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 pretty similar and both of them work well for someone my height. 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″Β  (see on ElleΒ 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)

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 purchased one bag in light-colored lambskin (black lambskin would be lower maintenace). After carrying my lambskin bag just a few times and always storing it after use, I’ve already had to address some wear on the leather. On the other hand, all of my caviar bags have been a breeze to maintain.

Caviar vs. Lambskin

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.

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

For Daily Posts

Leave a Comment


  1. Meghan wrote:

    Thanks for the informative video! Really well done and helpful πŸ™‚

    Posted 11.30.11 Reply
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    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!

    Posted 11.21.11 Reply
  3. Anonymous wrote:

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

    Posted 11.10.11 Reply
  4. Anonymous wrote:

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

    Posted 10.18.11 Reply
  5. 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.

    Posted 9.4.11 Reply
  6. 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!

    Posted 7.27.11 Reply
  7. 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!

    Posted 7.27.11 Reply
  8. Diana wrote:

    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!

    Posted 7.22.11 Reply
  9. 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!:)

    Posted 7.22.11 Reply
  10. 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.

    Posted 7.22.11 Reply
  11. Anonymous wrote:

    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!

    Posted 7.21.11 Reply
  12. @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.

    Posted 7.20.11 Reply
  13. Mary-Irene wrote:

    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!

    Posted 7.20.11 Reply
  14. Lydia wrote:

    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!

    Posted 7.20.11 Reply
  15. @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! : )

    Posted 7.19.11 Reply
  16. Anonymous wrote:

    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.

    Posted 7.19.11 Reply
  17. @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

    @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!

    Posted 7.18.11 Reply
  18. @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:

    @Anonymous @Ali Thank you! It's actually this dress: )

    @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!

    Posted 7.18.11 Reply
  19. Ping wrote:

    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!

    Posted 7.18.11 Reply
  20. R.L. wrote:

    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!

    Posted 7.18.11 Reply
  21. My son says "hewwo" – thanks for the video! Am looking forward to seeing part 3. Particularly since I went the pre-owned route πŸ™‚

    Posted 7.18.11 Reply
  22. Jackie wrote:

    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!! =)

    Posted 7.18.11 Reply
  23. B.Inspired wrote:

    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.

    Posted 7.18.11 Reply
  24. Dee wrote:


    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 πŸ™‚


    Posted 7.18.11 Reply
  25. Wendy wrote:

    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.

    Posted 7.18.11 Reply
  26. modniza wrote:

    love chanel! thank's! xxx

    Posted 7.18.11 Reply
  27. newpetite wrote:

    beautiful bags and great video! waiting for the next one πŸ™‚

    Posted 7.18.11 Reply
  28. Mimi Wong wrote:

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

    Posted 7.18.11 Reply
  29. Anonymous wrote:

    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.

    Posted 7.18.11 Reply
  30. Sunshine wrote:

    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 πŸ˜‰

    Posted 7.18.11 Reply
  31. Tricia wrote:

    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.

    Posted 7.18.11 Reply
  32. Great post! I think the Caviar is cheaper than Lambskin? Yours are great choices and I love, love the silver h/w.

    Posted 7.18.11 Reply
  33. Belle Muse wrote:

    Also, I hope you get more love letters in the future to put in your secret compartment! hehe πŸ™‚

    Posted 7.18.11 Reply
  34. Belle Muse wrote:

    SSoooo cute! I really want a chanel bag and I love that you pointed out some differences between lambskin and caviar!
    πŸ™‚ Great post!

    Posted 7.18.11 Reply
  35. Anonymous wrote:

    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…..

    Posted 7.18.11 Reply
  36. Ali wrote:

    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!

    Posted 7.18.11 Reply
  37. Nelah wrote:

    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.

    Posted 7.18.11 Reply
  38. grace wrote:

    * 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…

    Posted 7.17.11 Reply
  39. Anonymous wrote:

    Thanks for the info!

    Btw, what is that top you're wearing?

    Posted 7.17.11 Reply
  40. 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.

    Posted 7.17.11 Reply
  41. rachel wrote:

    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… :/

    Posted 7.17.11 Reply
  42. Love this review! Great for Chanel beginners. I would love to invest in one.. but the price point is ridiculous after the increase!

    Posted 7.17.11 Reply
  43. DSK Steph wrote:

    Beautiful bags! πŸ™‚

    Posted 7.17.11 Reply
  44. OMG Jean, is Nick not sending you enough love notes these days? πŸ˜‰ Very informative, thank you! I'm looking forward to your next video on this subject πŸ˜‰

    Posted 7.17.11 Reply
  45. 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.

    Posted 7.17.11 Reply
  46. ACC wrote:

    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!

    Posted 7.17.11 Reply
  47. Michelle wrote:

    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. πŸ™‚

    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! πŸ™‚

    Posted 7.17.11 Reply
  48. 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 =(

    Posted 7.17.11 Reply
  49. im so jealous..

    Posted 7.17.11 Reply
  50. Anna wrote:

    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.

    Posted 7.17.11 Reply

Get the newsletter!

What updates would you like?