Chanel: you know the name like you know your own street or your favorite grocery store. It’s just a given that Chanel is, and it kind of always has been around. (Okay, not really … we’ll give you a quick history in a minute.) Point being, this brand has a revered position in the fashion world. It sits at the apex of luxury from New York to London, Paris to Tokyo. And beyond. There’s a reason for that. From well-made materials to excellent craftsmanship and continuously on point style, Chanel offers the full package.
That goes for Chanel handbags as well. If you’ve long wondered whether to get one, and what the best Chanel bags are, we’re here to answer those questions today. We’ll also take a look at specific types of Chanel bags. That way, you can choose the one that fits your life and style best. I can guide you through each Chanel handbag review, with pros, cons, and options so you can make that smart Chanel investment you’ve been dreaming of! So whip out that kombucha lemonade and notepad. Let’s get started.
A Brief History of Chanel
Before we get to the Chanel handbag review section, let’s first talk about why the brand itself is so amazing.
Chanel bags – and indeed, their entire product line from scarves to perfume and beyond – have become a universal icon of class, wealth and style. It all started in 1910. Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel opened her first shop, a hat store at 21 Rue Cambon in Paris. Her designs sold to all the most famous French actresses. This helped her create a name for herself as an icon of simple, elegant fashion design.
By 1915, after introducing a popular sportswear line, Chanel again exploded the fashion world. This time with her first upscale couture house. From there, the rest is history. The brand has been firmly ensconced in fashion legend ever since.
What’s made the designer and her company so famous all these years? A few things: Emphasis on clean lines. Use of quality materials. Top-of-the-line and lasting construction. Exclusivity or limitation of designs. The latter is a trend which continues today.
It’s this last trait that makes Chanel such a good investment strategy. You can rest assured that the bag you buy this year won’t be available next year. That means after purchase, you have a commodity that only a few others will possess. Over time, that becomes an extremely valuable asset. While Chanel handbags will continue to be made, that particular bag will never get made again.
Why Chanel Bags Are Worth the Investment
People have long known this about fashion houses all over the world. Buying unique, beautiful, short-run items has always had the main advantage of knowing that as time passes, that piece will become more valuable. In addition to being a statement piece to beat all others, Chanel bags behave in the tried-and-true economic manner as all good investments.
They Appreciate in Value
As with all good and highly desired fashion items, Chanel bags get more expensive every year. This applies to both the new bags and the collector’s items that are no longer manufactured. They also don’t depreciate in value nearly as much as other bags, due to the quality of construction, the brand recognition and the fact that new bag prices continue to rise, so that they’re eventually worth much more than you paid for them.
They Stay in the Family for Generations
Chanel bags (really Chanel things in general) become excellent family heirlooms to pass on to your children or family members. They can either enjoy it themselves or sell it for lot’s of cash. Sound like a pretty good investment strategy? It is, which is why the rich and famous have used it for so long. And that’s before we talk about what an awesome statement piece a good Chanel handbag is.
They Give You Membership to an Exclusive Club
Let’s face it: Your bag game simply isn’t on point unless you have at least one Chanel in your collection. Not everyone can afford one. Because of that, they’re a fantastic statement piece. You can be sure you won’t show up to a party and find half the party sporting a similar bag (how embarrassing would that be?!?) Adding to the exclusive caché is the fact that for many bags, you have to be waitlisted. That means you have to hold your horses while the fashion house gets your bag ready. They take your size, color, shape and other specifications into account. This is especially true for the classic flap bag. It is so popular that demand for it often far outpaces supply.
They Scream Quintessential Quality
Chanel handbags use exceptionally high-quality materials, without exception. (See what I did there?) Each one utilizes leather, fabrics and hardware of the best make. This is why pretty much all bags can safely qualify as “best Chanel handbags.”
Plus, the bags are of the highest possible craftsmanship. After all, good materials don’t count for much if the bag’s just going to fall apart in a few years. Luckily, that’s not an issue. The fashion house employs not only the best makers, but the best designers as well. (Long Live Chanel King Karl Lagerfeld.) Quality, much like investment potential and exclusivity, is the reason royalty, Hollywood and the elite have for decades put their money into luxury items such as these. Unlike the stars, however, you probably don’t have the funds for twenty Chanel handbags. Therefore should do your choosing widely. That’s where the rest of this Chanel handbag review comes in.
9 Best Chanel Bags of All Time
So now that I’ve convinced you that you NEED one or two Chanel bags in your life, let me help you figure out which one is best for you. Unlike some other fashion houses that achieve exclusivity and perfection of design through only one or two new pieces a year, Chanel offers a wide variety of handbags from which to choose.
1. Classic Flap Bag
Of any handbag in the Chanel line, the flap is probably closest to what the stars wore a hundred years ago. Here, classically quilted in black caviar leather, the bag is available in a number of other materials and patterns as well. Each classic flap is finished with a Chanel snap on the front, chain handles and finest leather within.
2. Chanel Boy Bag
More expensive than the classic flap, the boy bag offers next-level luxury and storage. It has a wide-open compartment and bold leather framing on the outside. Thicker hardware and a sturdy lock give this an almost industrial feel. Nevertheless, it’s still the height of chic.
3. Chanel Shopping Bag/Tote
Chanel totes are available in a huge number of shapes and sizes. While black is the classic color, you can find them in a number of others as well. Leather is the typical material. It is carefully worked and reinforced to stand up to decades of use. Some totes have a hardware logo. On others, it is quilted into the leather across the front of the bag.
4. Chanel Backpack
Here’s another classic shape. The Chanel backpack has a quilted front pocket and large statement flap with metal hardware. The top closes via drawstring, and the empty compartment is made to carry everything you need for a day. Get ready to enjoy Nice or your own hometown!
5. Chanel Hobo Bag
Get ready to take “slouch” to a whole new level. Hobo bags are notable for their ability to combine that recognizable Chanel class with a casual aesthetic that works for both day and night. Whether the leather is quilted, rumpled or smooth, these investments are always a win.
6. Chanel 2.55 Bag aka Reissue Bag
On the surface, the reissue bag looks like the classic flap. But it’s not. The design is sleeker, with a thinner profile and more distressed leather than its counterpart. The bag is a throwback to 1955 (hence the name), when it was first issued. In some ways, this makes it an even better investment. It has retro in spades!
7. Chanel Clutch
Nothing makes you more red-carpet-ready than a Chanel clutch. Like most of their other handbags, these are usually of the quilted variety. They come in a range of colors and a wide variety of finishes, but the main idea is the same. They’re small, easily held in one hand. If you prefer, you can pull out the delicate chain with which most are supplied.
8. Chanel Wallet on a Chain
This is like the clutch, except with a slimmer wallet profile. Wallets on chains, as the name implies, come with a long enough strap that you can carry them over a shoulder. Inside, you’ll find room for credit cards, cash, lip gloss and a phone. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a night out, and the classic style will go with almost any outfit.
9. Chanel Waist Bag
You thought fanny packs were uncool? Think again, because Chanel can turn any stereotype on its head. That’s right: Belting your purse to your middle has become awesome again. Following the same style as their other handbags (quilting and hardware), these small totes stick close to the body for crowded venues and hands-free activities. These are sometimes also released as camera bags, so watch out for variations in style and shape from year to year.
So which is your fave? Can you even pick ONE? I’m more of a boy bag girl, hah! I like the classic shape with the addition of the modern details and bold chains. Either way, you really can’t go wrong with Chanel. And if you liked this post, stay tuned for my next Chanel inspired piece where I’ll give you the scoop on all the different places you can find these beauties.