HELLO, DREAM BAG!
Although I have used designer handbags for almost a decade now, there was nothing quite as special as visiting Coco Chanel's apartment / global flagship boutique in Paris, at 31 Rue Cambon, and buying my first ever Chanel handbag. It is a black caviar quilted flap, and became my instant classic. Last year, I also curated my second Chanel bag, a beige lambskin Le Boy bag, in the Old Medium size. After exploring almost all of Europe looking for this bag - multiple boutiques in London, Hamburg, Paris, Florence, Milan, Berlin, and Prague - I have learnt a thing or two about finding and buying your own Chanel bag!
The right size of bag for you totally depends on your body ( height and frame), your preference and also the type of bags you already have in your collection. I find it important to have a variety of sizes (cross body and larger bags for ever day) and also colors (although I tend to stick to a more neutral color palette). It is best to try a bag on in person, especially if you are planning on purchasing online! The mannequins can be very deceiving and you do not want to end up with a bag of which you dislike the size, especially not for a Chanel investment! The same applies for the style, while there are many classic bags which keep being repeated in most collections, there are season specific models - make sure you are sure which one you love!
FIND THE RIGHT MODEL & SIZE
DECIDE ON THE MATERIAL & COLOR: CANVAS OR LEATHER?
Every 6 weeks there is a new collection by Karl Lagerfeld and the type of fabrics and leathers completely varies. From fabrics like canvas and velvet to perforated leather over the delicates and soft lambskin to the most robust caviar leather - the options are wide! For a first Chanel bag I recommend leather, it is much more durable than any fabric and if you are as concerned about your Chanel as I am, you don't want to be scared to use it!
Of course the Chanel boutiques are the most trusted sellers! I have had the experience that the selection can be sparse however. Buying in the boutique (where I purchased my first Chanel bag, in Paris) is an experience itself, you have to have a lucky day though to find exactly what you are looking for! If a boutique is not an option for you, an online store might work for you! Do your research and check out reviews, vet the sellers and always, always (!!) make sure the authenticity of the bag is verified! I can recommend verified eBay sellers, as well as Vestaire Collective and Yoogis Closet!
FIND A TRUSTED SELLER
LOCATION OF BAG = TAXES?
Again, be careful where you purchase! This is not just about the type of seller if you are purchasing online, but also the location of the seller! If you are located in the EU, any items from outside the EU are due for taxes and import charges. The same applies for being located in Canada, duties and taxes will be due! If you want to avoid paying extra, make sure you pay attention to the location of where the bag will be shipped from! On a 4000 Euro bag this can easily add up to an additional 1000 Euro (so do your du diligence and skin the surprise of duties!).
When buying online, a thorough check whether you are getting a fake or the real thing is THE MOST IMPORTANT! Ask a lot of questions about the age of the bag, request close up photos! The bag should also have the authenticity card, and a small inside tag which contains a serial number. Chanel bag lovers will also include the dust bag and box most of the time (which I would definitely look for for this type of purchase- it will make your experience that much better to have these items!!)
IS IT REAL THOUGH?
SHOP CHANEL BAGS
Owning a Chanel Bag is literally an investment piece, and the process of finding the right bag can be both painful but also equally rewarding. I hope my tips are useful for you!