Dress: Asos Petite Pencil Dress in cafe cream, sz US1 Necklace: Talbots (old)
In this video, I shared the three places from which I've personally purchased Chanel. When buying from anywhere other than an authorized retail boutique, it's important to:
1. Be familiar with current retail prices, for reference. The amount you can save by not purchasing at retail stores will vary with the age, condition, and "rarity" of the bag. 2011 Classic prices: Petite Shopping Tote - $1595, Wallet on Chain - $1295 to $1595, Classic flaps in all sizes - visit this post for prices.
2. Know almost exactly what you want (style, size, leather type, color, hardware) at set a price cap for yourself, so you're not distracted by non-perfect options or random "bargains" when browsing online.
3. Become an authenticity expert. Some good things to learn about:
- The serial number (found on both the hologram tag and the authenticity card for each bag) tells you when the bag was made. This site lists serial numbers by year, and what authentic tags should look like.
- The CC logo. The right C should overlap on top, and left C should overlap on the bottom.
- The hardware - This will differ with year and style, but on the classic flap, the snap button and the back of the turnlock closure should be engraved with CHANEL PARIS.
- Stitching. The quilt stitching should line up neatly on the front flap and back pocket. On the back pocket, it is not one continuous stitch that runs from the purse onto the pocket. The pocket and purse are two distinct pieces that were stitched separately, and joined via a stitch along the outside perimeter of the pocket.
- Packaging. I usually look for bags with the original box, because boxes are less commonly counterfeited (possibly due to space issues when shipping from overseas). Dustbags, authenticity cards, and even receipts are often included with knockoffs, but the black purse boxes are more rare.
Final thoughts: Beware of really good fakes out there that show all of the above "signs of authenticity." My advice is to not rely on any one of the above or just inspect photos, but to look at the overall big picture. Is the seller a reputable seller with all positive feedback, and a history of many higher-end items? For individuals (not resellers), I like to ask where and when the bag was bought (then checking that year against the authenticity code), for how much, why they're selling it, etc, and asking for large extra photos.
In summary, Chanel classics are timeless bags that I feel are worth the extra research and money. My black flap is hands-down my favorite purchase of all-time. A fellow blogger, Bessie, shared with me photos of her mom's Chanel flap from 19 years ago (retail $990). It's in pristine condition with buttery leather and glowing hardware - a true testament to the quality of the brand and longevity of the style!
While at Bloomingdales, I saw the newest addition to the classic flap family - a size between the Mini and the Small at about 7" long x 5" tall. This bag has a single flap (no smaller flap that snaps inside) and retails for $1900. Here it is on Ping, who is approx. my size.
Other relevant resources:
- IamStyle-ish posted about where to buy vintage Chanel
- Wendyslookbook has videos on buying designer items on eBay
- PetiteLittleGirl shared her journey to find her dream Chanel
Other posts in my series:
- Part I - Review of Chanel Petite Shopping Tote and Wallet on Chain
- Part II - Review of Chanel Classic Flaps
If you have any questions for me (who is not an expert), the quickest way to get a response is through my Twitter or Facebook. Please note that if you are private on Twitter, those who are not following you can't see your message : )
Readers - If you have purchased pre-owned Chanel (or discounted new), please share your shopping experience and any advice!