A trip to Paris wouldn’t be complete without a little shopping, right? : ) I snapped the picture above at the Chanel flagship store, where a shopper and her (very patient) other half were agonizing over her first Chanel bag purchase. Classic flap vs. boy bag … lambskin vs. caviar leather. I was secretly eager to see the winner, but by the time we finished browsing leisurely, a verdict had yet to be reached. My vote goes to the classic flap in caviar (and most of you agree, according to my poll on Instagram stories)!
With splurge purchases, I know that some research and reference photos can never hurt. I try to snap pictures and jot down info when purse browsing, just in case it helps anyone else. Today’s post revisits two popular bag styles, both quilted leather beauties with a chain strap. The Chanel boy bag has been on my wish list for years, and the Saint Laurent wallet on chain is one of my longtime favorite purses!
1. YSL Saint Laurent Wallet on Chain (“WOC”)
Sizes: Larger pebbled WOC (6″ x 9″), smaller pebbled WOC (5″ x 7.5″), Kate tassel WOC (5″ x 7.5″)
Retail prices in USD: 1650, 1350, 1650 respectively
Retail prices in EUR: 1190, 895, 1190, respectively
I reviewed this bag in detail (in the large size) a few years ago and still love it! It goes from a casual cross-body bag to a dressy clutch, when the chain strap is tucked in or detached. Most of the questions I’ve gotten since are about the size options, since the pebbled chevron WOC comes in two sizes (sometimes both referred to as “small”). This can be confusing, so I’ve compared how they look on a 5′ tall frame. As a third option, I also tried on their popular Kate tassel bag with smooth leather, in the smallest WOC size (I was told this in red was a best-seller!):
Capacity-wise, the larger WOC has lots of card slots and fits a good amount (see my review for interior photos). The two smaller bags are about the same size as Chanel’s classic wallet on chain, which many find to be sufficiently sized to fit necessities. In addition to the size difference, both the leather and the chain on the bigger WOC feel a little more weighty and substantial. Also, the strap length is weightier and actually shorter on the bigger WOC so it sits closer to my waist than my hips (good for petite ladies; but might be too short for someone taller to wear cross-body!).
If the strap on a chain wallet bag feels too long on you, they are actually one of the easiest styles to adjust either by criss-crossing the straps once underneath the flap, or by using a chain shortener clip.
I’ve always adored the iconic retro-inspired tassel bags, but they’re usually made with smooth leather (which is delicate and scratch-prone, even according to their sales associates) instead of pebbled. I returned a larger YSL tassel bag years ago for that reason, but on a smaller size, the smooth leather felt more manageable for me.
Maintenance concerns aside, my gift to self for Christmas was the Kate smooth tassel WOC in cream and gold! For a first bag, though, I’d still highly recommend a pebbled leather WOC, which has proven for me over the years to be versatile, durable and low-maintenance! (2020 update: so far I have not had issues with my Kate bag in smooth leather)
2. CHANEL BOY BAG
Sizes: Small, Medium (also referred to as Old Medium), and Large (also referred to as New Medium)
Retail prices in USD: 4300, 4700, 5200, respectively
Retail prices in EUR: 3660, 3980, 4440, respectively
When I visited Europe in 2016, the prices for Chanel after exchange rates were consistently lower there compared to the US. Chanel “normalized” global prices last year to balance things out, which was a surprise to me! Only when factoring in a VAT refund, is it still cheaper (by a little) to buy Chanel in Europe. I wouldn’t rely 100% on a credit card VAT refund, though, as it can take ages to receive and you have little recourse if you don’t!
Outfit details can all be found in this post!
The Chanel boy bag has been around for a while now, but its combo of classic + a little edgy still draws me in. However, the difficulty of finding the right color/leather/hardware combo, not to mention the increasing price tag sure are deterrents! Caviar leather colors are always limited, and the hardware finish in recent years didn’t seem as nice as the older ones.
The above photo shows how all three sizes look on my ~ 5 feet (152 cm) frame; below photo shows the three sizes next to each other. I used to want the Old Medium size, but it hangs just a little low on me for a bag that size. After trying on so many, I started to lean more towards the Small!
This gray color below with gold hardware was the closest I’ve come to finding my holy grail combo. I tried on the same bag at two different Chanel locations, and the SAs at each store told me conflicting info. One said it was scratch-resistant calfskin, and one said it was delicate (scratch-prone) lambskin … big difference! SAs are not always right, so if in doubt, ask them to look it up in their stock books. It turned out to be lambskin which I’m too clumsy for, and they didn’t have it in a small size. At this price point it’d have to be perfect, so perhaps the Boy and I will meet another day!
Did you have a favorite style from these try-ons?