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)

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

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 thoughts on “Chanel Reviews, Part II – The Classic Flap Bag

  • Reply Stephanie December 11, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    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.

  • Reply Anonymous February 1, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    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…

  • Reply Anonymous February 4, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    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~

  • Reply polyestherbunny March 4, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    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!

    Keep up the great blogging!

  • Reply Anonymous March 7, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    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!

  • Reply Anonymous April 23, 2012 at 8:42 am

    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!

  • Reply Anonymous April 28, 2012 at 10:51 pm

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

  • Reply Anonymous May 13, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    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.

  • Reply Anonymous May 13, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    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).

  • Reply Anonymous June 9, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    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)!

  • Reply CHIWA June 28, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    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

  • Reply CU July 13, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    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 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 ….

  • Reply Jennifer July 29, 2012 at 9:42 pm

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

  • Reply Shazia August 7, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    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 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 🙁

  • Reply Anonymous September 24, 2012 at 3:50 am

    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.

  • Reply Xinmei @ Pudding Pie Lane December 3, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    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 🙂

  • Reply Nancy January 5, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    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.

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