What to do with inherited bags and clothes

While you might consider yourself quite fashion savvy, you can’t be expected to know everything about vintage brands and their current popularity or value. So what do you do when a loved one passes, and you are faced with a wardrobe of beautiful things that you just don’t know whether they have value, or should go straight to the charity shop?

The first thing I recommend is to do a thorough sort-out.

First, find those items that you loved to see your loved-one wear, or which trigger special memories, and decide if you want to keep these for yourself. A special scarf, a handbag or coat can carry so much sentiment it might be wise to hang on to it, at least for a while.

Next, separate all those items with a known high-street brand label from all those items with a high-end, or designer label. If you’re not sure, a quick moment on Google will help you out.  Brands such as Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, or Fenwick may retail great quality but don’t have a lasting monetary value other than for selling by a charity shop. Handing a collection of clothing to a charity that meant something to the person you have lost feels really good. And don’t worry about sorting out those items you think they can sell from those that are just too worn to retail – charity shops sort everything they receive and the bits they can’t sell themselves are sold by the weight to textile recycling companies, so they still make money.

Once you have sorted those pieces you want to keep or donate from those you think might have value, this is where we come in.

You can send me photos, or bring in your selection, and I will give you an honest appraisal on whether we can sell each item. Generally, vintage clothes don’t sell well unless they are a designer brand people still seek out – pieces by Chanel, Gucci, Givenchy, and Dior, for example, will always pull an audience, as do certain designer names linked to specific periods but with timeless appeal – such as Biba, Mary Quant, Vivienne Westwood, Halston and Pucci, which also easily find their audience – but classic styles of the 60s and 70s by not well-known designers should be taken to a specific vintage retailer. Not sure – just ask, we can happily advise.

What will sell are vintage handbags, jewellery and scarves. Certain brands maintain their value in the eyes of the wearer, or collector, forever. A Chanel handbag from 1973, as an example, will appeal to many, many buyers, as will jewellery and scarves. These brands have fixed themselves in our psyche as ‘most coveted’, hard to come by and forever sought-after. I have a waiting list of people seeking a vintage designer handbag, and you could earn up to 70% of its four figure value.

As always, if it’s very worn, stained, scratched or there are bits missing, it won’t sell, so I won’t retail it for you. Please also launder any clothing you plan to bring in for resale.

If you have questions, or just want to sense-check your thinking, do reach out – we’re always happy to help, especially in what can be quite a difficult and sensitive time.

I’m here to help where I can.

Christine x