The Ultimate Guide To Buying A Chanel Bag
There are few brands that rival Chanel when it comes to buying an investment handbag. The classic flap bags are not just a timeless wardrobe staple, but they also increase in value over time. However, once you’ve made the decision to buy an investment Chanel bag, how do you know which one is right for you?
From the high price tag to the sheer number of styles available, the decision can be daunting enough to make even Choupette’s hairs stand on end. And as the French fashion house brings out new iterations of the classics, as well as exciting one-off pieces, it just makes us want to own one even more.
Of course, most would probably say they’d like to buy the classic Chanel 2.55 flap bag. The iconic piece was first created by Coco Chanel herself when she got fed up with carrying her bag in her arms. To free her hands, she decided to add straps, an idea she took from the soldier’s bag.
As with practically everything the iconic designer created, it was a revolutionary take on a classic item, as all handbags for women up until that point were carried. The 2.55 bag was launched in 1955, hence the name. However, it wasn’t until the ’80s, when Karl Lagerfeld took the helm, that the double-C locks were introduced.
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Buying A Chanel Bag
From how much you should expect your Chanel bag to appreciate at price to understanding how to spot a fake, the tips you see here comprise the ultimate guide to buying a Chanel bag.
1- Know which popular styles will go up in value over time
The medium or jumbo Chanel flap bags that were selling back in 2000 are still super-hot today. But if you had to nail it down to a style right now, I’d say the medium Chanel Boy Bag is [one of] the most popular.
If you want to be sure that your bag will continue to gain value over time, stick with the basics. Go with a classic black Chanel flap bag made in lambskin or caviar leather. The crazy thing is that Chanel continues to raise the retail price on these styles every year or two. So if you bought your jumbo flap in 2006, it cost you $1885. If you buy that same bag in 2015, it will cost you $5770! This means that if you bought your bag back in 2006 and decided to sell it today, you can potentially make up to $4000 more than what you paid for it. Truth be told, if you hold on to any Chanel bag long enough (10+ years), you’re going to have some real value locked into that bag.
2- Spot the rare collectible pieces
This is actually one of the things we adore about Chanel—the really cool, collectible, super-limited pieces. You actually have to hold on to them longer if you care about resale value because they’re special and usually have a higher price point out the gate. Some of the favorites are the minaudière clutches, such as the vinyl record minaudière, the cassette tape, and the gold bar. The S/S 04 cassette tape bag retailed for $1600. Fashionphile once received a clear one that’s a tiny see-through clutch. Never seen one sell before and ended up listing it for $9000. It sold in 30 minutes.
3- Find out which hardware best suits you
Sometimes more bells and whistles make a bag harder to resell. All the beading and Tweeding look amazing (and we love carrying a bag that no one else has)! But if you care about resale, all those extra trappings don’t help. Stick with styles that have the traditional chain strap, a visible logo, and you’re good to go. The vintage hardware was made with 24k-gold alloy—you can tell these bags by the little hallmark embossed in the crossing CCs.
4- Learn the red flags of counterfeit bags
If you aren’t an expert in Chanel authentication; the most important thing to look out for is that you’re buying from a reputable seller. There are all kinds of businesses now that mean well but have a no-returns policy and one authenticator. ‘No returns’ is a red flag. Some of the higher-quality fakes even have registration numbers, holograms, cards, come with receipts, and are made of quality leather and hardware. Don’t be fooled just because a bag has these features. If you need help, use an online authentication service.
The Chanel Bag Styles
Chanel’s backpacks have been popular for decades now, but they’re experiencing a particular resurgence at the moment: Here, you can see a fashion influencer carrying one around at fashion week.
Chanel Gabrielle Bag
Gabrielle is one of the latest additions to the classic Chanel bag lineup. Featuring a double strap that you can wear both on your shoulder and across your body at the same time; it has proven to be an eye-catching version no street style star can resist.
Classic Flap Bag
The classic flap bag traditionally can be recognized by the interlocking CCs (introduced by Karl Lagerfeld in the ’80s and now a permanent fixture), as well as the interwoven leather-and-chain strap. The classic flap comes in three sizes (small, medium, jumbo), and in many fabrications and iterations.
Chanel Boy Bag
First introduced for spring/summer 2012; Chanel’s Boy bag is a more tomboyish, younger alternative to the ladylike, mature bags that came before it. The style—named after Coco Chanel’s lover, Boy Capel—still holds up as a mainstay on the street style scene.
Buying a Chanel Waist Bags
The waist bag wasn’t around in Coco Chanel’s time, but it is a style Lagerfeld has come back to again and again. Celebs like Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid are fully backing the fanny-pack trend, choosing dainty Chanel styles to join the hands-free club.
Buying a Chanel Collector Bags
No one can ever predict where Chanel’s most outrageous novelty bags will go next. But one thing’s for sure: They stay in a fashion editor’s memory— who could forget this hula-hoop bag from 2013? This season, it’s the beach ball Minaudiere that’s catching our eye.
Chanel Minaudière Bags
You’ll find that many of the collector pieces revolve around smaller, intricate, often humorous minaudière bags. This boxy logo style was carried recently by Suki Waterhouse to the Serpentine Gallery summer party, and you can request the price in-store; should you desire it for your own wardrobe—as is the case with many of these ultra-luxe minaudières.
Chanel 2.55 Bags
Coco Chanel debuted the 2.55 in 1929, updating it in 1955 once more, hence the name. It was first introduced to the market because the designer was sick of clutching a bag under her arm. Decades later, it still gives a girl the same amount of happiness, if not more. You can tell a 2.55 from its rectangular fastening and the chain handle (which doesn’t have leather woven into it, unlike the flap).
How to Tell If Chanel Bags Are Real or Fake
Chanel purses are considered some of the most luxurious in the handbag market. Due to the fact they’re sought after by fashionistas worldwide, there are many replica purses made that try to copy the authentic look of Chanel. However, it’s easy to tell whether a Chanel purse is real or fake if you know what to look out for.
How to Spot a Fake Chanel Bag From the Exterior Leather
Authentic Chanel purses are either made from lambskin or caviar leather (made from calfskin). Often, you can tell if a purse is fake based on the look of the leather.
Quality of Real Chanel Bags
For instance, a lambskin Chanel purse will have a buttery soft texture, whereas caviar leather will have a bubbly aesthetic. Essentially, if the leather doesn’t look like the highest possible quality, then you’re probably dealing with a counterfeit product.
Quilting Differences in Real and Fake Chanel Bags
If the product in question consists of Chanel’s signature diamond quilted design, an authentic purse will have consistent lines that align at every opportunity. If the lines are misaligned around the fastening, across the flap, or anywhere else, consider you have a fake Chanel purse.
Stitching in Real Chanel Bags
All authentic Chanel purses have a high stitch count (more than ten stitches per inch) for durability and added value. If the purse you’re checking out has fewer than ten stitches per inch and looks puffy, then it must be fake. After all, replica manufacturers lower the stitch count to reduce the cost of craftsmanship so they can sell their purses for a fraction of the price of an authentic Chanel.
Structure Differences in Real and Fake Chanel Bags
Fake Chanel purses don’t stand up straight and usually have a boxy shape in comparison to genuine Chanel bags. They also have rounded corners due to the poor quality material used to construct the bag. As Chanel epitomizes luxury and uses the best materials that are made to last, they are much more sturdy, structured, and stand up straight.
Lock and Hardware in Real Chanel Bags
You can easily tell the difference between a real Chanel bag and a fake Chanel purse if you analyze the lock fastening and/or hardware.
Hardware Differences in Real and Fake Chanel Bags
Chanel purses like the classic 2.55 quilted flap handbag from previous years feature the Chanel designer’s iconic interlocking double C logo. If the bag is authentic, this hardware will be very well-defined and centered; with the right C crossing over the left C at the top of the logo and the left C crossing over the right C at the bottom. The width of each C should also match the width of the gap between the two C’s demonstrating further precision. In terms of the finish, the logo on an authentic Chanel will have a smooth; flat edge and sometimes a marking on one C, which indicates the country where the purse was made.
Double C Lock in Real Chanel Bags
On any real Chanel purse, the inside of the lock should state “Chanel” on the left-hand side and “Paris” on the right-hand side. The lock should also be attached by two flathead screws and look perfectly parallel to the edge of the bag or the flap (if it has a flap). Any lock that appears wonky or has the screw popping up is an undeniable fake.
Zippers Are Important Telltale Signs in Fake Chanel Bags
Inspect your zipper and make sure it is one of the few genuine types that Chanel purses use. These include the Lampo zipper for metal teeth, the EP zipper featuring a leather pull tag, the three C’s in a circle zipper, the OPTI DMC zipper, the éclair zipper, the DMC zipper, the YKK zipper, and the no mark zipper found on vintage Chanel bags.
Chain and Leather Woven Straps in Fake and Real Chanel Bags
You can learn how to spot a fake Chanel bag or spot a counterfeit Chanel purse just by glancing at the straps.
Chanel’s Gold Chain for Purses
One of Chanel’s signature strap designs is a chain and leather combination woven together. The chain section is made with 24-carat gold that is rich and yellow in hue, making it feel quite heavy. However, fakes often use a pale yellow gold chain that isn’t authentic gold and therefore feels incredibly lightweight as a result.
Stitching Reveals Authentic Chanel Purse
In terms of the stitching on an authentic Chanel purse strap, it should be clean and seamless. You shouldn’t be able to see any crooked lines or bumps, like with a counterfeit version.
Interior Detailing for Real Chanel Bags
It’s not just the exterior of a Chanel purse that gives the game away when it comes to its authenticity. You should analyze its interior detailing too.
For a clear indication of whether a Chanel purse is real, check how closely the lining sits within the body of the bag. It should be tight to the edges with a smooth finish unlike with a fake, where the lining is lumpy and ill-fitting.
Most authentic Chanel purses have a quilted interlocking C logo on the inner flap or body. The “Chanel” gold stamping should be approximately 1.5 cm below this logo and be 3.3cm in width, otherwise, the purse is a replica. There should also be a stamp stating “Made in France” either directly below the “Chanel” stamping or opposite it on the inner body.
Authenticity Card in Each Real Chanel Bag
Every real Chanel bag comes with an authenticity card in one of its compartments. This should have gold edges, be as thick as a credit card, and feature perfectly aligned text. If the card in your purse has a multi-colored hologram effect, is thin like cardboard, or the text is misaligned, then you have to question if it is genuine. Chances are, it’s a fake Chanel bag.
Serial Sticker Found Inside Real Chanel Bags
Inside every Chanel purse ever made, there will be a small, white serial sticker attached to the lining in the bottom left-hand corner. This serial sticker should contain a six, seven, or eight-digit code indicating when the purse was manufactured. If the serial sticker of a purse has more than an eight-digit code or doesn’t have a sticker at all, then it’s clearly a fake Chanel bag.
Chanel Dust Bag
The final indication of whether a Chanel purse is real or fake involves the dust bag that it comes in (or if it comes with a Chanel dustbag at all!). Chanel purses have different types of dust bags they’re sold in, whether you’re buying or renting. The Chanel dust bag is just as high quality as the purse itself. Common authentic Chanel dust bags include:
- A cream felt version with a centered double C logo in black and no drawstring
- A black fabric version with a centered double C logo in white and no drawstring
- A black fabric version stating “Chanel” centrally in white with a drawstring
- A cream felt version with diamond quilting design in black and a flap instead of a drawstring
If your purse is provided with a dust bag that looks and feels cheap or isn’t provided with a dust bag at all, then this should be a major red flag.
Spotting a Replica Chanel Purse
Even though it can be sometimes difficult to spot the difference between a real Chanel bag and a replica at first glance; it becomes obvious as soon as you start examining the product. Always remember fake purses cut corners with their manufacturing process to keep the costs down, and that is often reflected in the detailing.
Buying A Chanel Bag – Chanel Purse Pricing
Coco Chanel will forever be a fashion icon, and her famous phrase, “A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous,” will always remind women of her and her timeless bags. The most coveted Chanel bags include the Classic Flap, 2.55 Handbag, Wallet On Chain (WOC), the Boy bag, and the Lego clutch. See what you can expect in terms of prices on some of the most popular Chanel styles.
The Classic Flap Bag
The Classic Flap bag is one of Chanel’s iconic pieces, which means that it is a mainstay in the collection, and each season there are different variations of this bag made. Prices for new bags vary depending on size and material. The current collection includes bags made from knits, tweeds, printed denim, and more, which range in price from about $5,800 for a grained calfskin style to around $9,000 for a black velvet version.
Some of the most sought-after and popular of these Classic Flaps are the caviar leather and the lambskin versions, which both have the same pricing. This bag has Chanel’s signature quilted pattern, comes with either gold or silver-toned hardware; has straps intertwined with leather and hardware, and it has Chanel’s classic “CC” front closure.
- For a Classic Flap in lambskin or caviar leather, the large size (7.7 x 11.8 x 3.9 in) currently retails for $5,900.
- The medium version of this bag retails for $5,300 and its dimensions are (6.3 x 10.2 x 2.8 in).
- The small version of this bag (5.5 x 9.1 x 2.8 in) retails for $4,700.
There is no price difference between the gold and silver hardware choices for the lambskin or caviar version.
The 2.55 Handbag
This bag, also referred to as the Reissue, is similar to Chanel’s other Classic bags, but it has just enough style to make it a totally different bag. The 2.55 stands for February 1955, the year in which this bag was first sold, and the term “Reissue” is also associated with this bag because every year Chanel issues another version of it.
The current 2.55 bag is made of aged calfskin and either gold, silver, or ruthenium metal. The leather here looks “crackled” and the chain is different, having a more intricate woven design made entirely of metal. It is quilted and has a similar shape to the Classic Flap. The front clasp also does not feature the famous “C’s” but rather a more subdued closure.
- A jumbo 2.55 Reissue bag measures (7.9 x 12.4 x 3.9 in) and sells for $6,400.
- A large 2.55 Reissue bag will cost you $5,900 measuring (7.5 x 11 x 2.4 in).
- For a medium 2.55 Reissue bag measuring (6.5 x 9.4 x 3 in), you can expect to pay $5,300.
This bag does not have a price difference for its different hardware options.
Wallet On Chain
Chanel’s Wallet On Chain, better known as the WOC, is considered much more of a purse than just a wallet. Carried by celebrities, bloggers, and fashionistas, this WOC can be worn everywhere. It’s a purse, a crossbody, a wallet, and a clutch all in one. The WOC comes in many different varieties and it doesn’t disappoint. Examples of pricing include:
- The Classic WOClooks like a smaller version of the Classic Flap. This grained calfskin (4.8 x 7.6 x 1.4 in) bag retails for $2,500.
- With the same dimensions and structure as above, the Boy WOC in grained calfskin leather retails for the same price as the Classic WOC at $2,700.
- Keep in mind that because there are different types of Classic WOC’s and Boy WOC’s that cause pricing to vary. For example, a Classic WOC made of metallic goatskin retails for $2,900 each; the sequin and pearls version WOC is sold for about $4,250.
The Boy Bag
The Boy bag is one of Chanel’s newer editions. It’s a modern bag that has tons of variations. You can expect to pay more for certain versions. For this bag style, most fashionistas favor the bold over the simple. Whereas the previously mentioned handbags are coveted in the classics, the Chanel Boy bag is most sought-after in its funkier designs.
You can find some of the more unique small styles, such as the tweed and lambskin version, starting at around $4,300. Because the more unique ones are most coveted, the price of the large and medium sizes will go up substantially depending on their embellishments and material types.
More examples of pricing for Boy handbag styles include the following:
- For a large Boy bag consisting of just calfskin and normal silver-tone hardware, you can expect to pay around $5,200. The bag dimensions are 6.8 x 10.9 x 2.9 in.
- A medium Boy with calfskin and ruthenium costs about $4,700, with measurements of (5.7 x 9.8 x 3.1 in).
- A small Boy Bag (4.7 x 7.9 x 2.8 in) that is made of python and lambskin costs about $5,600; the higher cost for the small size is because of the python leather.
The Lego Clutch
This plastic plexiglass bag was introduced in 2013 and it has steadily grown to be a fan favorite. Chic and trendy, this bag is for the young or at least the young at heart. Shaped like a Lego brick, this fun clutch also has a chain strap hidden on the inside, so it can be carried over the shoulder as well. Not currently part of Chanel’s collection, this beauty needs to be purchased from a reseller.
Prices for this bag are crazy high, but you don’t have to waste five times a month’s rent on one of them. Some resellers claim this bag is worth $15,000, but this is where you can get tricked into an insanely high purchase price for the Lego. This is an investor’s and collector’s item, so inevitably it will be expensive. However, if you are lucky enough to find one of these gems, an acceptable price to pay would be roughly between $5,000 to $8,000.
Some pricing examples include:
- Fashionphile, a luxury resale shop that promises 100 percent authenticity or your money back, has a Pink and Orange Chanel plexiglass clutch available for about $4,550.
- Vestiaire Collective has a Black Chanel Lego Boy that is embellished with silver details for about $2,650.
Buying a Pre-Loved Chanel Bag
In the handbag community, a gently used purse is known as a “pre-loved” item. Because Chanel handbags retain their value, most users take extreme care of their bags, knowing they can resell them later.
So what does it cost to purchase a pre-loved Chanel bag? It depends on the condition of the bag, as well as its particular style, but prices generally start around $2500. They can go all the way up to the double digits in the thousands, especially for unique styles. A few examples of bag prices for popular pre-loved items include:
- You can find pre-loved Chanel Classic bags at NYC favorite, What Goes Around Comes Around. A medium quilted lambskin Classic bag is selling for about $3,500. This is almost half of the current new retail price.
- Buying a 2.55 Reissue bag hurts your wallet a lot less when you purchase it secondhand. For example, this pre-loved black aged calfskin Reissue bag is available for $3,660 in the jumbo size.
- The ever-popular WOC is sold in a variety of styles at Vestiare Collective, a French-based luxury resale community that authenticates all its items. While prices vary, you can typically find a WOC for nearly half of its new retail price. For example, a quilted black lambskin WOC sold for just over $1760 (retail priced new at about $4300).
Every Girl Deserves Buying a Chanel Bag
Every woman deserves a real Chanel purse, but sometimes this is easier said than done. Whether you are considering one of the latest bags or looking for a pre-loved purse, understanding more about the prices can help you be more knowledgeable and know what to expect when shopping. Keep in mind Chanel’s different pricing for more exotic leathers and embellished pieces, but be armed with general prices as you shop as well.