TSG Tip 116

Nothing instills envy quite like a fabulous vintage piece. Rare, soulful, and time-tested, prized vintage items are essential to any well-edited closet. To help us know what to look for when scouting our next vintage find, we asked the experts at Aspen-based luxury consignment boutique The Little Bird for advice; here are their recommendations:

Deciding when to splurge: Consider the style and brand. There are clear winners when it comes to lines that retain or increase in value, such as Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Chanel, and Bottega Veneta. When shopping specialty pocket designers that come and go, choose wisely; this is truly a matter of personal taste and what you want to see in your collection. Just remember that if you are considering reselling down the line, not everyone may see the same value in your treasure.

When considering designer handbags: It was a monumental time when designer handbags began selling for over $1,000. In today’s market that price would be considered a steal. Luxury brand handbags are always a wise investment. For specialty vintage items, look for Chanel, Bottega Veneta, Carlos Falchi, Roberta di Camerina, Hermès, and Louis Vuitton. Also, consider investing in a beautiful skin bag with no brand. Ostrich, lizard, crocodile, and alligator handbags are timeless if well cared for.

When considering designer shoes: Although shoe styles change with the wind, eventually everything comes back around. Pack away those square-toe Pradas for now and pull out your vintage skinny strap Manolos, but never let anything get too buried in your closet.

When considering vintage designer clothing: Vintage couture clothing is a matter of personal preference. If you find something that you feel dynamite in, then you should absolutely indulge.   If a garment has been well cared for and compliments your body, age, and style, then purchase it with confidence and wear it with pride!

When considering vintage accessories: One of the best additions to any wardrobe is a great vintage accessory. Be on the look for Hermès scarves, Chanel jewelry, or fabulous costume jewelry.

How to authenticate: Remember that the world of counterfeit designer goods is mainly handbag-centric (although Christian Louboutin shoes did make a splash on the knockoff scene starting roughly 5 years ago). Utilize the Internet—there is a wealth of resources out there, including videos on YouTube and blogs like Purse Forum, where dedicated experts and shoppers share valuable information. Know that a truly valuable piece will include a serial number, fine leathers and materials, impeccable stitching and hardware, and a quality lining (in handbags). And always purchase from a trusted source and ask for original receipts or ensure a return policy if the piece is deemed inauthentic.

TSG Tip 116 and image from The Little Bird in Aspen, CO.