I can’t remember exactly how old I was when I first set my sights on one day purchasing a Chanel bag. A Chanel Classic Flap in caviar leather in a playful lilac hue, to be precise. And for years I have imagined closing the signature flap, turning the famous CC lock, and swinging this diamond-quilted icon over my shoulder.

When I first dreamt of this style as a teenager a decade ago, Chanel bags were by no means a bargain. Around the early 2010s, a medium Classic Flap would have set you back around $3,000. Quite a hefty dent in the savings of a teenager. But if I had known what that same style would be worth in 10 years (and had a few thousand to spare), I would have made the plunge and perhaps be living off of my shrewd investment now.

Since then, the heritage Parisian label has launched a campaign of relentless price increases occurring up to three times a year. The house’s most sought-after styles now tout an eye-wateringly high price tag that would have been unrecognizable to consumers a mere decade ago, my teenage self included. And so, the arrival of the day I purchase my dream Chanel bag is seeming increasingly unlikely.

With the emergence and rapid growth of the luxury resale market in recent years, there are new avenues for purchasing Chanel bags at a more affordable price point. However, the first-hand market’s price increases have had a knock-on effect on the cost of pre-loved styles. And so, Chanel bags remain increasingly unattainable for many consumers, whichever way they opt to purchase.

This prompts the question – Have I given up on my dream Chanel bag? And am I the only one?

Chanel Classic Mini

A Chanel Mini Flap now costs $4,400

Price Increases

Let’s look at the facts. Chanel bags have increased in price exponentially in the last few years.
And while other major heritage labels, including the likes of Hermès, Dior, and,Louis Vuitton, have also elevated their prices, no other bags have fallen prey as much as Chanel’s classics.

Last year alone there were three Chanel price increases, with the last installment seeing the cost of some styles rise by over 15%. Over the past decade, the price of my dream Chanel bag, along with a slew of other equally desirable classics and fan-favorite styles, has risen well above the inflation rate. A medium Classic Flap is now $8,800 – around three times the price it was a little over a decade ago.

While top economists quarrel over whether real estate, stocks, or gold is the best investment, Chanel has been using exquisite leather, its classic interlocking CC emblem, and signature diamond stitching to craft not just lust-worthy bags but financial assets.

This has made Chanel’s bags desirable for a whole new reason. And with prices increasing while styles remain just as sought after, it has set the label apart from other designers that once shared Chanel’s price point and has worked to align Chanel with a different tier of luxury brands.

Dare I say, Hermès?

There’s no denying that Chanel’s price increase strategy resembles that of Hermès. The price of signature Hermès styles like the Birkin and Kelly has risen remarkably since the early 2000s. And now the price of Chanel bags is closer to the region of Hermès classics than the likes of Dior, Louis Vuitton, and Fendi.

There have long been rumblings within the designer bag fandom that Chanel’s price increase strategy is an attempt to align the brand with Hermès. Many interpret these price increases from Chanel as a not-so-subtle jump to try and keep up with Hermès’ pricing strategy and affiliate itself with the prestige and status of its competitor. And as of June 2022, Chanel has begun implementing a quota system similar to the one Hermès notoriously uses to limit the supply of its classic bags.

Chanel once ranked in-between Louis Vuitton and Hermès in terms of attainability for shoppers like me hoping to save up their pennies to one day splurge on a holy grail purchase. But now, Chanel has become more unattainable than ever. And that seems to be the label’s goal.

Chanel Classic White Flap

The Pre-Owned Avenue

The designer resale market was once a safe haven for me and many others looking for a bargain (in terms of luxury, at least). When I first discovered second-hand designer items on sites like Vestiaire Collective and The RealReal, it opened up a new layer of the luxury fashion industry. Pieces I once thought were far out of my reach became attainable.

Chanel bags have always been an integral part of second-hand luxury. Consumers who no longer find the rising prices of Chanel bags attainable once flocked to the resale space in search of a better deal. But shoppers like myself are now facing staggering Chanel price increases on the pre-owned market as well.

Relentless price increases along with the growing awareness and popularity of second-hand designer goods, mean pre-loved Chanel is no longer the bargain it once was. Five to ten years ago, second-hand Chanel Classic Flap bags would range from around $2,000 to $3,000. But now that figure has increased to $5,000 to $9,000, depending on the condition, material and color.

With the introduction of the Chanel Classic Flap quota system hiking up the resale value of the bags even further, it looks like the cost of Chanel bags on the secondary market will only increase in forthcoming years.

Turning To Other Brands

While scrolling through pages of pre-owned Chanel bags on luxury resale sites and learning about the news of Chanel’s recurring price increases, it’s hard not to be tempted by another luxury brand offering new and interesting styles.

Chanel’s storied heritage and enduring designs are a huge part of the label’s appeal to eager-eyed shoppers like myself dreaming of one day buying into the famous designer. But today, more luxury brands are vying for the attention of consumers, especially those of us seeking a lower price point, than ever before.

Cult-favorite labels such as Telfar and Jacquemus have exploded in recent years and the popularity and ‘It’ bag status of their signature handbags like the Telfar Shopping Bag and Le Chiquito has certainly caught my eye.

Diesel’s new celebrity-approved 1DR style and emerging classics like the JW Anderson Bumperbag are also among the more affordable cohort of designs I’m starting to consider instead of Chanel’s increasingly costly designs.

There’s certainly still a place in my heart for my Chanel Classic Flap in lilac caviar leather, even if it remains hypothetical. With my hope of one day owning the style waning, I’m increasingly turning to alternative brands that offer more attainable designs. But whether or not there will always be a Classic Flap-shaped hole in my luxury wish list remains undetermined.

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Lori
Lori
18 days ago

I can actually afford a Chanel bag at the current prices but would never give them that kind of money for their bags. The quality just isn’t there. It’s a big cash grab and nothing more on their part. I have started buying lesser known pre owned bags and have been really happy with both the price and the quality. I recently got a Moynat and a Loro Piana bag and both are beautiful, well made and a great value (both were under $1000 used). Good luck Chanel, because I truly feel people are over your greedy price gouging.

rufiny
rufiny
17 days ago
Reply to  Lori

Agree. I have Delvaux and Loewe really happy with their quality. Loewe is more fun though.

Abs
Abs
18 days ago
Reply to  Lori

The quality of Moynat has made me hesitant to purchase a Chanel, especially at that price point. I would rather spend elsewhere, despite seeing some beautiful Chanel bags.

nechama
nechama
18 days ago

Remembering Coco Chanel was a Nazi spy always makes me feel better about not having one of her bags 💀

(I have some chanel perfumes though, I’m not trying to shame anyone)

Leah
Leah
16 days ago
Reply to  nechama

That’s why I mainly only bought from Lagerfeld’s collection and seasonal pieces. Not a fan of Coco herself for the same reason.

rsb2929
rsb2929
16 days ago
Reply to  nechama

Girl – I feel you. It absolutely GUTS me that someone who was so outspoken about women’s independence and self determination chose to fall on THAT side of that bright line. I can’t get that out of my mind everytime I see the logo.

Not shaming anyone either. Chanel is now owned by the Wertheimers and is the only luxury house with a brown female CEO (the first non-family CEO).

My closet is 20% Chanel because the suits and jackets are impeccable. But I can’t look that double CC in the eye.

The price increases on the bags just insult my intelligence though. I saved for two more years and went to Hermes.

Mariam
Mariam
18 days ago

I was going to purchase a Chanel Diana pre-loved this Summer for about $2,800. However, I realised
a) I do not personally agree with the way they have hiked their prices
b) It is just a bag, and at this time/age I would rather save it or travel
c) Most importantly, there are other bags that are cheaper and of equal quality and I also have enough bags. I have my eye on the Celine Pico belt bag, I own Coach bags and YSL bags which are of good quality and that is enough for me

pinksky777
pinksky777
17 days ago

You couldn’t PAY ME to wear a Chanel bag, especially a classic flap. It’s so basic now and is almost a direct representation of zero style. Also the quality is so terrible it’s actually a joke that they have the audacity to price the bags the way they do. Hermès at least has that superior quality to back up their brand/prices.

spoiledinseattle
spoiledinseattle
18 days ago

The more expensive and hard to get an item is, the less I want it. Chanel seems to be traversing down a path toward becoming too stuffy and elitist, there are so many other designers making beautiful quality pieces for a fraction of the price

Yazi
Yazi
17 days ago

As much as I’d love one, at the end of the day it’s just a handbag. There are more worthwhile things to spend money on.

Ed B
Ed B
17 days ago
Reply to  Yazi

I don’t like any current Chanel offerings and the news I see of their prices make me roll my eyes and affirm my decision to not buy a handbag from them… BUT come on “better things to spend money on” is a bit of a silly comment on a purse blog imo. I mean I get what you mean, but at that point none of us should be on this site, following a purse fashion blog and commenting on it etc is by design a frivolous activity.

Yazi
Yazi
16 days ago
Reply to  Ed B

If you get what I mean, then why do you sound angry?

I own many bags from different brands, the fact that I buy bags doesn’t mean a lack of awareness for the value of money. Especially a Chanel bag price that can equal a car or an apartment in some countries.

Mel
Mel
18 days ago

Dang. I’m feeling so lucky that my dad worked for Chanel for 20+ years in the 80s and 90s. I have my moms hand me downs and my grandmas classic flap that he got for a discount (I assume) back then!

Julia
Julia
18 days ago

You are the majority, despite what this website and Instagram projects. I was lucky to get one classic flap in store in September 2020 before all the price increases, but I saved up for 3 years.

Chanel’s new elitist stance to only offer classic flaps based off how much you buy and only offer to those with previous purchase histories is just their way to keep the outsiders looking in… and to make them feel like they’re outside of it all with no way in. It’s a bit sad, amongst all the reasons you named, but especially because the quality hasn’t improved either :/

Susan
Susan
18 days ago

I think most people are just bitter because they are priced out but would be first in line for a free Chanel bag.

Amazona
Amazona
14 days ago
Reply to  Susan

Then there are those, who don’t find a C flap the least bit tempting.
The only way I would ever own a C bag is by getting it for free, as it’s not worth much more to me.

Blankie
Blankie
14 days ago
Reply to  Susan

My guess is quite a few people got priced “into” Hermes because at this point you can just add money and get Hermes. They lost interest rather than got angry.

Julia
Julia
16 days ago
Reply to  Susan

I think commenters here who cannot afford a classic flap are frustrated by Chanel’s insensitive, daft tactics. I too am offended by the company’s sheer lack of effort in not seeming like complete a-holes with all their scandals in the past year, despite owning three bags at this point.

Lisa
Lisa
16 days ago
Reply to  Susan

Susan, what an awful thing to say. You obviously have no filter. Even if you are correct, (which you are not as you cannot assume that whoever is bitter cannot afford a Chanel bag) there is a thing called tact and empathy, both of which you appear to lack. How sad for you; I recommend you see a therapist. You sound so shallow and pathetically unhappy. Good luck to you and all of you luxury bags.

Lindsay
Lindsay
17 days ago
Reply to  Susan

Exactly. If you’re too poor for Chanel, just say so. No need for the 200+-word essay.

chloehandbags
chloehandbags
14 days ago
Reply to  Lindsay

She’s saying she now feels too poor when she didn’t before.

So, something has changed.

That’s a valid point of view.

Sara
Sara
16 days ago
Reply to  Lindsay

It’s okay to be nouveau riche…but you try not to make it so obvious.

Lindsay
Lindsay
16 days ago
Reply to  Sara

I’m a reissue girl by heart and would never be caught dead with a classic flap so I don’t know where you’re getting your assumptions from.

Ed B
Ed B
17 days ago
Reply to  Susan

Eh, I think it’s very hard to know how “most” people feel in either direction. Maybe Chanel is selling fantastically and price increases aren’t to try to match revenue but just to take advantage of the high popularity, maybe they’re increasing prices to try to make-up for lost sales in quantity, we just have no idea. Or maybe most buyers are loyalists, maybe most buyers are “university graduation present” sort of family gifts or “I got this with my first good paycheck” folk or whatever. We just don’t know.

For me personally, I keep liking a tote or something from Chanel a little bit, but never enough to pull the trigger. I feel the same about a couple Dior items. I genuinely can’t even remember the price because my personal limit for caring about that is “if you really are going to use it, under 1k don’t think about it, more than 10k don’t buy even after thinking” lol. So if the bag is 3 or 4k I genuinely won’t even remember. I’m fortunate enough that I can afford 10k bags once or twice a year and it won’t affect my savings.

I still don’t think Chanel pieces I’ve seen are worth the Chanel price *for me personally*. If I were given for free (and without a line it’s too cold right now for lines outside), I’d give it to my sister whose style more fits with that sort of chevron/preppy look. I wouldn’t scoff and say no to it just to make a point, that’s just stupid. I also wouldn’t say no to a Birkin which is a bag I absolutely hate, I can find someone who loves it to give it to, it’s “free money”!

Fi Marie
Fi Marie
16 days ago
Reply to  Ed B

Yes I agree, if they have a long waiting list for the bags of course they can see it fit to raise prices with demand!

K D
K D
17 days ago
Reply to  Susan

Does it make you feel superior to make the ridiculous assumption that people “are just bitter because they are priced out” of buying Chanel? What a really tacky and bougie thing to say!

Jenny
Jenny
17 days ago
Reply to  K D

I agree with you KD. It was a tacky and classless thing to say. Remember, money doesn’t buy you class.

Susan
Susan
17 days ago
Reply to  K D

The truth hurts, doesn’t it?

K D
K D
17 days ago
Reply to  Susan

Sorry it hurts to learn you’re bougie.

Susan
Susan
17 days ago
Reply to  K D

Maybe you should look in the mirror. You’re the one passing judgement on others and calling people derogatory names. 🤷🏽‍♀️

Sam
Sam
16 days ago
Reply to  Susan

You set the tone for this discussion when you posted “I think most people are just bitter because they are priced out…”. You can’t say “most people” because that sounds like a judgment vs. an actual fact.

For ex: I purchased 2 Chanel flaps when they were $3,600.00 and today they are still in excellent condition. Why would I buy the same bag today for $8,400.00? Can I afford it? Yes, but do I want to spend $4800.00 more for the same bag today? No. That would be financial suicide and just plain stupid. I put my money into brands that stand behind their bags and provide excellent quality, like Hermes. Chanel does not offer the same quality despite charging, in some cases, the same price as an Hermes Birkin. Why would I spend that much money for crap?

Lastly, if Chanel wanted to stupidly give me a bag would I accept it? Sure, who wouldn’t since it’s worth something to someone. However, I’d only turn around and sell it to purchase a Birkin.

rufiny
rufiny
17 days ago
Reply to  Susan

Yes and then resell it right away for the cash value. Maybe I’ll keep a free one from karl lagerfield or earlier era when the quality was still good and design was fun.

Julia
Julia
18 days ago
Reply to  Susan

You’re not wrong. But their quality has effectively declined steeply for decades :/

Sandy
Sandy
18 days ago
Reply to  Susan

Ha, I agree! I purchased several Chanel bags a few years ago and I cannot believe how much the same bags cost today! Still love my Chanel bags and it is possible I will buy another, who knows!

Karen
Karen
17 days ago

I was obsessed with Chanel until a couple of years ago. The constant price increases combined with a steady decline in quality made me explore Hermes and I couldn’t be happier.

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