post about a fake Gucci Marmont belt I got conned for a while back which might help! So many fakes of them out there! Xxx

  4. March 27, 2018 / 9:34 pm

    The bit about “genuine fake” in Turkey made me laugh so much because I actually walked past a shop in Turkey with that exact name! Bloody hilarious. My favourite thing is with online products when the title of the item is like pages and pages long, it’s so obvious that it’s fake. These are some really useful tips though – I always make sure to go through PayPal now as I’ve heard so many horror stories, I’m way too paranoid about where I enter my bank details! But rightfully so I suppose x
    Alice | http://www.accordingtoalicex.com

    • March 27, 2018 / 9:35 pm

      Right?!!! I was laughing when I was writing it and picturing the guys eyeing up my genuine Mulberry purse for tips on how to make theirs look real 😂😂 thank you lovely ❤️❤️

  5. March 28, 2018 / 1:55 pm

    Honestly, I have never had the money to buy real designer things and I don’t think I ever will so buying a fake for a fiver is usually good enough for me, haha! My mum is really into her designer bits though and she always spends so long checking whether an item is real if it’s secondhand. I definitely agree about going through Paypal for everything and don’t transfer money through ‘friends and family’ unless they are just that as otherwise you don’t get the protection either! I’ve gotta say, I would love myself a Louis Vuitton bag someday though…
    Alice Xx

    • March 28, 2018 / 5:14 pm

      I was the same for ages until I learnt how to shop a bit savvier for the more expensive bits – I’ve come to accept I won’t be donning a Louis Vuitton bag (agree I’d love one too lol) but I can make do with a Michael Kors discounted at TK Maxx which I know I’ll get the wear out of 😉❤️

  6. March 30, 2018 / 10:33 pm

    This is such a helpful post and I’ve never thought to shop for second hands seeing as they could literally be new and not used! I’ll keep your tips in mind for when I have a browse 🙂
    Lily | The Wellbeing Edit

    • March 30, 2018 / 11:50 pm

      Ahh deffo worth having a look if you’re after something which you know will take forever to buy new! Thanks lovely! ❤️

  7. March 31, 2018 / 4:27 pm

    I am always so careful when buying second hand designer wear.There is this shop that sells some second hand designer stuff and I really love that because then it check and prices right

    • March 31, 2018 / 10:59 pm

      Ahh there are some great places online that do the same thing – I think Vestiaire is the big one that does it!

  8. charlotteannelane103
    April 2, 2018 / 9:35 am

    I have never purchased designer second hand cos i”m scared I’ll buy a fake and then not even notice haha.. These are all great tips!!xo
    Char | http://www.charslittleblog.co.uk

    • April 2, 2018 / 9:37 am

      Ahh you’re missing out on some bargains (and some major investigation 😂) but thank you lovely! ❤️

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