Chanel 101

PurseBop is all about handbag education! As handbag aficionados, we simply love looking at bags, but a big part of the fun is learning about the history and every little detail behind each bag. We started our comprehensive 101 series with Hermes Birkin vs Kelly 101. Today, we’re diving into Chanel 101 and taking a closer look at iconic bags. Even if you’re a Chanel expert, you’re bound to learn something new from this guide!

What to expect in this reference guide:
I. Brand History
II. Iconic Bags – History & Features
III. Chanel Classic Flap vs. Chanel Reissue
IV. Chanel Classic Flap vs. Boy Bag
V. Bag Interiors
VI. Size Comparisons
VII. Prices
VII. Instagram Eye Candy

Brand History

Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel established the French fashion house Chanel in 1909. Coco Chanel first moved to Paris with the intention of designing hats for her wealthy friends, but the business expanded quickly to cater to women of elegant tastes in clothing, jewelry, bags, and more. She earned an independent living for a while making hats, but then befriended Arthur ‘Boy’ Capel, an English socialite and polo player who helped her finance her first millinery shop, Chanel Modes, at 31 rue Cambon Paris.

Chanel rose quickly in popularity and reached legendary status in the luxury world because of its ingenious goods and willingness to experiment. In 1921, the famous perfume Chanel No. 5 was introduced. In 1926, Coco Chanel created the “Little Black Dress.” In 1955, the iconic 2.55 bag was created. Finally in 1983, Karl Lagerfeld was appointed as the artistic director of Chanel and a whole new generation of fashion has propelled forward since.  In 2005, Lagerfeld redesigned the 2.55 bag, which is now known as the Chanel Classic Flap. In 2009, the Boy Bag joins the Chanel bag family.

Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel


Karl Lagerfeld – Head Designer and Creative Director of Chanel

Chanel Iconic Bags

Chanel has three iconic bags that are permanent in their bag line and are re-released in new colors and materials seasonally. The three icons have all been “it” bags at some point. Some handbag aficionados consider these bags as staples in any collection!

The Three Icons

  • Chanel Classic Flap Bag
  • Chanel Reissue Bag
  • Chanel Boy Bag

Chanel Reissue History

The Reissue bag was created in February of 1955 by Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel herself. The Reissue Bag’s official name is the “2.55” bag. It became known as the Reissue to avoid confusion with the Classic Flap after Karl Lagerfeld re-designed the 2.55. The name 2.55 is based on the date of its creation “2” February the second month of the year and “55” for 1955. Coco Chanel created this bag with a true vision in mind. She was tired of carrying top handle bags on her arm and decided to create something with longer, thinner straps that could be worn over the shoulder to free up her arms.

Many details of the bag symbolize aspects of Coco’s life. Coco Chanel loved jewelry and wanted the chain to resemble a necklace. She grew up in an orphanage, and the double chain straps are made from the same type of chains children’s caretakers used to their carry keys. The burgundy interior lining of the handbag was the exact color of the uniforms from her childhood orphanage. The quilted leather of the handbag was inspired by the quilted jackets that jockey players wore during games. The zippered compartment is where she stored her love letters from her affair.

Chanel Reissue Features

The leather on the Reissue bag has a very distinct look. Compared to the classic flap, the leather is more worn looking. One of the most prominent features of the Reissue bag is its chain strap that is very jewelry-like. The Reissue has a burgundy interior lining. The Reissue also has a zippered compartment and pocket on the back of the bag.

Chanel Classic Flap History

After becoming artistic director in the 1980s, Karl Lagerfeld replace the bags rectangular Madeoiselle lock with an interlocking CC logo. The strap was also modified too. Instead of just plain hardware, it was interwoven with leather. Again in 2005, Karl Lagerfeld redesigned the 2.55 (Reissue) in commemoration of its 55th anniversary. The silhouette was kept the same, but it was given a modernized touch up and became what we know was the Classic Flap.

Technically, the name Reissue would signify a bag that was produced after the original. If following the strictest definition of “reissue”,  bags produced with the CC logo after the year 2005 should really be called reissues. However, the 2.55 bags with the mademoiselle locks have come to be known as “reissues” and bags with the interlocking CC’s are known as classic flaps.

Chanel Classic Flap Features

The Classic Flap bears many similarities to the Reissue bag. However, the Classic Flap has an interwoven leather strap, double CC lock, and a double flap.

Read the full story behind the Reissue and the Chanel Classic Flap in our Classic Chanel feature

Chanel Boy Bag History

The Chanel Boy Bag debuted in 2012. Compared to the Classic Flap and Reissue, it is a fairly new addition to Chanel’s ring of staple classics. The Boy bag was inspired by cartridge bags, which are used for hunting.

Chanel Boy Bag Features

Even though Chanel is known for innovative and quirky bags in general, compared to the more everyday bags, the Boy bag asserts itself as bold and edgy. The chain is wider and has darker, more antiqued looking hardware compared to the jewelry-like nature of the Chanel Classic flap. The bag itself has straight, clean lines showing Chanel’s intent of conveying the Boy bag’s modern freshness and sporty vibe.

Read more about the Boy Bag in depth The Boy Craze: Chanel Boy Bag Reference Guide

Chanel Classic Flap vs. Chanel Reissue

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Chanel Classic Flap vs. Chanel Boy Bag

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Bag Interiors

Chanel Classic Flap Double Flap Interior

Chanel Classic Single Flap Interior (Vintage)

Chanel Boy Bag Interior

Chanel Reissue Interior

Size Comparisons

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Chanel Classic Flap Size Comparison

The Chanel Classic Flap comes in 7 different sizes. As you progress down the range, each bag gets shorter in length by about a factor of 1.5 inches and shorter in height by a factor of 1 inch.

  • Extra Mini
  • Mini (Square)
  • Mini (Rectangle)
  • Small
  • Medium
  • Jumbo
  • Maxi

Chanel Mini Family

There are three diminutive “mini” sizes in the Chanel Classic Flap family. The mini bag trend has been immensely popular the past few years. The Chanel mini is a crowd favorite because of its versatility, affordability compared to other bags, and its overall adorable look.

  • Extra Mini
  • Mini (Square)
  • Mini Rectangle

To read more on the Chanel mini and its popularity, read our feature The Chanel Mini: Small is the New Big…

Dimensions (L x H x W inches)

Classic Flap Extra Mini 6.7” x 3.9” x 3”
Classic Flap Mini (Square) 6.5” x 5” x 2.5”
Classic Flap Mini (Rectangle)8” x 5” x 2”
Classic Flap Small9.3” x 5.7” x 2.6”
Classic Flap Medium10” x 6.3” x 3”
Classic Flap Jumbo11.8” x 7.9” x 3.9”
Classic Flap Maxi13.4” x 9.1” x 3.9”

Chanel Boy Bag Size Comparison

Like the Chanel Classic Flap, the Boy bag comes in a range of sizes to suite every look. The small boy bag is more akin to a mini bag and is perfectly suited for special, formal occasions and looks great in bright, glittery colors. Larger sizes like the medium and jumbo work well for travel. The Boy bag family has two “medium” sizes. The new medium was an addition to the collection after the Boy bag release. The new medium is a little bit larger and roomier than the old medium, and has more interior pockets for extra storage.

  • Small
  • Old Medium
  • New Medium
  • Jumbo (also known as Large)

Dimensions (L x H x W inches)

Boy Bag Small7.9″ x 4.7″ x 3.1″
Boy Bag Old Medium9.8″ x 5.9″ x 3.5″
Boy Bag New Medium11″ x 7″ x 3.5″
Boy Bag Jumbo11.8″ x 8.3″ x 3.9″

Chanel Reissue Size Comparison

The Chanel 2.55 Reissue bag is available in four sizes. Even though both the Classic Flap and Reissue bag share a very similar look, their sizing systems are completely different.

  • 224 – comparable to the Chanel Classic Flap mini. The 224 is more limited than other sizes in the Reissue family.
  • 225 – comparable to the Chanel Medium Classic Flap
  • 226 – comparable to the Chanel Jumbo Classic Flap
  • 227 – comparable to the Chanel Maxi Classic Flap

Dimensions (L x H x W inches)

Reissue 224 Bag8″ x 6″ x 2″
Reissue 225 Bag10″ x 6″ x 2.5″
Reissue 226 Bag11″ x 8″ x 3.5″
Reissue 227 Bag12″ x 7.5″ x 3.75"


Last year in April, Chanel harmonized prices globally. This move equalized pricing across the world. Prices especially for the iconic bags were raised in Europe to compensate for the devaluing euro and decreased in other places such as China. Prices in the US stayed somewhat the same. The price adjustment was designed to ensure worldwide prices never fluctuate more than 10% from the global euro benchmark. Bags released after this date reflect that the price gap has indeed narrowed. For shoppers, the idea of seeing Chanel as cheaper in Europe no longer holds as true.

Read our features on the Chanel price adjustments below:
Chanel Adopts New Pricing Scheme
Global Price Implications on Chanel Street
Chanel – No Longer a Tourist Bag
Chanel Increases Prices in the UK

Chanel Classic Flap Prices

SizePrice in USD
Classic Flap Extra Mini$2400
Classic Flap Square Mini$2700
Classic Flap Rectangle Mini$2900
Classic Flap Small$4700
Classic Flap Medium$4900
Classic Flap Jumbo$5500
Classic Flap Maxi$6000

Chanel Boy Bag Prices

SizePrice in USD
Boy Bag Small$4300
Boy Bag New Medium$4700
Boy Bag Old Medium$5200
Boy Bag Jumbo$5500

Chanel Reissue Prices

SizePrice in USD
Chanel Reissue 224$4700
Chanel Reissue 225$4900
Chanel Reissue 226$5500
Chanel Reissue 227$6000

Instagram Eye Candy

Here at PurseBop we simply LOVE Chanel. Check out eye candy of Chanel bags from our instagram community.

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To celebrate CHANEL we are dedicating a week to sharing all your fabulous CC inspired shots on our platforms called BopTalk Chanel Week! Post your pictures here on Boptalk & on instagram for us to see. Be sure to tag us at @pursebop &@boptalk and use hashtag #BopTalkChanelWeek

Did pick up on any new CC knowledge? Stay tuned for more 101 classes!

Love PurseBop

Published: June 11th, 2016
Updated: January 12th, 2024

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5 Responses to “Chanel 101”

  • Great info, I have a mini rectangle lambskin and I LOVE the bag. Question to anyone out there, when was the mini rectangle debut? Will the mini be a part of the permanent flap bag? I only carry the small Chanel wallet, LV cles, and one lip balm, I travel light, I don’t wear make up so the mini is a perfect bag for me and I love the crossbody style. ALL my handbags are crossbody in exception to my vintage lambskin flap bag. Thanks! My SA is looking out for a few mini rectangles for me. Caviar black, beige and hopefully they’ll have the burgundy.

  • Thanks for the detailed post!! I adore all things Chanel, and was lucky enough to get my classic jumbo at the Rue Cambon boutique last year. It was so amazing to see Coco’s lovely mirrored staircase, and leave with my beautiful new bag. ❤️❤️❤️

  • The pricing for Chanel boy old medium is $4700. I believe the new and old medium boy prices got mixed up.