How to Build a Chanel RTW Collection on a Budget

G&Smommy

O.G.
Sep 23, 2008
7,140
11
I never thought I would venture into Chanel RTW, but I managed to find the reversible quilted jacket on sale at 60% off and now I am hooked! (I also have a cardigan on order and am keeping my fingers crosses that it comes through!) I would love to build a few key Chanel pieces into my wardrobe, but definitely not at full price. I am looking for some great, classic cardigans to be worn with jeans and casual skirts or over dresses, at least one tweed jacket, a few knit dresses, and perhaps a coat.

Since I am a complete newbie here, I would love some advice about how to go about building a collection on a budget. I think buying from the sale is likely my best option, but I realized from my experience during this sale that I need more of a strategy (a relationship with a RTW SA, knowing my sizes, and keeping a list of the pieces I want). So, my questions are: Where is the best place to buy RTW - the boutique, NM, or Saks? What is the best strategy for sale time? And, if you buy pre-owned, which I am not opposed to at all, where do you find your pieces? Ebay, consignment? My main concern with buying from ebay is not being able to assess condition and fit before buying and I doubt any consignment stores local to me would carry Chanel, so is it possible to order from consignment stores out of state and which stores would you recommend? Also, if you have a great RTW SA that sends photos, I would appreciate that info as well. Thanks!
 

saks4me

Pita Bread
O.G.
Nov 30, 2008
2,288
6
Welcome to the world or RTW! You will find it just as addicting as handbags! :P

I find the trunk show a great time to feel the material and eye the pieces, not necessarily great for sizing though. Since my size is HTF (34-36), I usually wait for 1st MD and pounce on the key pieces I want. I try to shop dept stores to capitalize on store points but since the buys are way smaller, whatever places has it, I'll shop.

Lately, I have been acquiring online since 1st MD is still pricey. I think the key to buying online is knowing your size and of course good pictures. If preowned, ask for inperfections (I loathe markings under the arms!) Perhaps go a size up (2 max) so that you can get them professionally altered as well.

I have worked with Cindy Anton (NM-Troy MI) and she's great. I believe many gals here have worked with her. She responds quick and provides pic.

Hope that helps a bit. Can't wait to see your new jacket! I'm holding out on Cruise!
 

G&Smommy

O.G.
Sep 23, 2008
7,140
11
Welcome to the world or RTW! You will find it just as addicting as handbags! :P

I find the trunk show a great time to feel the material and eye the pieces, not necessarily great for sizing though. Since my size is HTF (34-36), I usually wait for 1st MD and pounce on the key pieces I want. I try to shop dept stores to capitalize on store points but since the buys are way smaller, whatever places has it, I'll shop.

Lately, I have been acquiring online since 1st MD is still pricey. I think the key to buying online is knowing your size and of course good pictures. If preowned, ask for inperfections (I loathe markings under the arms!) Perhaps go a size up (2 max) so that you can get them professionally altered as well.

I have worked with Cindy Anton (NM-Troy MI) and she's great. I believe many gals here have worked with her. She responds quick and provides pic.

Hope that helps a bit. Can't wait to see your new jacket! I'm holding out on Cruise!
Thanks, saks4me! I agree that this is likely to be very addicting! I think the key for me is going to be finding a location with a good selection so I can try on a number of pieces and get comfortable with sizing and what styles look best on me. That way, if something pops up online, I will feel more comfortable taking the plunge. I agree on markings and I also worry about odors - smoke, perfume, etc. because they are so hard to remove.

I will post pics of the jacket soon, but it is the same one Calisnoopy purchased earlier on this season. It is a puffer-style quilted jacket that is black on one side and a sort of cobalt blue on the other. I love that it is reversible and I got an amazing deal! Fingers crossed that the cardigan will come through as well!
 

saks4me

Pita Bread
O.G.
Nov 30, 2008
2,288
6
Thanks, saks4me! I agree that this is likely to be very addicting! I think the key for me is going to be finding a location with a good selection so I can try on a number of pieces and get comfortable with sizing and what styles look best on me. That way, if something pops up online, I will feel more comfortable taking the plunge. I agree on markings and I also worry about odors - smoke, perfume, etc. because they are so hard to remove.

I will post pics of the jacket soon, but it is the same one Calisnoopy purchased earlier on this season. It is a puffer-style quilted jacket that is black on one side and a sort of cobalt blue on the other. I love that it is reversible and I got an amazing deal! Fingers crossed that the cardigan will come through as well!
60%?! What a dream! Hope the cardi comes through for you as well! Love looking at how others rock their wear! :smile:
 

OlgaMUA

Style is Eternal
May 18, 2008
1,838
5
Little Rhody
www.makeupandimage.com
once in a great while Off5th or Neiman's Last call will have Chanel RTW... in more cosmopolitan areas and slim pickings for sure.. but I scored a great pair of classic black pants at the Last Call in Vegas a couple of years ago that I love
 

lmac408

Member
Mar 4, 2010
409
130
What a great thread! I just ordered my first piece of rtw, also 60% off - its a cream tweed jacket with gold buttons. I ordered it one size up and plan to have it altered. I have no idea how this made it to second cut but im happy :smile: I'll post pics when it comes.

I definitely think a good sales associate helps because so many snooty SAs ignored me when I started asking around.
 

melisande

O.G.
Jan 20, 2006
5,286
154
I actually buy mainly Chanel RTW, and very few bags. From my experience, I'd advise to buy as close to your true size as possible, unless you have got a superb alterationist at hand. Altering something down 2 sizes often results in the loss of the original intent or line of the garment. I'm not at all against alterations, but I've learned the hard way that they work much better when the garment is as close to your correct size as is possible. I'd advise you to try on RTW, if there is any source near you, in order to gain a sense of sizing. Of course, there will always be exceptions, but as a general rule jacket sizing in Chanel works like this: Size 34 (my size) usually has a shoulder width of about 13.5 (measured lying flat) and a bust width of 16 inches. Size 36 goes up to a shoulder width of about 14 and a bust of 17 inches. These measurements usually hold true for the traditional, collarless, button up jacket. Anything with lapels usually has a larger shoulder span and will fit larger.

Another *general* rule is that cardigans may often be sized down, as they are stretchy.

Of course, as I've said, certain styles may have peculiar fits, but I've found that the above holds pretty true for the classic styles.

Another thing that I'd say is that it's worth it to hold out for a very few beautiful pieces that you absolutely love, rather than buying cheaper items at the sales which might not be as special. The pieces that I've sold, in the past, tend to be items that I bought just because they were 'a deal'. Having said that, it's very much worthwhile to monitor the sales, and very smart to try to find things on sale. The likelihood of finding sale pieces increases with the size needed. It's much easier to find size 38 on sale than to find size 34.

When a new collection comes out, you should go through and save photos of the pieces that you love, together with the style numbers. You can then find out the full prices from an SA, and keep an eye on them as the collection moves into the sales.

As you try on certain styles, you'll begin to get a sense of what works best for you. Certain classic looks are repeated season after season (though with different colours or trim), so there will always be certain pieces that you know will work, or won't work, when you first see a new collection.

Could go on forever on this topic, but will stop now. Hope this helps, somewhat!
 

lmac408

Member
Mar 4, 2010
409
130
Here's the jacket I ordered. This is not my picture, and I can't remember where I got it from (i think in one of the sale threads?). In any event, it was $1700ish (60% off original price).

For sizing reference, I wear a 2/4 in theory blazers and a 38 in stella mccartney, and I took this in a 40. I had tried it on in the store and probably could have gone with the 38 but I was sort of between sizes.
 

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saks4me

Pita Bread
O.G.
Nov 30, 2008
2,288
6
Here's the jacket I ordered. This is not my picture, and I can't remember where I got it from (i think in one of the sale threads?). In any event, it was $1700ish (60% off original price).

For sizing reference, I wear a 2/4 in theory blazers and a 38 in stella mccartney, and I took this in a 40. I had tried it on in the store and probably could have gone with the 38 but I was sort of between sizes.
OMG! You found this at 60% off! What a dream! Mod plz!!!! What a total score!
 

G&Smommy

O.G.
Sep 23, 2008
7,140
11
once in a great while Off5th or Neiman's Last call will have Chanel RTW... in more cosmopolitan areas and slim pickings for sure.. but I scored a great pair of classic black pants at the Last Call in Vegas a couple of years ago that I love
Thanks! I have both nearby and will keep an eye out. Designer tends to move fast in my area, though.
 

G&Smommy

O.G.
Sep 23, 2008
7,140
11
I actually buy mainly Chanel RTW, and very few bags. From my experience, I'd advise to buy as close to your true size as possible, unless you have got a superb alterationist at hand. Altering something down 2 sizes often results in the loss of the original intent or line of the garment. I'm not at all against alterations, but I've learned the hard way that they work much better when the garment is as close to your correct size as is possible. I'd advise you to try on RTW, if there is any source near you, in order to gain a sense of sizing. Of course, there will always be exceptions, but as a general rule jacket sizing in Chanel works like this: Size 34 (my size) usually has a shoulder width of about 13.5 (measured lying flat) and a bust width of 16 inches. Size 36 goes up to a shoulder width of about 14 and a bust of 17 inches. These measurements usually hold true for the traditional, collarless, button up jacket. Anything with lapels usually has a larger shoulder span and will fit larger.

Another *general* rule is that cardigans may often be sized down, as they are stretchy.

Of course, as I've said, certain styles may have peculiar fits, but I've found that the above holds pretty true for the classic styles.

Another thing that I'd say is that it's worth it to hold out for a very few beautiful pieces that you absolutely love, rather than buying cheaper items at the sales which might not be as special. The pieces that I've sold, in the past, tend to be items that I bought just because they were 'a deal'. Having said that, it's very much worthwhile to monitor the sales, and very smart to try to find things on sale. The likelihood of finding sale pieces increases with the size needed. It's much easier to find size 38 on sale than to find size 34.

When a new collection comes out, you should go through and save photos of the pieces that you love, together with the style numbers. You can then find out the full prices from an SA, and keep an eye on them as the collection moves into the sales.

As you try on certain styles, you'll begin to get a sense of what works best for you. Certain classic looks are repeated season after season (though with different colours or trim), so there will always be certain pieces that you know will work, or won't work, when you first see a new collection.

Could go on forever on this topic, but will stop now. Hope this helps, somewhat!
Great advice! Thank you. I definitely need to be more strategic in terms of knowing the collection and my sizes before sale time. I do not plan on buying just to buy, but to select a few key pieces and hope they go on sale. I still cannot justify RTW at full price.
 

G&Smommy

O.G.
Sep 23, 2008
7,140
11
Here's the jacket I ordered. This is not my picture, and I can't remember where I got it from (i think in one of the sale threads?). In any event, it was $1700ish (60% off original price).

For sizing reference, I wear a 2/4 in theory blazers and a 38 in stella mccartney, and I took this in a 40. I had tried it on in the store and probably could have gone with the 38 but I was sort of between sizes.
Beautiful! Congrats on finding it at 60% off!
 

pazt

O.G.
Aug 30, 2006
8,129
1,427
i have scored a few pieces over the years & it is very addicting. i find that building a relationship with an SA (i work with both my NM & Chanel SAs) helps with getting the pieces you want at sale prices. its also helpful that they can call diff places for you to find the ones you really want that are not available at the moment.

i have great luck in the various Vegas stores & i keep my relationship with my SAs there as well. IMO, they have more selection & varied styles that may not be available in my hometown. also, even if the sale is over - ask your SA if they have anything that was not sold & may be at the back ready to be transferred to another store or outlet store. its worth a look. i once scored a great jacket way past the sale dates but luckily, they still had in the store & i was able to get it!

good luck!
 
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G&Smommy

O.G.
Sep 23, 2008
7,140
11
i have scored a few pieces over the years & it is very addicting. i find that building a relationship with an SA (i work with both my NM & Chanel SAs) helps with getting the pieces you want at sale prices. its also helpful that they can call diff places for you to find the ones you really want that are not available at the moment.

i have great luck in the various Vegas stores & i keep my relationship with my SAs there as well. IMO, they have more selection & varied styles that may not be available in my hometown. also, even if the sale is over - ask your SA if they have anything that was not sold & may be at the back ready to be transferred to another store or outlet store. its worth a look. i once scored a great jacket way past the sale dates but luckily, they still had in the store & i was able to get it!

good luck!
Thanks! I need to find a good boutique SA who will send pics. I have found a good SA at my local NM, but, unfortunately, they are cleared out pretty quickly even before sale time so I cannot rely on my own store. I have noticed that the Vegas stores have a great selection when I have traveled there. Do you know if they will still ship pieces? I know the boutiques are not as accommodating as they used to be on shipping classic bags, but I don't know if this policy is limited to bags or applies to other items as well.
 

melisande

O.G.
Jan 20, 2006
5,286
154
Great advice! Thank you. I definitely need to be more strategic in terms of knowing the collection and my sizes before sale time. I do not plan on buying just to buy, but to select a few key pieces and hope they go on sale. I still cannot justify RTW at full price.
Yes, I think that's what we all do. We try to monitor the things we like, and grab them at first cut. Planning ahead really helps with that -- knowing the style number of the pieces, etc.