PurseBlog Asks: To Buy (or Not to Buy) a Classic Chanel Flap Bag

Why does this feel like the hardest decision ever?

It’s funny to think back to when my admiration (and now deep obsession) for handbags really took flight. It was during my first year of college, where I dreamed of making enough money to one day buy a Chanel or Prada. I wasn’t sure what exact bag I’d purchase, but it was a nice fantasy to escape the weekly exams and study sessions.

As the months went by, I got more familiar with styles and brands and I started to understand the significance of classics. I had just started interning for a local luxury magazine (where many of the women I worked for all carried unbelievably gorgeous purses). But at that point, I was barely making any money. So I settled for the most realistic option: I’d save up for a Louis Vuitton Neverfull. All I’d need to do is put away $100 each month, and in a little over a year I’d reach my goal. My justification was it would be virtually impossible to not get my money’s worth. I fantasized about how it was practical enough to wear during school and work, and stylish enough to take out on the weekends.

In the end, I never got the Neverfull. I couldn’t get over the rampant logo all over the bag—but that’s another story. (I guess that’s what happens when you have too much time to think about a bag.) Something else I began to realize was that it would make more sense to save up for the real bag of my dreams: The Chanel Classic Flap Bag. I had read all about how timeless it is and how well it holds its value. I don’t remember exactly how much it was at the time, but it definitely wasn’t what it is today. So on I went with saving money for a few years…

But ever since November, when Chanel introduced yet another price increase on many of its timeless classics, including the Flap Bag, it really made me wonder whether or not purchasing it is still worth it. (I was actually planning to buy it last year before the crazy hike!)


I always thought I’d go for the medium size, which today retails for $5,600. That’s almost a six percent increase from last year’s $5,300. 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. Ugh, the good old days.

When Megs reported the price increase a few months ago, 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…

So now what? Truth is, I’ve saved the amount needed to purchase my first Chanel, even with the increase. Yet I just can’t wrap my head around spending more than $5,000 on a bag, let alone one that’s slightly small and not always the most practical or durable. But then I think about some of the other classics out there—the Birkin being one of the biggest—which cost a small fortune, too. There’s always the option of purchasing a pre-loved Chanel, but the ones in great condition are pretty pricey as well.

What would you do? Would you buy the Flap Bag for its reputation and increasing value? Or do you think the brand has gone too far?