Your Guide to Buying a Chanel Bag

There’s perhaps no greater fashion-girl dream than owning your very own Chanel bag. But from the high price tag to the number of covetable options, the decision can be daunting enough to make even Choupette’s hairs stand on end. So, to help navigate the luxury marketplace and all things Chanel, we asked Sarah Davis of Fashionphile, a luxury handbag marketplace, to lend us her expertise on purchasing the iconic bag.

Keep reading to see what she had to say!

“The medium or Jumbo Flap Chanel bags that were selling back in 2000 are still super hot today. But if I had to nail it down to a style right now, I’d say the medium Chanel Boy Bag is the most popular.

Chanel Small Boy Flap Bag ($5400)

“If you want to be sure that your bag will continue to gain value over time, stick with the basics. Go with a classic black Chanel Jumbo Flap made in lambskin or caviar leather. The crazy thing is that Chanel continues to raise the retail price on these styles every year or two. So if you bought your Jumbo Flap in 2006, it cost you $1795. If you buy that same bag in 2015, it will cost you $5500! This means that if you bought your bag back in 2006 and decided to sell it today, you can potentially make up to $3000 more than what you paid for it. Truth be told, if you hold onto any Chanel bag long enough (10+ years), you’re going to have some real value locked into that bag.

“This is actually one of the things that I adore about Chanel—the really cool, collectable, and super-limited pieces. You actually have to hold onto them longer if you care about resale value, because they’re special and usually have a higher price point out the gate. Some of my favorites are the minaudière clutches, such as the vinyl record minaudière, the cassette tape, and the gold bar. The S/S 04 cassette tape bag retailed for $1600. Fashionphile once received a clear one that’s a tiny see-through clutch. We had never seen one sell before and ended up listing it for $9000. It sold in 30 minutes.”

“Sometimes more bells and whistles make a bag harder to resell. All of the beading and tweeding looks amazing (and I love carrying a bag that no one else has), but if you care about resale, all of those extra trappings don’t help. Stick with styles that have the traditional chain strap, visible CCs, and you’re good to go. The vintage hardware was made with 24K gold alloy—you can tell these bags by the little hallmark embossed in the crossing CCs.”

If you aren’t an expert in Chanel authentication, I’d say the most important thing to look out for is that you’re buying from a reputable seller. There are all kinds of businesses now that mean well but have a ‘no returns’ policy and one single authenticator. ‘No returns’ is a red flag. Some of the higher-quality fakes even have registration numbers, holograms, cards, come with receipts, and are made of quality leather and hardware. Don’t be fooled just because a bag has these features. If you need help, use an online authentication service.”

Chanel by Francois Baudot ($52)

We want to hear from you! Tell us which Chanel bag you have your eye on. Already own one? Share your purchasing tips in the comments below!