Knowing what to buy can save you time and money. Here are some tips broken down into the above categories before you make that vintage purchase.
The Beaded handbag:
The workmanship on these kinds of bags are generally intricate. They are mostly used for special occasions. Before buying a beaded handbag, take a close overall look at the bag's beads, are there any missing? Would you be able to find a matching bead if one falls off? Do you feel confident that you can sew or glue another bead on if needed? Is the bag in reasonable shape, take a look at the stitching, are there any stitches missing or loose? Does the bag have any odors that are strong that may bother you if you can't remove them? Are the beads smooth? Is anything catching your hand as you run across it? These questions will help you to make a quality decision and one you will not regret later.
|Yes, they are all mine, this is only about 1/2 my collection.|
Once the closer is loose, it's very hard to fix this problem, the result is that your bag may fly open on you at any time. Before you buy, ask the sale associate if you can put a few of your items into the purse, can you close it? I have noticed that if I over stuff a bag or if my items are heavy in nature, that the weight can make these purses pop open, even if they are not overstuffed. It's good insurance doing this little exercise to know you have a bag you can rely on to stay closed. Next, do you see any dents in the patent that bother you? If you look at a patent leather bag from the side you may find some denting and scratches. Unfortunately, the dents do not remove completely, but there are so ways to make them less noticeable. I have had some luck with scratches, but not tears in the patent, although there are repair kits. Finally, take a look from the side of the handbag. Does the handbag's lines still form a symmetrical shape or is it misshapen? I have noticed that these types of bags warp over time. Which means they will not look like a perfect triangular shape from the side.
Some have been stored incorrectly and problems have occurred. There are a lot of great bags out there, but there are a lot that look wonderful at first glance, but are full of problems.
Straw/ fabric bags:
Essentially you will be looking for tears, rips and worn out handles. Also, do the rub test, rub the fabric between your fingers. If there is a lot of disintegration, and the fabric is rubbing off into your hands the handbag may be in poor condition. Fabric does age over time and looses it's integrity. Weakened fibers generally won't hold up too long. Inspect these bags thoroughly and if they pass your test, You have a great find.
Leather bags last for years. Mostly with these types of bags they just need a good cleaning. If there is any cracking/peeling or cuts in the leather, you may want to skip buying that bag. If you see fading around the edges of a bag, this can be fixed easily. I will be covering this in the repair post.
Also, you may have noticed that I didn't speak about the linings of all vintage handbags. I never let that hold me back from buying one, because I replace them. Which I will cover in the repair post. If you are not into putting a new lining in, you will need to take a good look and sniff to see if this bags is going to be worth it. Stains in fabrics sometimes come out, other times they just won't.
Where to Buy the real thing:
Vintage purses are not like vintage clothing, they are easy to spot. Vintage purses feel heavy, the linings and inside zippers give them a way too. If you are unsure, ask. As you shop for vintage, you'll get a eye for it. Finally, even though I have bought several vintage purses online through Ebay and Esty, I have learned this is not always the best way. In general, I have limited myself from buying handbags off the internet because a picture can't really tell the whole story. I bought one expensive bag online and it was warped and wouldn't sit on the counter without falling over. The pictures looked great, but they hung the bag from a hook and never disclosed that the bag was warped. So I am sticking with going to antique shops and vintage stores. I haven't had a lot of luck at the thrifts.
It has been such a joy to carry a vintage purse everyday. Next post will be cleaning and storing your vintage bags.
Have a wonderful Vintage day!