Home > Anatomy of a Chanel Bag – Why Are They So Expensive? A Review…

Anatomy of a Chanel Bag – Why Are They So Expensive? A Review…

So! You’ve finally saved up the several thousand dollars you need to buy your dream bag – a classic Chanel Double Flap Purse. Now, before you hand your money to the kind people at Chanel, have you done your research on what you are actually paying for? Let me help you with that.

Here are the fruits of my research.  Hopefully, it will help you feel a bit better about buying a bag that costs the same as a used car.

Ever wondered why Chanel bags are so expensive? Let me help you understand why
(Pic courtesy of Vogue.com)

Excellent Quality Leather

Ever wondered why Chanel bags are so expensive? Let me help you understand why
(Pic courtesy of the Purse Blog)

When I think Chanel Bag, the first image that comes to mind is its buttery soft, diamond-patterned, quilted leather – especially lambskin leather.

Lambskin leather – the most coveted of the range of leathers offered by Chanel, is prone to scratches and dents due to its soft, silky smooth texture if not cared for properly. If babied though, you’ll have the lambskin bag for life.

Caviar leather, the second most popular, is pebbled calfskin which is treated and hardened to achieve its signature look. It is much more sturdy for daily use.  Some consider it less lustrous, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Chanel’s Golden Touches

Ever wondered why Chanel bags are so expensive? Let me help you understand why
(Pic courtesy of the Purse Blog)


Another characteristic that significantly boosts the price of Chanel bags – specifically those with gold-toned hardware, is just that – the golden touches.

I was surprised to find out that all of the hardware on a gold-toned Chanel bag is in fact 22K-24K gold-plated brass. The hardware on all Chanel bags is solid, heavy metal – not hollow. I remember the first time I tried on a Chanel bag in Vegas, I was surprised at the weight of the chain and leather strap!  Très luxurious!!

Screws are also an interesting feature of these bags. To fasten hardware together and to leather, Chanel uses flathead and Hex type screws, never Phillips. A little factoid for the Bob the Builder in each of us.

The Interior Is As Nice As The Exterior

Ever wondered why Chanel bags are so expensive? Let me help you understand why
(Pic courtesy of www.vogue.com)

Another interesting factoid?  The classic burgundy leather interior was initially implemented for two reasons: First, it mimics the color of the robes worn by Gabrielle Chanel’s childhood caretakers. Secondly, it offers a contrasting background therefore making it much easier to find your keys, lipstick and other essentials within the bag.  This is something I usually look for when buying a nice bag – a light or contrasting interior. So frustrating rooting around for something in a rush in the blackhole of your handbag!

Interesting factoid #3: The zippered compartment in the bag’s front flap was rumoured to be created by Coco Chanel as a place for her to hide her love letters!  LOVE!!!

A Classic Flap Chanel Bag Never Goes Out Of Style

Ever wondered why Chanel bags are so expensive? Let me help you understand why

A classic Chanel bag in a neutral colour will never go out of style. The classic flap bag has been popular since 1929. From Elizabeth Taylor to any random current celebrity, Chanel bags are coveted by all. I highly doubt you will find a Chanel bag in a bargain bin in this lifetime (but if you do, message me immediately please).

As noted above, these bags are a sound investment. If you have been lusting after one for a while, you may as well buy it now. Prices are only getting higher.  The resale market for Chanel bags is booming as there are droves of people constantly on the hunt for secondhand options.  If you do plan on selling your Chanel, take care of it and keep it in the best condition possible. A Chanel bag does not deserve to sit on the floor (bad luck) or outside on the ground. And for God’s sake ladies, don’t put it on the floor of a public bathroom!  #CardinalSin #Disgusting

Those Wait Lists Tho

Ever wondered why Chanel bags are so expensive? Let me help you understand why

I wasn’t aware of this, but Chanel has wait lists that no one really speaks of.  The most popular bag styles are generally sold out at most Chanel stores. While their waiting lists aren’t as long and infuriating as those of Hermès, it can still be pretty hard to get your hands on the exact Chanel flap bag you want, therefore driving resale prices higher.

The Chanel Bag Prestige Factor

Ever wondered why Chanel bags are so expensive? Let me help you understand why
DYING. This is SUCH A NICE LOOK! (Pic courtesy of The Purse Blog)

Good ol’ Karl knows that everyone under the sun wants Chanel bags, so why bother maintaining current prices or even lowering them? That’s not how capitalism works.  Funnily enough, as prices rise, more bags sell. There is a certain prestige attached to those lucky enough to have a Chanel bag grace their arm.

Let’s not forget also that elite brands want to appear “elite”, so the first thing they do is boost prices. These brands also know that they don’t necessarily need to appeal to those who buy $500 bags.  They are now focusing their marketing on the extremely wealthy.  What’s a $5000 bag to someone who only wears $100,000 couture dresses? Serious goals right there.

I hope you all found this post interesting! I know that I learned a few things conducting the “research process” for this post!

Who else wants a Chanel bag and if so, which one in particular? What other dream bags are you coveting?







Dominique Baker
Dominique Baker

Dominique is a Canadian-based fashion and beauty influencer with a strong voice in Ottawa’s black community. Since launching her blog Style Domination in 2015, she has amassed a global fanbase. Dominique shares her life through beautiful imagery and compelling story-telling that speaks to her fans on a personal level. She’s been featured in The Guardian, Flare, The Kit and Cityline. She also hosts events for Dress for Success, the Gem Conference, and has been named a United Way Person 2 Know for the past three years.

Find me on: Web | Instagram


  1. July 3, 2015 / 5:44 pm

    I never knew any of this! Thank you for the research and post!

  2. July 3, 2015 / 6:38 pm

    This is awesome! People always want a bargain, and as someone who makes quality apparel… It is not cheap! lol

    • July 4, 2015 / 8:45 am

      I’ve learned that through my shopping adventures. A lot of people think that you are simply paying a lot of money for a brand name, but good quality pieces just look and fit so much better!! They are also more unique and stand out from the rest. Thanks so much for reading!

  3. July 3, 2015 / 7:11 pm

    I love this post! I really never stopped to think WHY a Chanel bag would be so expensive, I only thought it was because of the name. Now I know. Great post, as always!

    • July 4, 2015 / 8:44 am

      Thanks so much, Sarah! I thought the same thing – your just paying for the name. I’m going to follow up this post with “Anatomy of a Birkin Bag”.

  4. July 3, 2015 / 7:50 pm

    Great post! ?

  5. July 3, 2015 / 10:36 pm

    Such a great post! Very interesting read! Those bags are just gorgeous!! <3 <3 xo

    • July 4, 2015 / 8:42 am

      Argh!!! Aren’t they? I want one so bad!! Lol! Thanks for reading! xo

      • July 4, 2015 / 3:43 pm

        I would love to have one too!! 🙂 You’re welcome! xo

  6. July 4, 2015 / 7:51 am

    So informative and full of fun facts! Loved this Chanel post!

  7. July 4, 2015 / 11:16 am

    Love this post !! I’ve been dreaming of owning a Chanel bag since I was in middle school !! lol *one day!*

    • July 4, 2015 / 12:11 pm

      Haha! We can be part of the “one day” club! Lol!

  8. July 6, 2015 / 1:37 pm

    Nice research! That was an interesting read. The classic Chanel bags have never appealed to me very much, so if I had $5k to blow on a luxury item, I’d go elsewhere. But it’s good to see that at least the quality is so high. I didn’t realize the chains were solid – so luxe but also sooo heavy!

    • July 18, 2015 / 10:58 am

      Hey there! Luckily for me, I live in a smallish, conservative government town, so they are still pretty exclusive here. I understand though. When I travel, I see a ton of people with them, especially in LA, NYC, London and Paris. Yeah – they are just ridiculously expensive. Thank you so much for reading!! xoxox

  9. Fatima
    January 5, 2017 / 10:21 pm

    This is really informative! I am deciding between buying vintage or new, I have found some sites that mention that CHANEL stopped using gold to plate its hardware in 2007-2008. So I am leaning towards buying vintage instead. Have you heard anything about this?


    • Dominique
      January 6, 2017 / 10:55 am

      Hi Fatima! I have heard this but I do not know if it is true. I would call your local boutique to find out. I totally plan on buying vintage or preloved also. It’s just a better financial decision for me, especially since Chanel has such frequent and large price increases. You should try out http://www.fashionphile.com. They have a large selection of beautiful, mint condition preloved Chanel bags…and two month layaway. Your wallet will thank you! xoxox

  10. August 9, 2017 / 6:10 am

    You should go and visit Valamode in Westport pop up shop. She has over 6 different ones with used prices, which is waaaaay more affordable than new. She has the red one too. That’s my dream Channel!

    • Dominique
      August 9, 2017 / 10:00 am

      Hey Talin! Thanks for this! I’m quite familiar with Valamode. I’ve even promoted Dia’s shop right here on http://www.styledomination.com! Once I have scraped together enough cash, Dia will be one of the first people I visit!! Thanks for the tip!

    • Dominique
      August 12, 2017 / 3:51 pm

      Ooooh! You’re the best! Thank you!

  11. Lisa
    April 23, 2019 / 10:13 pm

    I was very fortunate to find two original Chanel Handbags at a thrift store in perfect continue in 1995.

    • Dominique
      April 24, 2019 / 3:40 pm

      Oh Lisa! That is lucky!! A friend of mine bought a beautiful Hermes orange Birkin at an estate sale for $350 in the 90s. The glory days!!

  12. Justyna Matheson
    October 23, 2019 / 8:07 am

    Such a good post 👍
    I just got one I was dreaming about ❤️
    My baby 😍

    • Dominique
      October 23, 2019 / 9:36 am

      OMG. Justyna – JEALOUS!! What did you end up getting? The Classic Flap? I’m still dreaming of mine….LOL! One day! And you got yours just in time. There is a price increase on Nov. 1st!

  13. Amanda Reuben
    February 21, 2020 / 5:06 pm

    I enjoyed your article with all those facts. I could never spend that amount on any bag. I shall have to stick to good old Michael Kors.🤣

    • Dominique
      February 24, 2020 / 7:05 pm

      Thanks for reading, Amanda!

  14. Darla Mata
    May 19, 2021 / 3:59 am

    Great Post, I have just got one myself for mothers day, Caviar (pebbled calfskin) black classic double flap with gold hardware, made in France and I was so luck to get the new system with chip (which I believe I was the 1st person in Florida to get one). Now 5 yr warranty (instead of 1yrs) warranty rules changes on May 1, 2021. I did my unboxing and will post on my recent open YouTube channel. This Friday if you to check it out. My YouTube channel: Darla Mata

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