Investing in the Petite Wardrobe: Chanel 2.55 Handbag

I‘d describe myself as a classic kind of girl. I prefer chocolate ice cream over Cherry Garcia …Burberry over Balmain…sensible pumps over 6 inch platforms. Classic items with sophistication and fashion staying power get me all excited. I love the idea that I could own something for the rest of my life without it going out of style. So it should come as no surprise that I love love love Chanel handbags. And when I say Chanel handbags, I mean the classic flaps of course. 


The Chanel classic flap is really a remake of the 2.55 handbag that Coco Chanel herself designed in February of 1955 (hence the name 2.55). The original was a quilted leather flap bag with a rectangular latch opening, and chain shoulder straps. The modern version is also a quilted leather flap bag, but has the iconic double overlapping C (“CC”) latch, and leather interwoven chain shoulder straps. Both versions (the modern “CC” lock handbag and the reissued rectangle lock handbag) are available every season in a variety of colors and materials. I love it when things have an interesting history!

To find out more about the history of the Chanel 2.55 handbag, check out these informative blog posts from The Bag Snob and The Purse Blog:

The Bag Snob: Chanel 2.55
The Purse Blog: Chanel Classic Flap Bag vs. Reissue 2.55

  Did I mention on top of being a classic girl, I’m also a red girl? I’ve been craving a red Chanel classic flap for years! I wanted it to be the perfect shade of red, with silver hardware, and caviar leather, which is sturdier than the lambskin. I’ve been tracking this bag down every season, tirelessly doing Internet research on new season merchandise and relentlessly grilling sales associates, hoping my perfect bag would finally be released. So, when I saw this beauty at the Chanel boutique in the Wynn hotel in Las Vegas, I fell in love. Thanks to my wonderful boyfriend, and the celebration of our 4 years together, this bag flew all the way back to Los Angeles with me!

Chanel classic flap, medium size, in caviar leather with silver hardware.

Sweater: Ann Taylor LOFT Cardigan, size Petite XXS
Top: H&M, size XS
Jeans: Paige Premium Denim, Laurel Canyon, size 24 (hemmed and waist taken in)
Shoes: Cole Haan Grey Suede Almond Toe Pumps (similar here)
Necklace: Iridesse 80 inch Rope Pearls (similar here) (and here)
Handbag: Chanel M/L Classic Flap (similar here) (and here) (Shopbop sells vintage Chanel now?)



Luckily for women of all shapes and heights, the Chanel classic flaps come in several sizes.

The sizes for the Chanel Classic Flap Bag:
Small – 9″ x 5.5″ x 2″ 
Medium – 10″ x 6″ x 2.5″ 
Jumbo – 12″ x 8″ x 3″
The sizes for the Chanel Reissue 2.55:
The Baby 7.5″ x 5.75″ x 1.75″ 
Small 9.75″ x 7.06″ x 2.16″ 
Medium 11″ x 8″ x 2.5″ 
Large 12.25″ x 9.18″ x 2.5″ 
The X-Large aka Jumbo 14.2″ x 9.8″ x 3″

When I was researching the proper size handbag for myself, I decided to stick with a handbag no larger than the medium flap. Large enough to carry my essentials, but not so large as to overwhelm my frame, the medium is the perfect fit. 


I’ve talked to other petite women looking to purchase their own Chanel handbags, and many were torn between the medium (the one I own) and the jumbo. If you are looking to purchase your own, this all depends on personal taste and body type. Being as tiny as I am, I just couldn’t pull off the jumbo, and I would recommend without hesitation to anyone similarly sized to myself to consider the medium.

I should also mention that anyone doing research into this handbag should visit The Purse Forum, a wonderful grouping of knowledgeable handbag collectors. The women (and men) on this forum have more knowledge than any sales associate I’ve ever met. 


Now, I have to admit, this is not my first Chanel. I also have the East/West Flap in lambskin (a great smooth leather). This bag is a little dressier than my red flap, not to mention a neutral color.

Chanel east/west flap in black lambskin with silver hardware.

And a side-by-side comparison of the two sizes:

Black: east/west flap with silver hardware Red: medium/large flap with silver hardware.

I know these handbags are expensive, and some may consider such a purchase as frivolous, but I consider them investments. I love everything about them, from the classic shape and design to the iconic history behind them. I love owning something that is so entrenched in the history of fashion, not to mention the history of one of my favorite fashion characters, Mademoiselle Coco Chanel. They can be dressed up or dressed down, and look great with everything. I can’t stop staring at my beautiful little Chanel collection, and only hope than anyone else who loves these handbags as much as I do will get their own little piece of fashion history.

15 Comments

  • Reply October 17, 2009

    Nukem

    It is gorgeous! I am also on the hunt for a classic Chanel flap, but in black with silver hardware. Some day hopefully!

  • Reply October 20, 2009

    Paulina

    Chanel is so classic. It's definitely worth the money along with Hermes.

  • Reply October 21, 2009

    Anonymous

    Classic chanel flap in vivid color will generate a double wow every time you wear it. I was surprised that you picked a medium (not small) size. Was is available in small?

  • Reply October 21, 2009

    Alterations Needed

    When I first started researching Chanel Classic Flaps, I thought I wanted a small. But then I found out the smalls aren't produced in all the fun colors that come out every season. So then I went into a Chanel boutique and tried on a medium to see how it looked, and I loved it! I feel the medium/large size is a perfect day to night bag. Big enough to carry around everything I need all day, but small enough that I won't knock people around with my handbag when I'm navigating my way at a crowded bar.

    Thanks for Chanel love ladies! I love my new bag!

  • Reply November 8, 2009

    cMe

    LOVE IT! I have the Classic medium in black with silver.

  • Reply January 27, 2010

    Anonymous

    If you could only own one Chanel bag, which one would it be? Medium Classic Flap or Small Reissue? What colour, leather type (lambskin, caviar or calfskin) and hardware colour(gold or silver)would you select and why?
    Which one in your opinion would be appropriate for most day to evening occasions?

    Both bags are similar n size.

    Lambskin is the most dressy but also the most fragile.
    Caviar is durable yet still elegant.
    Calfskin has lovely aged look but will show more wear sooner than a caviar.

    Gold hardware considered more dressy than silver.
    I dislike the gold hardware of a Classic Flap.

    I'm overwhelmed to make a decision. Please help!

  • Reply January 27, 2010

    Alterations Needed

    Oh boy…Chanel bag choosing is so much fun! I own a lambskin and a caviar…and out of those skins, I really like the caviar for all around use. My first bag was lambskin…and I kinda regretted it b/c I wanted something a little more durable. I like how sturdy and structured the caviar is…and it's still very nice to the touch. The lambskin is soooo very soft…but I nearly have a heart attack any time it rubs up against something. Too delicate for everyday use.

    If this is your first one…I would get the classic over the reissue. The CC lock classic is a perfect addition to a wardrobe, and comes in all kinds of fun colors each season. The reissue is more of a collectors piece that if you decide to build a little Chanel collection, you can decide to pick up later.

    As for hardware color…the easiest way to pick one is to choose the same color as jewelry you usually wear. I usually wear silver colored jewelry, so I prefer the Chanel silver hardware. I don't think one is more dressy than the other…the bag itself is dressy…so it will be a statement piece no matter what color the hardware is. Just get the color you think you would wear the most, or matches with your jewelry.

    Hope that helps! If you're still undecided…go check out the Chanel forum at forum.purseblog.com. The ladies over there are sooo knowledgable!

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    Alterations Needed

    Oh boy…Chanel bag choosing is so much fun! I own a lambskin and a caviar…and out of those skins, I really like the caviar for all around use. My first bag was lambskin…and I kinda regretted it b/c I wanted something a little more durable. I like how sturdy and structured the caviar is…and it's still very nice to the touch. The lambskin is soooo very soft…but I nearly have a heart attack any time it rubs up against something. Too delicate for everyday use.

    If this is your first one…I would get the classic over the reissue. The CC lock classic is a perfect addition to a wardrobe, and comes in all kinds of fun colors each season. The reissue is more of a collectors piece that if you decide to build a little Chanel collection, you can decide to pick up later.

    As for hardware color…the easiest way to pick one is to choose the same color as jewelry you usually wear. I usually wear silver colored jewelry, so I prefer the Chanel silver hardware. I don't think one is more dressy than the other…the bag itself is dressy…so it will be a statement piece no matter what color the hardware is. Just get the color you think you would wear the most, or matches with your jewelry.

    Hope that helps! If you're still undecided…go check out the Chanel forum at forum.purseblog.com. The ladies over there are sooo knowledgable!

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    cMe

    LOVE IT! I have the Classic medium in black with silver.

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    Paulina

    Chanel is so classic. It's definitely worth the money along with Hermes.

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    Alterations Needed

    When I first started researching Chanel Classic Flaps, I thought I wanted a small. But then I found out the smalls aren't produced in all the fun colors that come out every season. So then I went into a Chanel boutique and tried on a medium to see how it looked, and I loved it! I feel the medium/large size is a perfect day to night bag. Big enough to carry around everything I need all day, but small enough that I won't knock people around with my handbag when I'm navigating my way at a crowded bar.

    Thanks for Chanel love ladies! I love my new bag!

  • Reply June 20, 2011

    Bravoe Runway

    You made a great investment!  My mom purchased hers in 1992 for $995, in classic black with gold hardware and it still looks brand new and it’s always a stunning touch to any outfit!

    • Reply June 20, 2011

      Alterations Needed

      Wow! If only they were still $995! The crazy Chanel price increases are sealing my fate of never buying another Chanel again.

      1.5 years later, my red Classic Flap still looks like new, so I can only imagine how great your mom’s must still look. Definitely a purchase I do not regret. :)

  • Reply January 8, 2013

    Sassy

    I love your red medium flap. I just imagined how the bag look liked when it was in GWH, but I too preferred the SHW. You are so lucky to have the east-west-flap too, they are discontinued and really like that bag.

  • Reply March 17, 2013

    Sheila

    I love your gorgeous east west flap, it looks more chic on u than the red!

Leave a Reply