Buying my First Chanel Bag – Part 1 -Introductory Blog Post

This is going to be my most pricey review yet. Buying and owning a piece of Chanel is such an investment, and if you’re like me, and you like beautiful, hard-wearing handbags, you’ll appreciate this review. I hope this will be a handy guide for whoever wants to decide what size/what leather and what hardware to buy when you pick out your first Chanel.

My Buying Story

I was very lucky when it came to buying my bag. I was gifted some money by my grandparents, and instead of saving it (I knew that I’d waste it on random stuff over a few years) I decided that this was a sign to buy a piece of Chanel. IMG_4887

Before you criticise, please refer back to my other designer bag pieces (Speedy, Neverfull, Wallet, Le Pliage) and see that I’m not just buying this bag because I could. Each one of my bags I adore and use on a regular basis, and apart from a hardy backpack I use for travelling long distances, I don’t actually own any other bags.

So I knew that to help top off my collection, I needed a good day-to-night bag that screams sophistication and class. And for me, that’s a Chanel classic flap bag.

But instead of buying it through the Chanel boutique, I decided to try out the pre-owned market. There will be My Experiences with Shopping on the Vestiaire Collective post coming up so stay tuned.

I had watched various YouTubers use and shop on pre-owned sites (videos that helped me):

Chase Amie’s video on buying pre-loved Chanel Bags

Lydia Elise Millen buying from the Vestiaire Collective

Jerusha Couture on her Fashionphile Collection

So I was confident that buying from Vestiaire Collective would be a great way to find high quality, authentic designer bags for good deals. I know that there have been some negative points made about shopping on Vestiaire, but during my one purchase there, I didn’t experience anything like this.

Questions to Ask

Deciding Which Bag.

This may sound obvious to the reader here. ‘Just buy a Chanel bag, they all look the same’.

Yeah it wasn’t that simple.

For me, buying a Chanel bag goes between two styles. The 2.55 Reissue Bag and the Classic Flap. I love the Boy Bag, but it just wasn’t for me as my first Chanel bag. I wanted to go classic.

With the Classic Flap, you have the interlocking CC’s for the lock, with the siluotte of the 2.55 bag, and with the Reissue 2.55, this is slightly different look and style.

the-differences-between-the-chanel-2-55-and-classi-1

Image Credit – Designer-Vintage

 

I decided to go for the Classic Flap. I love the Reissue and would definitely purchase it in the future, but for my first one, I knew that I wanted the real classic look.

The second question I asked was, ‘What size should I go’.

Now this one really took a while to answer. I knew I was going to have to go for Medium or Jumbo (for my first investment piece, I couldn’t go Small) but as I never saw a side-by-side comparison in real life, I had to rely on YouTube once more to guide me.

Videos I found useful during this time:

What’s in my Bag – Alexis AKA MissTrenchcoat

Carol Summers – Jumbo vs Maxi

Chase Amie – Ultimate Chanel Guide

And after a lot of debating, I decided upon a Jumbo. The Medium Large was a close contender but I didn’t want to ever regret buying it when I couldn’t fit things in. I know that one day I’ll end up buying a Medium Large (probably in another type of leather – more about this further down)  but I really had to take time over my decision.

If anybody’s interested, sizing can be found on Chase Amie’s blog.

(If any readers have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!)

 

 Leathers

So, here I am. Decision has been made. I’m going to buy a Chanel Jumbo. I know it’s going to be in black, as I wear a lot of dark colours and it’ll just go. But now, I have to think. What leather? And what colour hardware?

Through my studies, Chanel Jumbos usually come in either Lambskin or Caviar leather. More exotic materials can be found on pricier models, but I knew that would be far out of my league.

So what’s the difference?

Lambskin is known to be the more luxurious type of leather. One that needs to be treated with just a little more TLC. Lambskin feels a lot richer to the touch, and is highly coveted for people who collect Chanel seriously. Smaller bags – like evening bags/special occasion bags look better in lambskin.

Caviar Leather is a lot more durable and can hold up to the daily bumping/scratching that can happen to your bags. It is worth to note that Caviar can look a lot nicer on bigger bags, just due to the surface area. Caviar is also preferrable on bags worn cross body. With its pebbled texture, Caviar bags can feel a little younger than its lambskin counterparts.

So for me, it was really a no-brainer. I’m not particularly babyish about my bags, so I decided upon a Caviar Leather. I knew I would be using it as a going out bag as well as a day bag, so I wanted to give it a fighting chance.

Videos I found useful during this decision making:

HappyPursuits – 20 Key Considerations between Lambskin and Caviar

Mel in Melbourne – Lambskin vs Caviar Scratch Test

Hardware?

Once again, this was a pretty tough decision. For me, Chanel looks its best in gold hardward. Gold and black really screams out C in class for Chanel in my mind, but I had to be serious about it. I wear very little gold jewellery, or have warmer shades of clothing. I’m far more a silver person. I also love the muted style of a Chanel Jumbo with silver hardware. It looks a little less showy-off than its gold version sibling. Chanel’s gold hardware is also a very yellowy gold, so you’ve got to bear that in mind.

black-classic-double-flap-chanel-caviar-bag

Image Credit: Lollipuff

Single or Double Flap

On the resell market, the Chanel Single Flap is quite a big deal. A lot of people prefer the single flap to the double due to it being lighter, roomier and now harder to find due to it only available on the resell market.

The double flap is know to be a lot heavier yet has the added advantage of being more secure. They are also known for holding their shape a lot better.

When I bought my bag, the decision between single and double flaps didn’t really cross my mind. It was only afterwards that I found out about the advantages of a single flap, but I don’t regret my decision in the slightest.

A video that explains this further is here

My Final Decision

So, here I was. I had made my decision.

A Chanel Jumbo Double Flap in Caviar Leather with Silver Hardware.

I couldn’t wait to buy it and try it on.

Please come back for my second installment which includes my four month review of this bag.

Longchamp Le Pliage Large Tote – First Impressions and Review.

When it comes to designer bags, I think I’ve invested wisely in particular brands/styles. If you’re curious about the pieces I’ve bought, then please take a while to look through my Neverfull review and Speedy review posts. However, recently I found myself at a bit of a loss when it came to deciding between my two Louis Vuitton’s. Due to the ever-changing nature of British weather, I needed a tote bag (for University and workimg_4073) that wouldn’t be as open as my Neverfull, but was both waterproof and smart. I also needed something that could double as an overnight bag, but wouldn’t look too oversized.
Through my research, I kept stumbling upon the Longchamp Le Pliage bags, and was intrigued by all the positive reviews that I found. For the price point (around £75) this line of bags has had devotees from the Duchess of Cambridge to It-Girl Alexa Chung, and was on the rise in popularity in my town.

So, after deciding upon a colour (Blue Mist – currently in stock for anyone curious) I had my sent from Selfridges to my work address, and I instantly fell in love with the practicality of such a well-constructed bag.

Made out of water-resistant Nylon, with a wipe-clean exterior and interior, this bag is incredibly roomy. I can easily pack my laptop, University books, change of clothes and my everyday essentials for a night away, and still have room to spare. With only a small inner pocket (big enough for some loose change and cards for ease of access) it is a real tote bag in all senses of the word. The Le Pliage also comes with beautiful cowhide snap closure and straps. At the moment, these straps haven’t lost their rigidity, so I do find that they can slip off my shoulder as I’m carrying it, but I’m sure that once they get a little more worn in, they’ll be fine. The straps are a lot thicker than that of the Neverfull, but I don’t find this an issue.

With a zip along the length of the entire bag, along with the snap closure, I feel quite safe carrying belongings in here as I think it’s quite secure. I’ve used this bag as a day-to-night bag, and even from University to date night, which is something I’m pleased that it can accommodate with. So far, it’s proved quite durable, and has dealt with some pretty horrific weather without anything getting wet, which also impressed me.

The Longchamp also has this nifty trick of being able to fold up to the size of a paperback book, which will be useful for the travelling that I intend on doing in the next week.

img_4069All in all, I’ve found no faults with this bag so far, apart from the slight grievance about the rigidity of the leather straps. However, I’m not sure over how durable it’ll be in the long run, but we shall have to see. For £75, I would definitely purchase again.

I bought my bag via Selfridges, and found the delivery and packaging quite satisfactory (you get a tracking number and necessary documentation) and my bag is in the colour Blue Mist – a choice so I could transition this bag from winter to summer without any clashes.

But if you’ve got a Longchamp or anything similar, I’d love to hear from you! Leave me a comment!

Longchamp’s Website

Louis Vuitton Mini Speedy BB Coin Purse – Review

When it comes to SLG’s, I’m a fairly new to that territory. I currently carry my money around in a Cath Kidston purse, and have only seen Chanel wallets and Balenciaga clutches through luxe-bloggers on YouTube.

However, I recently came into contact with this little denim Louis Vuitton coin purse, and I must profess, it’s love. img_3879

Now, as this denim beauty was given to me as a present I’m unsure how much it would retail for, as it is quite difficult to find. The Monogram Denim line was debuted in 2005, and through some internet searching, you can find similar ones for around the $500/£400 price point. Mine came in good condition and certainly has been a fabulous addition to my Louis Vuitton collection.

The coin purse is quite tiny, with a pale gold suede interior. The outside is a fairly deep navy, with the Monogram in a lighter blue. The identification code is tucked quite discreetly inside the lining, which is another reason why I love Louis Vuitton products as, despite the Monogram print being so identifiable, it is these little touches of authenticity that matter.

The purse also comes with a good length chain and a keyring, which makes it useful to attach to the D-Ring inside my Speedy and Neverfull. The zip also secures with a press lock, so it cannot open and spill the contents into your bag. This is a very handy piece of hardware, especially if you decided to use it as a coin purse.

I personally use it as a mini emergency kit for things I need. Depsiimg_3881te the measuremnts only being 4.7 x 2.8 x 2 inches or 12 x 7 x 5 cm, it can hold quite a lot.

In my coin purse, I carry:

  • A mini perfume bottle
  • Mattifying shine wipes
  • A hand mirror
  • A memory stick
  • A Vaseline tub
  • A concealer
  • A Nyx lipstick
  • Earplugs
  • Hairbands

This is carried all without the bag losing shape, which I consider a huge achievement.

I use this purse everyday, and it always gives me a thrill of pleasure whenever I see it. Due to the nature of my job, along with going to University, I can’t carry my Speedy or Neverfull all the time, so just to tote around even the smallest piece of Louis Vuitton makes me very happy.

The next piece I’m saving up for will be a wallet, so watch this space for reviews.

If you have any Louis Vuitton SLG’s then don’t hesitate in letting me know.

 

 

Louis Vuitton Neverfull MM – First Impressions and Review.

As stated in my Louis Vuitton Speedy Bandouliere blogpost, I was saving up for my next Louis Vuitton bag. I knew that this bag would be the fruits of my worklife, and would take a lot of saving and time on my behalf, but I was excited for the opportunity.

Whilst shopping for my Bandouliere, I was shown a Neverfull as a comparison piece, and became enamoured. The structure of the tote bag was something I was sorely missing from my handbag collection, and I wanted this bag to be something that meant a lot to me.

Louis Vuitton Handbag Choices.

Now, like with the Speedy Collection, the Neverfull has different sizes that can make choosing the right bag quite difficult. With three concrete sizes:

  • The Neverfull PM (Smallest of the lot with dimensions = 11.4 x 8.7 x 5.1 inches
    (length x height x width)img_3488
  • The Neverfull MM (Middle size – Dimensions = 12.6 x 11.4 x 6.7 inches)
  • The Neverfull GM (Largest size – Dimensions = 15.7 x 13.0 x 7.9 inches)

The size you choose is all dependent on what you would use it for and what you would pack in it.

From what I can tell, the PM size seems to be quite dainty, the MM seems to be a good day tote/everyday bag, and the GM seems to be a monster of a bag, perfect for luggage/weekend away/hefty office work. However, I knew myself that I didn’t want or need the GM. I’m sure that in the future I’d love to purchase a GM as my definite oversized tote, but for my first Neverfull, I was happy with the smaller MM size.

Also, like with the Speedy Collection, there are a huge amount of different colours, interior and exterior design and personalisation options. I decided to go for the Damier Ebene print (the darkered checkered print) with the Red interior lining. Only a few weeks ago, Louis Vuitton did release the Ebene print with the beautiful Rose Ballerine pink lining, which is a gorgeous mixture, but due to hearing issues with the lining marking quite easily, I wanted to go for something hardier.

For the MM, I paid £835. Louis Vuitton had just done a price increase, which boosted the MM up from £795, which was unfortunate timing on my behalf, but luckily I had saved extra.

Shipping 

I bought the bag online via the Louis Vuitton website, which actually was bit of a palaver, but a phone call to customer service eased my mind. I found that with a bank transfer, Louis Vuitton didn’t confirm when the received the transfer, nor when it cleared. I had to physically ring up and check.

For a UK resident as myself, the bag took a good week or so to arrive from door to door. The shipping was free, and they did give you a tracking number. However, the UPS courier didn’t specify what time they would arrive, so I had to have it shipped to my work address rather than home, as I wouldn’t want it to be delayed or without a signature upon arrival.

The bag came with all receipts, letters and a dustbag, but not in a branded LV box which surprised me. However, I was thrilled when it turned up, and couldn’t wait to use it.

The Review.

As I’ve had this bag for over a month now, I’m comfortable enough to write a review on how it has fared, and what I use it with.

Firstly, the bag is plenty big enough for what I usually carry around. I was really wavering between the MM and GM, just because I couldn’t visualise how big it was going to be (my memory of the size I saw in shop is fairly bad). In my bag I can fit:

  • A Macbook Pro 13inch laptop with charger
  • An A4 notebook
  • Wallet
  • Keys on a large fluffy keyring
  • iPod
  • iPhone
  • A full size deodrant
  • A bagged lunch
  • A scarf
  • A fiction book
  • A 750ml waterbottle
  • A micro umbrella.fullsizerender-1

(Actual image of my Neverfull with everything inside)

Before you ask, yes this makes the bag very heavy. However, it never makes it dreadfully uncomfortable, and I don’t necessarily use the bag for long periods of time when I pack this full. In this brief time I’ve had it, I’ve not noticed any fraying of the straps or any wear to the bag due to how heavy I weigh it down by. This could all change over the years.

Unlike my Speedy, I chose the Damier Ebene print. This choice comes with the treated dark leather straps which are very different from the Speedy’s vachetta leather, that will patina over the time. The Damier Ebene straps won’t change colour, unlike the Speedy. The straps started out initially very firm and stiff, however I am confident that they will soften over the years of use.

Like with the Speedy, the Damier Ebene is a special canvas mix that is waterproof and easily wipe clean, so it’s pretty durable.

The interior of the bag is a gorgeous dark red with black piping, and comes with an deep interior zippered pocket and detachable pochette, that is attached to the bag with a D-ring. The pochette is in the Damier Ebene print and fairly spacious, but can bulge if you stuff it with bulky or circler items. I’ve found that it holds its shape with a compact mirror, small lipstick and tissues. I’ve also used the pochette as a clutch for evenings out, and is plenty big for my cards/iPhone/keys. The pochette can be also used as an extra pocket if you were inclined to keep things in pouches.

The bag also comes with a clasp at the top to offer some security and keep the bag partially shut.

Drawbacks 

The only drawback I’ve properly noticed with this bag is the lack of zip across tfullsizerenderhe whole bag. As the tote is open, all your belongings are on show constantly, which can deter the more safety conscious of us. It’s also a risk for rain. What I’ve done to combat this is I usually layer a thick scarf across my belongings, which can be used to keep some of the rain and eagle-eyed snoops off your possessions. You can also invest in a zippered bag organiser from retailers if you’re so inclined.

Also, as the bag isn’t particularly structured, there can be a deal of sag at the bottom. I’ve had to invest in a base shaper for mine, as I didn’t like how it looked and worried how it could damage my bag. I’ll be doing a review on that when it arrives in the post.

Conclusion

The minor drawbacks are the only issues I’ve had with this bag so far. I think it’s a beautifully designed bag, and spacious enough for my over-packing but couldn’t appear too oversized or out of balance. I love the Damier Ebene print, and I’m happy I chose the red interior. With the base shaper, it’ll help it in shape, and I love using this bag on my heavier workload days, and keep my Speedy for the rainy shopping trips.

However, give me your opinions? If you’ve got a GM, let me know and we’ll have a big handbag discussion in the comments.