This is a video that I’ve wanted to do for a while so I’m so glad I was finally able to sit down and actually make it! My intention was to cover all the basic elements of the Chanel Classic Flap including the different sizes (and naming conventions), leather and hardware types, wear and tear as well as what fits inside each, modelling shots and a general shopping guide. The video turned out to be way longer than I had wanted (I generally try to keep all of my videos under 15 minutes long so this was way off the mark) but considering the amount of information there is to cover, I thought this would be acceptable this one time!
In this blog post, I’m listing more specific information than in the video but there will inevitably be overlaps. I also found out just after I finished filming, that Chanel has increased their prices across the board for the UK again which means that the prices I listed are now (yup, already!) out of date. So here, I will be listing correct pricing for the UK and US. I will try and revisit this post and keep the prices as up to date as I can as often as I can for those of you visiting in the future 🙂
Classic flap was introduced by Coco Chanel in 1955 and became known as the 2.55 (or 255) flap bag. There have been many different variations throughout the years but the term 2.55 is still applicable to all flap styles.
The Classic Flap as it looks today is a different bag that what was launched in 1955 and has gone through many subtle tweaks and changes. The reissue that was launched in 2005 features the original lock that Coco Chanel used while the CC turnlock is a newer addition that Karl Lagerfeld introduced. There is still some debate as to whether Coco or Karl was ultimately responsible for designing it.
Included in this video are the square mini, rectangle mini, small flap, medium (M/L) flap, jumbo and maxi sizes. I do not include the extra mini as this is a much less frequently seen size. It’s also worth noting that only the last four are part of Chanel’s permanent line – the minis are now ‘seasonal’ bags.
Chanel Classic Flap Bag – Mini Square: 6.7″ W x 5.2″ H x 3.1″ D, £1910 GBP, $2700 USD
Chanel Classic Flap Bag – Mini Rectangular: 7.9″ W x 4.9 H x 2.8″ D, £2110 GBP, $3100 USD
Chanel Classic Flap Bag – Small: 9.3″ W x 5.7″ H x 2.6″ D, £3480 GBP, $4700 USD
Chanel Classic Flap Bag – Medium: 10″ W x 6.3″ H x 3″ D, £3620 GBP, $4900 USD
Chanel Classic Flap Bag – Jumbo: 11.8″ W x 7.7″ H x 3.9″ D, £3980 GBP, $5500 USD
Chanel Classic Flap Bag – Maxi: 13″ W x 9.1″ H x 3.9″ D, £4380 GBP, $6000 USD
Some things to note:
- Vintage sizes will differ throughout the years. Notably, older styles tend to be a lot more boxy than newer styles which favour more rounded edges.
- The most popular size in my experience is the jumbo and medium/large, closely followed by the mini.
- Most Chanel SAs (Sales Associates) refer to the jumbo as simply the ‘large’ flap and the M/L as the ‘medium’ flap but this does seem to change every couple of years or so.
- Any other style (including minis!) is considered seasonal including Boy bags.
- There are many different types of leather and materials you can get flaps in, including jersey, velvet, patent leather, calfskin, exotic skins etc. The most common are caviar and lambskin though and these are part of the permanent line.
- Not all caviar and lambskin is created equal though. I have heard many complain about the quality of newer caviar and I personally have seen a difference between my older lambskin bags and newer varieties. I would say that this is not across the board though – I am really happy with the Boy bag that I bought last year and think that the lambskin has held up very well.
- You will also find different finishes applied to leather types. This is less true of lambskin but certainly with caviar, you can get ‘soft caviar’, pearly caviar as well as many others I’m sure. The caviar Boy bags that were released as part of the Spring 2016 were widely anticipated but I heard so many reports of customers being disappointed by the caviar looking a bit dull and lifeless. My advice? Always go in to the store and compare across bags if you can.
- It is commonly accepted that caviar wears a lot better than lambskin. I like both but my general rule is: if the bag is going to be used often, then I go caviar; if it’s more of an occasional use bag, lambskin is fine.
- So why do people go for lambskin if it wears worse than caviar? Most of it is down to the look and feel – lambskin is beautiful to look at and luxurious to touch. It also holds colour a lot better and generally speaking, colours do not render as well on caviar.
- That said, caviar is not immune to wear as demonstrated in my 5 Year Review of my Chanel Jumbo. Even though wear and tear will be a lot slower on a caviar bag, they will eventually both wear in the same places (around the corners of the flap and bottom of the bag).
- There was a lot of hoopla surrounding the move from single flaps to double flaps. I bought mine just after the double flap was introduced and I’m super grateful – the double flap does add a bit of weight but it significantly helps to keep the shade.
Colours and Hardware
- Colours are seasonal and although colours may be very similar, Chanel never usually re-releases colours so once they’re gone, they’re gone (Chanel is sneaky like that!).
- Diehard Chanel fans will be able to reference specific seasons for specific colours, i.e. the red from 10A. This is not necessary and I doubt my Chanel SAs will be able to do this!
- Many different types of hardware including gold hardware, silver hardware and ruthenium. You may often seen these referred to online as GHW, SHW and RHW respectively. But you also get variations within these such as muted gold hardware, shiny and dull ruthenium hardware, shiny silver, brushed gold etc.
- Chanel like to mix it up with their colours and hardware combinations and so it’s often a surprise what combinations they will come out with each season!
Chanel don’t like to play by the rules so unlike the rest of us, they have 6 seasons with specific names and codes. A list is here:
C = Cruise; delivers around Nov – Jan
P = Printemp (spring in French); Spring/ Summer Act 1; delivers around Jan to Mar
S = Spring/ Summer Act 2; delivers around Mar to Jun
A = Autumn/ Pre-fall; delivers around May to Sep
B = Autumn/ Winter act 1; delivers around Jun to Oct
K = Autumn/ Winter act 2; delivers around Aug to Nov
Please note that there are overlaps with collections arriving! Just because a new season is shipping doesn’t mean that all stock from previous seasons disappears. The seasons are sold either until they sell out or are put on sale (and then sell out!). Another thing to note is that there are no waiting lists in the UK meaning you have to be quick off the mark if there is an upcoming bag that you want. There are however waiting lists in the US I believe.
For the permanent line (i.e. any of the larger sizes in black), these are available all year around. I have heard some reports that certain bags are difficult to find and this may be true just before a price increase but usually Chanel are pretty well stocked with their classics in my experience. Keep checking in with your local boutique and they will eventually get the size and combo that you want in.
Tracking a Bag Down
If you want a SA (Sales Associate) to track down a bag for you, they will almost certainly ask you for the code of the bag in order to search the ‘system’. This can be found on the Chanel website (if your bag is listed – but plenty aren’t) or on the tag of the bag. This obviously isn’t very helpful if you don’t have access to the bag though! I always try and list the codes on my bag reveals and many women on TPF (The Purse Forum) will helpfully provide the codes of their reveals too if you ask.
One more thing to note is that the super popular bags (I’m talking minis and Boy bags here) may not show up accurately in the system, i.e. they get delivered and then sold within a couple of hours and therefore don’t always make it onto the system. The best thing to do if you don’t have a regular SA to search for you (I talk about building up a relationship with a SA in the video) is to be persistent and phone around. I phoned all the Chanel boutiques in London every day for two weeks in order to find my Boy bag and then finally one came through. That may sound crazy, but hey, it’s Chanel! 🙂
Finally, The Purse Forum always has the latest intel on what’s coming up soon (and members often have lists of what exact combinations will be made available (for example, ‘Lambskin Boy Bag, black quilted, RHW Medium’) so I’d recommend checking there if you are interested in getting a particular style in future or if you simply want to see what’s coming up and whether you need to start saving! Usually these lists will be published around 1-3 months before the arrival of the collection in question.
Chanel Mini Availability
This warrants its own little section as I get asked about it all of the time! The mini seems to have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in recent years so they are seemingly constantly in demand without being constantly available. Important to note is that minis were made seasonal a few years ago which means that they are not available to purchase year long.
When they are released, they are released as part of seasonal collections in limited colours and hardware combinations. If you want to track one down, then you will have to rely on the pre-loved market (where I bought mine) or alternatively, keep your eye on upcoming seasons/ collections to see if Chanel will release more minis. As mentioned above, The Purse Forum is a great place to do that.
Where to Buy Chanel Pre-Loved
And that’s it for this guide! I know it’s super long so kudos if you’ve made it this far but I wanted this to be as thorough as possible. If there’s something you still want to know, then feel free to leave me a comment either here or on my YouTube channel (note: it’s always best to leave me comments on recent videos as opposed to really old ones!).
For more information, these are some of my favourite sites (and where I get a lot of my information from!):
(they haven’t yet updated with the new UK prices because it seems that this only just happened but generally, I have found them to be pretty accurate)
Thank you so much for stopping by!