Chanel Reviews, Part II - The Classic Flap Bag

For Chanel Part I, visit here: Petite Shopping Tote and Wallet on Chain Review

I get a lot of questions from readers who are considering a classic flap, but are not sure where to begin due to the myriad of options out there. Before I purchased my bags, I did a lot of research on the different variations and the different places to buy from (saving that for a future post). Although there's no need to know exactly what you want, it's helpful to be informed of your options and to set some guidelines. I know it can be apprehensive at times due to snobby SA's, but I recommend going to your local Chanel boutique and trying on a variety of bags. Write down the styles you like, then go home, do research, and shop around for the best price.

*Clarification: "2.55" most accurately refers to Chanel's initial design with a mademoiselle lock and chain straps with no interwoven leather. This was re-released in 2005 as the Reissue. However, the term "2.55" is now loosely used to refer to all flap bags.* (source)

Chanel Flap Variations:

1. Size
The decision that I wavered the most on was size. I thought the small was going be too small, or the M/L was going to be too big. In reality, these two sizes are incredibly similar and both of them work well for someone my height.

Retail prices below are for informational purposes only. I prefer to save by buying pre-owned. I've also linked to modeling pics on fellow petite women.

**UPDATE - Chanel classic flap retail prices as of February 1, 2012:
Medium/Large - $4400
Jumbo - $4900
Maxi - $5300 **

Prices as of June 2011:
Mini Mini or "New Mini" - $1900 7" x 2" x 2.5" (see on the PurseForum)
Mini - $2200, 6.5" x 5" x 2.5" (see on Wendy)
Small - $3700, 9" x 5.5" x 2" (see on me)
Medium / Large - $3900 10" x 6" x 2.5" (see on me)
Jumbo - $4300 12" x 8" x 3"  (see on Elle, Sunshine, and Khatu)
Maxi - $4700 13" x 9" x 4"

One size that I didn't mention in the video (but is very petite friendly) is the East-West flap. This is longer in shape than the classic, and has just a single flap. This was an affordable alternative to the classic, but unfortunately it has been discontinued. If interested, you can try your luck in the pre-owned market. See the E/W on Kelly.

Small vs. Medium/Large (minimal difference)
clasicflap1
2. Leather Type
Lambskin vs. caviar is a very personal decision. I've met women who strongly favor one over the other, and then there are some who love both. Despite all the research I did, I made the mistake of purchasing one bag in light-colored lambskin (I think black lambskin may be less fussy). After carrying my lambskin bag just twice and always storing it after use, I've already had to address small dents, scratches, and fading. On the other hand, all of my caviar bags have been a breeze to maintain.
Caviar vs. Lambskin
clasicflap2
3. Color and Hardware Combo
If you prefer to buy new, a tip is to visit the Chanel boutique before their next collection comes in, and ask to flip through their look book. Their book contains pictures of all the styles and colors that they have on order. If you like to buy pre-owned, the internet holds a vast selection of different color combos from years past.

As mentioned in the video, I think Chanel is trying to phase out the small size that I have in this post. The mini, however, is making a comeback and will be available in black, red, navy, and more as part of their Autumn collection. The M/L and up sizes are usually available in a larger color selection.

In part III, I'd like to share my experience with buying both pre-owned and new, from a variety of places. Stay tuned!

67 comments:

  1. I was considering a Chanel flap recently but decided against it because of the crazy price tag.. it's just too much right now.

    Great guide - I didn't do much research but rather browsed a bit here and there. This will certainly be helpful for the future.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great video Jean! My ultimate holy grail bag is the Jumbo lipstick red caviar with gold hardware. Sadly, it's pretty much impossible to get a hold of =(

    ReplyDelete
  3. Your Chanel collection is gorgeous! I love all the pieces you have picked out! You are so right...when I think about my purses I know they will be passed on to either my kids or nieces. :)

    Lol! at your pause over the date! Too cute! :p

    Nick - write the girl some love letters! :p

    Interesting about your light lambskin purse! I have a black lambskin and love it. It is more of a funky/rugged looking Chanel with the bigger quilts, so the wrinkles in mine look more natural.

    Looking forward to your next installment! :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Impressive video! Though the Chanel flap isn't currently on my wishlist, I'm totally on board with a focus on investing in quality AND utility. And I can attest to the joys of receiving a beautiful vintage purse from Mom!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm 5"1 and have the Jumbo in black caviar and I adore it. I find the size just right to carry around everything for day or night. It's a classic that I know won't ever date, so it was worth it, to me.

    ReplyDelete
  6. OMG Jean, is Nick not sending you enough love notes these days? ;) Very informative, thank you! I'm looking forward to your next video on this subject ;)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Love this review! Great for Chanel beginners. I would love to invest in one.. but the price point is ridiculous after the increase!

    ReplyDelete
  8. These are so lovely-- thank you for sharing! Any tips on where to purchase pre-owned online? I'm always worried about dealing with less than reputable sellers... :/

    ReplyDelete
  9. Your videos are always so informative, Jean! Thank you so much for your help. I love your latest additions. Such classic pieces! I look forward to your next video.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks for the info!

    Btw, what is that top you're wearing?

    ReplyDelete
  11. * covers her eyes * Must ... resist. Must ... resist. This is where I continue to live through all of you bloggers' Chanel purchases.

    Thanks for the very informative post and video. As always Jean, your blog is the first one I go to for style and fashion! ... I just need to update mine. Haha...

    ReplyDelete
  12. Both colors are very beautiful and versatile. I would love to own a jumbo, it seems very functional for people who do not carry light. However I love how the m/l size look on petite frame, it seems very well proportion. Looking forward to your part III.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Great video, as always! I long for the day I can buy my first classic flap. Also, where is your top from? It's gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  14. the video was really informative. thanks. i have the same black chanel 2.55 flap and like you, i prefer the caviar over the lambskin.

    on another note, i noticed that a certain blogger likes to imitate your style. for myself, i don't mind if people take advice and incorporate it into their own personal style but when its copying.....i guess it would REALLY irritate me. just my two cents.....

    ReplyDelete
  15. SSoooo cute! I really want a chanel bag and I love that you pointed out some differences between lambskin and caviar!
    :) Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Also, I hope you get more love letters in the future to put in your secret compartment! hehe :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Great post! I think the Caviar is cheaper than Lambskin? Yours are great choices and I love, love the silver h/w.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks for the information. I'd love to hear your tips on buying used Chanel, as there's no way I can justify buying it firsthand.

    ReplyDelete
  19. ahhhh i just LOVE your videos. i can tell how much time and effort you put into each one; they're so soooo informative. i've usually read that the upper zipper compartment is where Coco kept her love letters, not the inner back compartment? but it makes more sense if it was the one you showed though, it seems more "secretive" hehe. and Nick better start on those letters or else he'll have serious competition from your many admirers ;)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi Jean,

    Thank you for the very informative video.

    I am saving up for my first ( and mayle only) Chanel bag.
    As an experienced Chanel lover, what bag (size, color, leather type and hardware color) would you advise to someone around 5'3" size 00 ?

    Though the difference between small and mediun/large is insignificant, small feels great on but medium/large seems to be more practical (little more roomy inside)

    Hardware is tough to deside as well. I love the classic looks that are also modern.

    You have a fantastic aesthetic. If you could only own one Chanel, which one would it be? Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I really love your eye makeup on this video. Do you have a tutorial for it?

    ReplyDelete
  22. beautiful bags and great video! waiting for the next one :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. great post. thanks for all the info.

    chanel is definitely an investment piece. in the past years, i have stopped buying other bags and save up to get my chanels. with other bags, i regret in a couple of months or years, but with chanel it is timeless.

    ReplyDelete
  24. hello,

    Thank you so much for the great review. I have always wanted a Chanel flap bag, a pink one, like the one in your pics.
    But of course, the price has always held me back. I have to save a little more to get one :)

    xx

    ReplyDelete
  25. This is a great guide and for those of you who dream of adding a chanel to your wardrobe, I highly suggest getting it now versus later. As the price continues to increase yet the style is timeless you can basically lock in your investment now and enjoy it over the years.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Great video, Jean! Thanks for sharing your Chanel expertise!

    I think these bags are so pretty but for the price I just can't justify it right now...I wish!! =)

    ReplyDelete
  27. My son says "hewwo" - thanks for the video! Am looking forward to seeing part 3. Particularly since I went the pre-owned route :)

    ReplyDelete
  28. Such an informative video! Lambskin is undoubtedly better looking in my opinion. The leather is absolutely beautiful and looks so touchably soft. But after hearing the maintenance stories, I've decided I'm a caviar girl. Can't wait to see Part 3!

    ReplyDelete
  29. jean i will refer back this video one day when i want to buy a chanel bag! you sure know a lot about chanel and the history! you should totally go work for them!

    ReplyDelete
  30. @rachel I'll share my thoughts on that topic soon, in Part III! The blogger iamstyleish wrote a post on buying vintage Chanel which was very informative: http://www.iamstyle-ish.com/2011/05/vintage-chanel-bags-where-to-buy.html

    @Anonymous @Ali Thank you! It's actually this dress: ) http://www.extrapetite.com/2011/04/lookbook-spring-crochet-and-citrine.html

    @couturecoco It used to be $100 cheaper than lambskin, but now they retail for the same price.

    @Sunshine You're right in that most online sources say the zippered pouch was where the love letters were hidden but I found one or two that refer to the compartment between the flapts. I totally apologize if I'm spreading false info, hehe, but first of all, the back pouch is much more "secretive" and secondly, I can't fit anything other than a few dimes in the zippered pouch!

    ReplyDelete
  31. @Ping Lol! The funny thing is, the ladies on the purse forum are so much more knowledgeable than many Chanel SA's. I'm always going into my local store and asking them questions and using abbreviations learned from TPF that leave them utterly
    confused....

    @Anonymous Sigh!

    @R.L. I actually love the look of the caviar! I think the pebbled texture looks so elegant : )

    @Mimi Wong Thanks! I wear the same few shadows every day....just good old light taupe, with liquid eyeliner and darker eyeshadow to soften the liquid line. I'm wearing falsies in this video though which makes the eyes look deceivingly nice.

    @Anonymous Hi there, all these choices are a very personal decision based on what you like and your everyday lifestyle, BUT if I were to choose it would be a black caviar flap with silver hardware, in the M/L size. I like my small size, but since you are over 3 inches taller I recommend the M/L. It's just slightly bigger but the inside definitely fits more and makes it a more versatile bag! Good luck in your search!

    ReplyDelete
  32. just wondering why you got the small black classic flap instead of m/l?
    did u just get this bag? cuz i dont remember seeing u carrying it in your blogs.

    ReplyDelete
  33. @Anonymous I've gone to the store in the past to try on all the sizes, and fell in love with the Small size for my 5ft tall frame. I bought both the S and the M/L this February. Haven't shown it on the blog before because there was no need, I guess! : )

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thank you very much for sharing the information. I’m considering the Jumbo size even though I’m only 5’2”, just because I intend to carry around a lot.

    I have a question though, do you know if the hardware also comes in gold tone? So far I see silver tone and I’m not a silver person. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Seriously, could you be any more lovely? I really enjoyed this helpful post on the Chanel Classic Flap. I received mine as a gift from my very generous brother when I graduated from college in the 90's. He was living in Paris at the time, and knew I was craving this bag!!
    Now that I am a Mom of two little boys, I've had to choose more functional and slightly larger bags for my everyday use. But, my Chanel classic is still my "go to" bag for date nights with my hubby, and for important business trips and meetings. Mine is the small flap bag, navy blue with burgundy interior. The hardware was gold-toned but is now silvery due to wear.
    Your post has inspired me to take it out of hibernation and use it more often. I love your blog, as I am also petite. I'm 5 feet 2 inches and generally a size 2P. Thanks again! Great posts!

    ReplyDelete
  36. @Mary-Irene What a great story and a testament of the longevity of these bags! Your brother is very generous indeed. A small navy flap with burgundy interior sounds divine!

    @Lydia Definitely, gold is very common! I showed an example too in the video of what the gold hardware looks like.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Thanks Jean! You've inspired me to buy my very first medium double flap Chanel in caviar leather and silver HW. I'm 4'11" and 92lbs and I opted for the medium vs the small. I picked silver over gold HW primarily cuz I don't wear ANY yellow gold but I still appreciate the classic nature of the gold HW that is identifiable with the classic flap. Hope I made the right choice!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Hmm. I know husband would let me buy one for my 30th birthday in a couple months, but should I? The main issue I have is that the bags are a little dressy to carry around the small city in Colorado where I live now, where North Face gear is considered a stylish outfit! If I still lived in a big city, it would be a lot more "normal" to carry around a dressy designer bag than it is here. Still, I love collecting timeless, classic pieces.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Love this post and will save for future use. I'm thanking Katherine of Feather factor for your interview, from her I found your blog. I know I will enjoy reading your blog too.I'm 5' flat asian gurl and I know your blog will be a great inspiration from dress to accessories for most petite type like us. More power!:)

    ReplyDelete
  40. Hi, thanks for the review! I like how you said we can even pass it down to the next generation, such a long lasting bag haha!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Two things that I would keep in mind after buying my medium flap:

    1) The medium flap doesn't hold all that much, especially thicker items. It stores a small wallet, phone, lipstick, and other items, but items like sunglasses are tough to fit. In the capacity aspect I wish I had bought a jumbo instead.

    2) The medium and small sizes are more versatile if you want to wear the strap long or crossbody. The jumbo and jumbo maxi look silly on petite frames when the straps aren't doubled.

    Just some things to keep in mind for anyone contemplating!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Oh, one more point:

    Although caviar is much sturdier and can be worn everyday without much worry, the Chanel SA told me when I purchased my bag that either version can be completely refinished. So, as long as you are willing to pay for the refinishing, the scratches on your lambskin can be removed!

    ReplyDelete
  43. I hope you see this before the most recent post on where you got your Chanel bags but you already answer your question about the gold vs. silver hardware. Thank you! I love how you explain in details about the different type of leather. Lambskin looks younger and smoother to me. The texture of the other one doesn't seem to fit with me BUT low maintenance is probably what I prefer. Maybe I'll end up loving it instead of the lambskin.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Hi Jean , what is the color code of your taupe flap bag? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  45. hi, do u have the product code for the black chanel bag?

    ReplyDelete
  46. Hi, your video is really awesome! My bf recently bought me the 2.55 beige in small, and I lovee the colour. The only thing is I was considering whether or not to exchange it for a larger size, since it is so expensive we want it to be perfect.

    The things I want to fit inside, JUST fit into the small, my wallet is envelope style, so that along with my phone, and keys fit exactly inside. That is usually all I would bring but occasionally I would like to have the option to maybe bring a camera, sun glasses, or something else, which it seems with this size there is no room for. Where I live, the only other size option in this colour is Jumbo, which comfortably fits anything I would want, but I'm worried it looks a bit to bulky on me.

    I'm a pretty tall girl, 5"7 but have a really thin frame. The Jumbo looks a bit big, more like a day bag whereas the small size looks more elegant. On the other hand the strap is slightly too short for my height. When I wear it with the lengthened version of the strap it falls just above my hip which looks just ok, but definitely cross body WONT fit haha.

    What would you recommend? My two considerations are:
    1. bag size for my frame (I think small looks more elegant)
    2. strap length for my height (small is a bit too short)

    Thanks for any advice!

    ReplyDelete
  47. Thanks for the informative video! Really well done and helpful :)

    ReplyDelete
  48. Wow... I'm shocked to see the current prices. In August 2008, I purchased the Jumbo Flap in Black Caviar with Silver Hardware and it was about $2700 from Saks. It's almost $2000 more now. Crazy.

    ReplyDelete
  49. As I look online at eBay, etc I see multiple bags with an indentation on the top portion of the left "C" (when facing the front of the bag). Is this an indication of a replica or the real thing? I notice neither one of your bags have this indentation...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there,

      The indentation means the bag was made in France. If there is no indentation it means the bag was made in Italy.

      Hope this helps!

      Delete
  50. Hey Jean, Do you somehow know the price of a medium classic flat or the gst after they increase the price on Feb 1st?I was interested in getting one. Thank you~

    ReplyDelete
  51. Hi Jean,

    I just wanted to thank you for your extremely informative and helpful posts on Chanel bags. I recently bought my first Chanel bag. Yay!
    http://polyestherbunny.blogspot.com/2012/03/yet-another-splurge.html

    Keep up the great blogging!

    ReplyDelete
  52. Hi I was wondering weather you had any more pictures of yourself wearing the small black flap. I'm considering getting the small or m/l and I'm about 5"1 too. I probably would prefer the m/l but with the price increases it's about $1k more expensive! I wanted to see how the small flap sits on your shoulder with the double strap as well. If you have any other pics that would be great!

    ReplyDelete
  53. I was just wondering, are those the new prices for the caviar leather bags??

    ReplyDelete
  54. Clarification: The 2.55 does NOT refer to all flap Chanel handbags, but just ti the 2.55. The name refers to the date when it was designed (February, 1955). Most of the pictures showed above are the Timeless CC handbag.

    ReplyDelete
  55. I mean, ALL of the handbags shown above are Timeless CC, one in the caviar finish in calfskin (the balck one) an dthe other in lambskin (the brown).

    ReplyDelete
  56. I loved your tutiorlal ....very informative. I have three Chanels flap bags ..... I have the mini Chanel flap in lamb skin leather, the Chanel 2.55 in lamb skin and the the JUMBO in caviar leather. My next purchase will be the Maxi flap. Chanel is very expensive, but the brand is timeless and will be in style forever (smile)!

    ReplyDelete
  57. Hi I have just seen your post about chanel bags which I really liked a lot. It was very helpful. I went to bonanza website that you suggested however I have a question and would greatly appreciate if you could help me. I do not know if you can answet that but have you noticed that some CC logo on the bags have marks whereas other do not so I am not sure if the merchant is selling an original bag. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  58. The price tag for a classic Chanel... Ouch!! I honestly forgot how much they cost brand new lol. I don't have a problem with pre-owned or vintage Chanel, I actually prefer it. So I buy most of my Chanel handbags online at http://www.theluxurycloset.com/brands/chanel or some times on other sites here and there. But you know what I have never heard of the East West flap O.o I probably have seen it but never noticed the the name. Its now at the top of my list :)Thanks!! Now to go find it ....

    ReplyDelete
  59. beautiful bags!! just wondering.. where are these prices from?

    ReplyDelete
  60. Hi Jean,

    Your chanel review videos - my holy grail to buying one for myself :) I was wondering if you could tell me the seller's name from bonanza.com. I have been researching a lot about buying a classic Chanel piece, but there are too many choices on bonanza. Since, you have previously purchased an authentic piece on bonanze, i guess that seller would be more reliable. Also, I don't want to end up purchasing a fake bag at such a price tag :(

    ReplyDelete
  61. hi jean, i just bought a jumbo caviar double flap fr chanel in paris. however, theres an indentation on my inner flap caused by the zip on the inside, is this normal ? ive pointed this out to the SA but she claims that its like this for all bags hence i didnt think much about it. but after 2 weeks, im starting to feel a lil uneasy about the mark, somehow it made my bag less perfect that i hoped it to be.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Hi! I've been following your blog for a while and just wanted to say thanks for the posts =) I'm about the same size as you (but probably not as slim..!) and I love your style, especially how you mix high street and designer. I was just wondering, as I'm thinking of buying my first Chanel now - if I only ever bought one should I go for the classic black flap? I'm probably not going to use it for work, so would go for a medium (that's about the same size as the one you have now I think) Or I was thinking the cream/black shopping bag from this season? What are your thoughts for a first (and maybe only!) Chanel purchase?

    I'm getting worried that if I don't buy them soon they'll just keep going up in price! I would really appreciate your help!

    By the way - I saw a while back that you passed your CFA level 3 - congratulations! I'm doing my CFA level next June and hopefully in a few years I'll be as well dressed as you :)

    ReplyDelete
  63. I have this bag in lamb skin but as you said too much maintenance. Can you please give some ideas how to take care of it on every day basis.

    ReplyDelete
 
Pin It button on image hover