Your Guide to Buying Vintage Chanel Bags

Classic Chanel bags are among the world’s most recognisable accessories and are beloved by a wide range of celebrities, including Alexa Chung, Katie Holmes, and Jackie O. They are also quite valuable, which explains the enormous demand for vintage and pre-loved Chanel bags. The market for these bags is on the rise and searches for vintage Chanel bags have doubled in the past year. With sustainability, eco-friendliness and lower prices in mind, a vintage bag is the way to go.

The 2.55 is the most iconic Chanel bag there is. It debuted in 1955 and was one of the first bags to have a strap that enabled women to have their hands free when carry a bag. The 2.55 became an instant must-have for women.

All 2.55’s have a diamond-quilted leather pattern with a chain strap. The lock on bag is the key on determining when the bag was made. Prior to 1983, the bags had a ‘Mademoiselle’ oblong twist-lock. When Karl Lagerfeld became creative director of the house in 1983, he changed the lock to the double ‘C’ style we all know and love today. He also added the leather interwoven chain as a permanent feather. The hardware on all bags made prior to 2008 was 24 karat gold, which may influence whether you are looking for an investment purchase or a regular-use purchase.

Authenticity is always a concern, but secondhand sites such as Farfetch, Lampoo, Vestiare Collective and Selfridges make purchases much less risky and much easier to complete as they have experts who validate the bags. Many suppliers have mastered the art of imitation, so this is a critical part of the purchasing process.

Keep in mind several things when looking at vintage Chanel bags:

  • If the prices does not seem to be in line with what you expect, it is most likely an imitation.
  • Chanel quilting is plump and full. Deflated quilting is a quick indicator of a potential imitation.
  • Vintage bags need to smell right, meaning they should not smell new.

It’s also important to note that if you purchase a used Chanel handbag, it may have undergone repairs or modifications by the owner. Therefore, it’s crucial to make your decision mostly on the weight of the hardware and straps, as well as the condition of the leather and lining.

For those individuals concerned about impacting the environment, buying secondhand is always more sustainable. Carbon created by the production of something that already exists is bypassed and making sure you authenticate the bag prevents fakes from ending up in a landfill. One other key item some people would not take into consideration when thinking of sustainability is the colour of the bag. Select a colour such as black. It never looks dated and will always be on everyone’s wish list.

If you are not quite ready to make that big purchase on a vintage Chanel bag, rental and re-sale site Cocoon will rent your dream Chanel bag. This gives you the opportunity to determine if the bag meets your needs before committing to the purchase. If you fall in love with the bag you rented, you can make an offer to purchase it and add it to you collection.

Overall, purchasing a pre-loved or vintage Chanel bag is a shopping experience meant to be enjoyed as it is an iconic item to be treasured.

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