About a year ago, I asked the PurseBlog community whether or not it still made sense to purchase a brand-new Chanel Classic Flap Bag, despite the frequent price increases and debate on quality. The post was met with a great deal of chatter, with many readers saying I should purchase pre-loved Chanel versus dropping $5,600 (or more!) on a flap at a boutique.
“You could invest half that amount on an iconic bag that’s not so ubiquitous, like a Goyard, Gabriela Hearst, Celine, or Louis Vuitton. Take the rest and save. You could almost put a down payment on a small property at the rate you save,” wrote one reader.
Another user said: “I wouldn’t. The pricing has gone WAY overboard and the quality seems to have more and more issues. You can do so much better with that amount of money.”
Unfortunately, I had to figure things out on my own. So a few months later, while on a trip to Paris with family, I used the money I had saved and purchased a new medium Classic Flap Bag for $5,600. That was almost a six percent increase from 2018’s price of $5,300. Keep in mind: Most savings plans don’t even increase that much in a single year. If that wasn’t bad enough, the bag cost just under $3,000 in 2010.
I know you’re probably wondering why I purchased it, especially with all the information and research I had on why it wasn’t a smart financial decision. All I can say is, when you’re on the hunt for a bag, sometimes nothing else matters. I don’t necessarily view my purchases as investments, so for me this was about adding one of my dream bags to my collection.
Months later, the worst part about this situation is I’ve been somewhat afraid to use the bag. After spending all of that money, I fear something terrible will happen to it, whether it be stolen or damaged. (It’s somewhat of an irrational feeling, I know, but I’m not alone in this sentiment. Other first-time Chanel purchasers have expressed similar feelings to me as well.)
“The price is OUTRAGEOUS. I am just not in a financial position to spend $5000+ on a handbag. What happens if it gets ruined or stolen? Or I drop it in the snow?” wrote a user on tPF.
In 2018, when Megs reported on an earlier Chanel price increase, she touched on the outrage and frustration from consumers, including many of our loyal forum members, who can’t quite understand why prices continue to rise so quickly and sharply, and more importantly, why the quality doesn’t match with the price increase. But as she pointed out, no matter how much people complain, it doesn’t seem to change Chanel’s thinking – and demand doesn’t seem to be slowing.
That’s clearly evidenced by this year’s looming price increase. With prices expected to rise anywhere from $200 to $600, depending on bag style and size, a handful of Chanel bags, including the Classic Flaps, will move into Hermes and Birkin territory. Though they’re not retailing for $8,000 to $10,000 (yet!), a Chanel Classic Flap in the Jumbo or Maxi size isn’t too far off.
At this point, I think if your heart is still set on Chanel (just like mine was), it makes sense to go the pre-loved route. Look for a Chanel in ‘great’ or ‘excellent’ condition, and make sure it includes the authenticity card, and maybe even the dust bag and original box. Look closely at the photos to make sure you really know what you’re purchasing (as many consignment and reseller websites don’t have great return policies). If you’re concerned, look to purchase a pre-loved Chanel on Fashionphile, as the site graces buyers with a 30-day return policy and a six-month buy-back program (which will give you a cash amount of around 70 percent of what you originally paid. Not a store credit!) Not only that, buying pre-loved takes the risk and fear out of actually using these bags, too.
“I think pre-loved is best, as far as Chanel, Hermès, and so on are concerned,” wrote a tPF user. “Compare the quality from before and nowadays, and it is true the quality used to be better. It is less expensive too, so for practical reasons I think it is the best way to go.”