What You Need To Know About the Chanel Classic Flap
I know of no other handbag that women covet as much – and dream of owning – than the Chanel Classic flap.
It’s chic, classic, stylish. And it retains – or even grows in value year after year.
Many people think that the Chanel classic flap – with it’s familiar interlocking CC’s and interwoven leather-and-chain strap – is Chanel’s first handbag.
However that’s not the case.
The Classic Flap bag is actually Karl Lagerfeld’s “reinterpretation” of the original Chanel 2.55 bag – a bag which was created by Coco Chanel in the 1950s.
Karl Lagerfeld introduced the reinterpretation of the 2.55 bag in the 1980s, calling it the Chanel Classic bag.
However to many designer bag lovers, it’s simply known now as the Chanel Classic flap.
So is this the right bag for your collection? Is it truly iconic and worth you consideration – or horribly overhyped?
Here are some things to consider before you decide:
Type of Bag: Shoulder (Mini’s can also be worn cross-body)
Measurements: Varies – 3 sizes: Small, Medium-Large and Jumbo (Mini Square and Mini Rectangular come out seasonally)
Outside Material: Lambskin or Caviar Quilted Leather (Plus other variations like Tweed or Denim depending on the year)
Hardware: Gold or Silver Hardware Options
Chanel Classic Flap Bag Review:
If you’re looking for one investment bag (besides a Birkin) that is practically guaranteed to hold it’s value – or even increase over time – it’s definitely the Chanel Classic Flap bag.
While most bags from the 1980s look dated or have long been discontinued, the Chanel classic flap just keeps charging ahead, growing more and more popular each year.
Well – mainly because it has a timeless, classic look that doesn’t really go out of style. With the smooth quilted leather, interlocking CC logo lock at the front, small pocket at the back and interwoven leather-and-chain strap, it’s become a symbol of quality and style.
While the bag will retain it’s value over time – most women who own this bag do NOT want to sell it. It’s something you could pass on to your daughter or granddaughter.
Chanel Classic Flap Bag Sizes
The Chanel Flap bag currently comes in 3 different sizes – the Small, Medium-Large (sometimes just called medium) and the Jumbo size.
There are also much more affordable “mini” versions in the standard rectangle or square. However you these are only released periodically – you can’t just go to the store at any time and buy them. You have to wait for certain seasons to get them.
(Alternatively, you could also shop for a Mini version of this bag pre-loved at any time of the year.)
The mini Classic Flap (rectangle) is 5 x 8 x 2 inches
The mini Classic Flap (square) is 5 x 6.5 x 2 inches
The small Classic flap bag measures approximately: 5.7 x 9.3 x 2.6 inches
The medium-large Classic flap bag measures approximately: 6.3 x 10 x 3 inches
The jumbo Classic flap bag measures approximately: 7.9 x 11.8 x 3.9 inches
(Note, sizes taken from www.chanelprices.com)
Which Size is Best for You?
This really depends on what you want. Having researched the heck out of this bag for my own purchase, here’s my personal take on it:
Small Classic Flap:
The small Classic flap holds the bare essentials only – maybe a phone, small wallet, keys and a lipstick or two.
Because the chain length is not overly long, it’s best worn as a shoulder bag and not as a crossbody – see the pic above and below (although if you flip it to the back, it could be doable as a crossbody).
The small bag is petite and very feminine and you could wear it for the day quite easily. It would also be lovely for a more formal night out, a wedding, club-hopping or another special event.
The other benefit of course is that the small size bag runs around $5000 new (or $3000 pre-loved). So it’s also more affordable than the medium or jumbo-sized bags.
Medium Classic Flap:
The medium Classic flap (see below) holds a bit more than the small version – not much more however. And if you look at the size dimensions above, you’ll see there’s not a huge difference between the small and the medium bags.
Again, the chain is not overly long on this bag. So it looks better as a shoulder bag – with the chain single or doubled up – than as a crossbody. The price currently runs around $5600 new or between $4000-$5000 preloved.
Jumbo Classic Flap:
The jumbo Classic flap holds more than the other two, making it better as a day bag – especially if you have to carry more items for work etc. It’s beautiful and elegant and would be ideal if you work with a high-end clientele for example.
However (and this is just my opinion) I don’t think the jumbo would really be appropriate for a more formal event. It’s just a bit too big to go with a formal dress. You would be better suited with a smaller clutch purse or one of the smaller Chanel bags for that.
The jumbo bag is the priciest option – coming in around $6200 new and starting from $3900 preloved.
These 3 sizes are sold basically all year round at Chanel boutiques. However the mini versions of the bag are what they call “seasonal” – meaning they only come out at certain times of the year.
Mini Classic Flap:
The mini bags have 2 benefits – first of all they are obviously more affordable – starting around $4000 new or $2500 preloved. They also have longer chain lengths and sit lower on the body (see pic below) than the other bags. So they can be worn crossbody (or on the shoulder) without a problem.
The downside of course is that these bags don’t hold a lot of items – you’re stripping down to a small, thin card case or small wallet, your phone, a lipstick and maybe a thin key set.
So again – it really depends on your preference, budget and how you want to use the bag when deciding which bag is best!
Types of Leather and Colors
While most women prefer the bag to be in the classic black leather style, Chanel does come out with different colors and textures on this bag every year.
In general there are mainly 2 types of leather you can choose from with this bag – Lambskin and Caviar.
I personally think both look amazing. However some people in the purse community feel like Lambskin marks up more easily – so it’s not as durable as caviar leather.
Caviar leather tends to be a bit tougher and can take a bit more use and abuse.
Because of this, bags with the caviar leather tend to be priced a bit higher than the lambskin leather bags.
But there are fans of both the lambskin and the caviar leather options – so again, it mainly comes down to your personal preference.
Final Word on the Chanel Classic Flap?
If you’re looking for a truly iconic designer bag that you can wear for years to come – and even pass down to your children (or just sell for the same price you paid for it), the Chanel Classic flap is at the top of the list.
While some may argue that the prices are quite high – and getting higher – others argue that the bag itself is worth it. It’s a one-time investment piece that (properly taken care of) will last you for years.
The Classic Flap has also proven, with it’s long history, that it isn’t going anywhere and will be in style for decades.
Where to Buy It:
One Note of Caution With This Bag: Because of the high price tag, there are a lot of good counterfeits on the market vying for your money. I can’t tell you how many women I’ve heard of who have bought these bags on auction sites or reseller sites – only to find out they’ve bought a fake.
That’s why the only reseller site I recommend for these bags is Fashionphile – who has now partnered with Neiman Marcus and has one of the best reputations for genuine pre-loved bags. I’ve never heard anyone saying they bought a fake bag on Fashionphile.
Your other option is to go into a Chanel boutique if you have one in your city and buy the bag brand new – as Chanel does not sell these bags direct-to-consumers online.
What Do You Think?
Do you have a Chanel classic flap bag? What do you think of it?
Do you think it’s worth the investment?
Share your comments below!
– Kate XO