In Chanel we trust.
The Chanel Classic Flap spurs discussion like few other handbags. Lambskin or caviar? Rose gold or champagne? Evening or day bag? There are as many opinions as fabrication options! But if there’s one thing Chanel lovers agree on, it’s the Classic Flap’s timelessness. A bag that remains stylish decade after decade (almost) justifies the ever-increasing cost.
A long-standing epitome of elegance, the Chanel Flap handbag has an illustrious past, peppered with a hint of scandal courtesy of the intriguing Mademoiselle Coco. Nevertheless, the bag was designed with functionality in mind. Indeed, it was the first time a woman’s handbag included a shoulder strap!
To be clear, however, the original flap style is the one we now refer to as the 2.55, or reissue. Legendary designer Karl Lagerfeld added the double CC lock closure, creating what is now referred to as the Classic.
Read: Chanel 101
Always an expensive luxury item, in recent years, Chanel’s prices skyrocketed to new levels. In 2021 alone, the price of a medium Classic Flap increased $2300, 35%, to $8800. Nevertheless, demand for this bag spiked as well.
The Classic Flap is an enduring sign of elegance and prestige. Although it may seem on social media that everyone and their mother (and grandmother) own them, it’s still a pretty exclusive club of owners. Limits on purchases only fuel this desire further.
So why is the bag so popular? Beyond style and status, it’s actually a practical design. Copied or inspired, just think of how many other brand collections include a flap bag with chain strap. Day or night, casual or dressy, the Classic Flap can fit the occasion.
Moreover, when a bag can be used anywhere for anything, that cost per use calculation falls dramatically. And that makes it easier to justify a big spend.
Of course, that begs the question: where can (or can’t) you use your flap? Below we discuss factors to consider when deciding whether the Chanel Flap should be your bag du jour. Bottom line – it’s really up to you.
It is indeed possible to wear your Chanel everywhere imaginable. But the catch here is the material. You might actually need to own multiple versions to make sure you have one for every occasion (not that it’s impossible, of course)!
However, the general consensus is that caviar, being the hardiest of the offerings, allows maximum versatility. Style it with jeans, slacks or maxi dresses, it elevates every outfit. Some users even deem the thick grained leather to be indestructible! However, can it be considered dressy enough for formal occasions? That’s up for debate.
On the other hand, the more polished lambskin solves that dilemma. Its drawback is that it’s more scratch-prone and fragile. So it likely won’t be a “wear everywhere” purse unless you are always careful. And even then, it may not remain blemish-free!
Another contender is patent leather, especially on vintage bags. With a lacquer coating on the leather, patent is a sturdy material. However, its natural gloss may be too attention-drawing for many users. Plus, it has its own drawbacks, from color bleeding onto clothing, potential transfer from clothing (especially on lighter shades, that may also yellow) and the eventual possibility of cracking of the lacquer, which is irreparable.
Tweed, another of Chanel’s house signatures, is again more appropriate in a casual setting. On the other hand, add some sparkles to that tweed as Chanel is known to do, and you’ve got an evening bag.
And while more novelty elements like PVC might be just what you need for a pool party, perhaps not on a dinner date (unless of course, you like sharing the contents).
Of course, size matters. A night out with pals likely means you don’t need to schlep along all your daily essentials. Hence, you can get away with carrying a mini to small sized Classic Flap in the covetable light colors or iridescents that are sure to make your friends swoon!
On the other hand, for everyday essentials, a small to medium Classic Flap might comfortably get you through. Use the same bag in the workplace though and even Marie Kondo would be frustrated trying to fit everything into anything smaller than a Jumbo! Then again, if you’re required to haul your laptop and gym clothes, you might need a tote. And that’s an entirely different story!
Another consideration that comes with size is the weight – a Jumbo or Maxi packed to the brim with workplace paraphernalia would likely be a lot heavier than that Mini which probably won’t fit your wallet. Just saying.
Speaking of the workplace, you always should be mindful of your surroundings. Is carrying high-end bags the norm where you work or among your friends? In that case, Chanel’s instantly recognizable interlocking C’s are actually a signal of your (good) taste. You might then want to invest in a slightly different/limited edition style to make yourself stand out!
If your colleagues prefer more low-key items, however, a lot is left to your value judgement. Would they recognize it and form negative opinions about you? Perhaps opting for something more under the radar would be better. Conversely, are logos too loud or out of place? Also, is there any safe storage space or repository to stow away your little lady? Having these considerations in mind, you might take your chances carrying that Classic Flap to work after all!
Choice of Attire
The great thing about the the Classic Flap is that it was designed with convenience in mind. So, literally anybody of any age (and gender) can rock a flap! And that’s where its versatility plays its magic.
For someone who really puts together daily ensembles and changes handbags accordingly, making the look visually consistent is important. Others prefer the grab and go convenience of a nice bag . . . where it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing. Of course, it may seem a mismatch, but it’s really a matter of preference. Even JLo, for example, repeatedly carries a Birkin to the gym! In other words, you do you!
As with material considerations, it helps to be mindful of certain things here. Pairing a non-black shade with denim, for instance, leaves your purse vulnerable to transfers. And some would say, wearing a patent red flap on an all-white ensemble is a disaster waiting to happen!
Risk of Damage
This one’s entirely your call. If you’re happy to carry your flap on public transport, no problem. But it doesn’t harm to keep in mind that your purse would be scraping against a lot of strangers and potentially end up with marks or damage. And always keep in mind, personal safety. You don’t want to become a snatcher’s potential target for carrying Chanel!
Many ladies, in fact, prefer to carry a WOC on such occasions and even turn the logos inside to be less obvious! It also goes without saying not to take your caviar flap to the pool or the beach. Chanel has PVC for a reason, you know.
Again, depending on the location, you might want to be careful of which kind of flap you get. Caviar, of course, can withstand rain & snow. Still, it’s not meant to be soaked! If lambskin is your preference, perhaps have a dust bag or a rain cover handy. And don’t forget to regularly condition and buff the leather too! Alternatively you could plan to stay indoors *forever*. Just kidding!
But even the general climate makes a lot of difference. A hot and humid zone automatically means sweating is involved. And we all know how damaging that can be to leather! On a happier note, people living in cooler areas are in luck! A vibrant red flap might be just the statement accessory over layers of neutral coats, overcoats and trenches! And the long(ish) strap of a Classic Flap accommodates those bulkier togs.
Extreme cold, however, also brings a note of caution. The leather could dry and thus hasten the cracking of patent. So, investing in some leather-care is of the essence.
So, what’s the verdict? Where should you wear and not wear your Classic Flap? The good news – everywhere! At least with some thought and care. And… you just might find you want more than one.
Where and when do you use your Chanel flap? Are there any times or places that you won’t? Let us know.
Written by Sajid Sajid Bin Mohammad
Updated: February 6th, 2022