I just bought my first Chanel bag a couple months ago and purposely avoided the flap bags because they're too recognizable. I wanted one that was more under the radar. Anything quilted was out. Also, "inspired" versions are EVERYWHERE, so not going with the herd was important. And price. Price had to be around $500.
After a day and a half of searching several online consignment sites, I found an etoupe caviar tassel hobo on Malleries for $699. It's 10 years old but in like-new condition. Yeah, a little over budget but I thought it was a FANTASTIC deal for a Chanel caviar bag.
Some people dream for years of owning a Chanel Classic Flap Bag or Chanel Reissue 2.55 Flap Bag, some already own multiples of each, and still others think that they’re too traditional and played-out. I couldn’t agree less with that third group of people – with lots of finishes, colors and sizes, Chanel’s famous flaps have a little something that everyone can appreciate, if you stay open-minded. Still on the fence? Allow me to persuade you…
1. They’re just going to go up in price later: Seriously, are you considering buying one? If you are, go ahead and do it. Chanel is among the masters of the crippling price increase, jacking up the MSRPs of its bags every six months to a year, sometimes by as much as $500 for a basic bag. As a general rule, bags don’t hold their value all that well, but constantly rising prices keep the timeless flap bags fairly easy to resell later. Plus, even if you don’t take resale into consideration, you’re just going to have to fork over more cash if you wait.
2. Owning one is like getting in to one of the most exclusive sororities on campus: Except, you know, this is real life. Legendary actresses, socialites and royals have carried this bag, and hey, if you can’t marry a prince, you can at least buy the same bag as the broads who can. Or the same bag as the girls from The Hills – it seems as though the bag has become the go-to accessory when a younger woman wants to signal to the world that she has grown and matured into a fashionable lady.
3. So many designers have been “inspired” by the flap – if you’re going to pay big bucks, get the original: Everyone from Urban Outfitters to Marc Jacobs has been accused of stealing from Chanel’s signature bag, and there’s a good reason for that – it’s timeless, iconic and still as relevant to luxury customers today as it was back in the 1950s. Chain straps and quilted leather have become nearly synonymous with the idea of the designer handbag, and the Chanel flap may even be more well-known across the world than the illustrious handbag holy grail, the Hermes Birkin.
4. Buy a flap bag in caviar leather and it will likely outlive me and you both: Seriously, that stuff is indestructible. Run your fingers – no, better yet, run your fingernails along it next time you’re near a Chanel bag made of the material, and you’ll see what I mean. It has a finish nearly as tough as Louis Vuitton monogram canvas, but you’re paying for actual leather instead of, well, canvas. With how much those monogram bags run these days, the price of a neutral leather Chanel bag with similar durability seems downright reasonable. But…
5. Despite their cultural ubiquity, the bags themselves are still too price-prohibitive for everyone to own: They come in sizes ranging from XS to XL, but even the smallest of the Chanel flap bags is way more expensive than the average woman wants to spend. You’re in no danger of seeing your bag on every woman on the block (unless you live on a really, really nice block, but if you do, there’s probably no sense in trying to stay one step ahead anyway), and even if you see a lot of people carrying non-Chanel bags that look similar, there’s absolutely no comparison when you see and hold a Chanel flap bag in person.
Prices start around $2000. Please contact Chanel customer service at (800) 550-0005 for more information.