Chanel Classics Collection: Most Used, 2020 Price Increase, and If They're Worth It

"One cannot be forever innovating. 
I want to create classics."
- Coco Chanel 

As part of my new blog direction, let's talk bags. And not just any bags, but Chanel bags. It's no secret that I love luxury, but there is something about Chanel that just speaks to me. I don't know when or how it happened because I didn't grow up surrounded by luxury. My mom was probably my biggest influence for falling in love with fashion but high end luxury was not something she had when I was growing up. Yet, somehow around the age of twelve, I fell in love with Chanel. I lusted after owning a pair of the classic CC earrings and I remember scouring eBay for a pair with zero clue how to decipher between authentic or replica. I never did end up getting a pair, but that was just the beginning. I ended up writing papers on fashion of the past and the life of Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel in middle school, high school, and even college. It was an affinity I developed at a young age and has only grown over the years. 

When I finally got my first job, I took my sign-on bonus and splurged on my very first Chanel bag. Read the full story here! I've since grown my collection by a few other pieces which I'll go through below in the order of when I acquired them and how much they cost at the time. I'll also talk about how much they are worth now with the most recent Chanel price increase, which one is my most used, if I think they're worth it, and whether or not I'll be buying more at the new prices!

My collection is small in comparison to others but extremely classic. I buy bags I know will hold their value, and as much as I try to deviate from black Chanel bags...I somehow always end up with a black Chanel bag (minus my mini which is navy). Some might say I could do with more diversity, but black bags work well with my wardrobe. You'd also be surprised how different a bag feels when you change the silhouette even when they're the same color. 

Chanel Medium Classic Flap, Black Caviar w/ GHW // Purchased in 2014, $4900 // New Price May 2020: $6500 ($1600 increase or +32% in 6 years)

This was my very first Chanel and my holy of holy grails. This bag will always be my favorite bag in my collection. She still brings me joy every time I use her, and the smell!! She has the most intoxicating leather smell even after all these years. I personally think the leather on this bag is the most beautiful of my four and has aged wonderfully. I plan on doing an updated blog post on this bag in the future after six years of wear & tear. If you want to own one Chanel bag in your lifetime, buy this bag. However, I will say I think the new price for this at $6500 is steep. That will be nearly $7000 after tax (in New Jersey), and with the variability in leather qualities I'm not sure I would pay that much. When my sister purchased hers a few years after I purchased mine, we only saw one in France that matched the quality of mine. Oddly, the SA was very reluctant to sell that bag to us and kept trying to push other ones they had available. But we insisted on getting the specific bag because its leather was far nicer than the others. So if you're going to spend this much on a bag - do your research, ask to see your options, and don't settle! 

Chanel Old Medium Boy Bag, Black Lambskin w/ Ruthenium Hardware // Purchased in 2016, $4700 // New Price May 2020: TBD, currently $5000 USD but Europe's new 2020 price is 4700 which is around $5100 USD ($300 increase or +6% in 4 years)

I already knew when I purchased my classic flap that the next bag I wanted to add to my collection was the Boy.  All of my bags hold a lot of sentimental value for me which make them hard to let go, but if we are being honest, this is my least used Chanel bag. I think it's largely because of the leather I got this in - the delicate lambskin combined with the boxy shape of this bag really isn't the best pairing. At the time, I wanted black with ruthenium but part of me wishes I had held out and waited to find this in calfskin with chevron quilting instead which is a little more durable. However, I don't think I will ever part ways with this bag because of her sentimental value, so I try to show her love when the outfit fits but I always find myself handling her with a little more care than I wish I had to! I know a lot of other people who own the boy bag that have similar sentiments, so unless you are a die-hard boy bag fan I think she is probably my least recommended classic. 

Chanel Mini Coco Handle, Black Caviar w/ Antique GHW // Purchased in 2017, $3700 // New Price in May 2020: No anticipated increase

I love this bag for so many reasons. When Chanel first released this bag in their Pre-Fall Winter Collection in 2015 I fell in love with her silhouette. It was like an update to their vintage Kelly silhouette - classic but with the diversity of the top handle and longer strap. After acquiring my classic flap and my boy bag, I had a few options in mind for my next Chanel - I wanted either a mini flap (square or rectangle) or the Coco Handle. At the time, it was pretty difficult to find this bag in this combination. The SA who I bought it from told me they usually sold out as soon as they came in so I was lucky they had one in stock! Though this bag is also caviar, the grains on this caviar are smaller than my classic and it feels a bit tougher and drier as well. The leather type makes for a great "everyday" bag. This bag is surprisingly versatile, holds a good amount, and is one of my favorites to travel with. Compared to the price point of the classic flap and the boy, she is also a lot more wallet friendly! I highly, highly recommend this style. I've used her from casual outings to weddings and she always fits the bill. Though we haven't seen a price increase on this bag with the rest of the classics, I believe it's still considered a classic for Chanel and has had continued to be released season after season in the classic colors as well as new seasonal iterations. I think it's a great value for money option for anyone looking for a classic silhouette that's not ready to drop over $5-6k.

Chanel Mini Rectangular Flat, Navy Caviar w/ SHW // Purchased in 2018, $3300 // New Price in May 2020: $3800 ($500 increase or +15% in 2 years)

Last but not cute little mini rectangular and the winner for most used. I love this bag to pieces and truly find her to be my most versatile bag. I searched for a mini bag for two years before I found one that fit my criteria. I started asking for a mini in 2016 at every Chanel store I went to and the answer was always "we don't have any right now" or "yes, we have one in yellow (or some other obscure color I wasn't interested in)". Chanel minis are a hot commodity for a number of reasons, but I think one of the main reasons is their price point. You get the look of a classic flap for about 1/3 to 1/2 the price. For a long time I thought I wanted the square mini over the rectangle, but I'm so glad I ended up with the rectangle. It's easier to pack, fits a larger iPhone better, and honestly is just the perfect little Chanel. Unfortunately, Chanel has stopped producing this bag in caviar leather - 2018 (the year I purchased mine) was the last year they made this bag in caviar. I believe mine is from the very last collection where caviar was offered. Because of that, the caviar versions of these bag have fantastic resale value and I've seen my exact bag selling on Fashionphile for over $4500! If I could recommend any bag after the classic flap to buy, it would be this one. And don't underestimate the versatility of a navy bag - I've found that the navy color makes it the easiest of my bags to dress up or down!

A quick size comparison between the styles on me, cross-bodied. I'm 5'5" and wear a size small or 0-2, and a size 25-26 in denim. 

So will I continue to buy Chanel full price? For classics, probably not. I think the current prices for the Classic Flaps, Re-Issue, and Boy are nearing the price of Hermes, and as much as I love Chanel that's not something I can justify. I could see myself adding a new color Coco Handle or Mini Rectangle to my collection at their current prices though, which I still think are fair. I also wouldn't be opposed to buying a seasonal piece if the price was right, but I think my next foray may be into the pre-owned/vintage market.
What bag do you think I'm eyeing next? And what is your most used Chanel?

What I'm Wearing:
Levi's Wedgie Fit Denim (similar here)

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