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Sunday, April 9, 2017

My Chanel Collection

It had been a dream of mine since I was younger to be able to add Chanel into my collection. Of course, working part-time and attending college full-time, it definitely took some patience and discipline to save up for my first Chanel purchase. After being exposed to my aunt's large collection, I definitely couldn't wait for the day I'd be able to save up enough to purchase my very own. This post is meant to provide some insight, sharing my thoughts on my purchases, why I purchased it when and where I did, as well as some other things to just take into consideration.

Besides going directly to a Chanel boutique, second-hand consignment stores, eBay, etc. were all routes that I've always considered. I think it's also important to say that nothing was purchased without a lot of thought. With the price tag attached to a Chanel piece, it's important to make sure that your investment is worth it. Let's begin with my very first one.

What: Okay, so my first Chanel purchase wasn't a bag, it was the Lambskin Chanel Single Sole Espadrilles. It was 2013 (I was 22) and I was still in my second year of studying Interior Design. It definitely meant I had to pick up some extra shifts at work to save up for these but I knew when I first saw them on some of my favorite bloggers on Instagram, I wanted to have these to start my collection. They were first introduced in 2012, retailing at $495 originally for the lambskin versions. By the time I got my hands on them, after making multiple calls and getting on every waitlist possible, I was able to get my own pair of the leather espadrilles for $525 before taxes. The price of the leather espadrilles are now currently $725.

Why: I learned from my mistakes of buying Christian Louboutin heels that I would never again spend so much money on uncomfortable shoes. The espadrilles were a classic style to me that I knew I could continue to wear for years to come. Nearly 4 years later, I still love the way they complete my looks. I love the casual style of these shoes and although I've had to bring them in for repair/cleaning every year, it's been worth it.

When & Where: Phone order from Nordstrom in Portland, Oregon. July 2013.

Tip: If you are absolutely certain about something you want, get on that wait list. This was the first (and only time) I got on a waitlist for a Chanel item.  I called every single Neiman, Nordstrom, and Saks that carried Chanel shoes and just waited for months to get a call that they had my size/color combination.

Thoughts After Use: It's been nearly four years since I've purchased these shoes and I still love them. Sure, they're a little bit worn but I don't regret my first Chanel purchase. This style is still repeated every season in various color-ways but this classic is still the best combination in my opinion.

What: I remember shopping in Bloomingdales with my mom in 2012 and trying on the Le Boy for the first time and falling in love with it. The Le Boy instantly became my dream Chanel bag. In that moment, at 21, I didn't know when or how I would buy it, but it was on my list. Although I loved many Chanel styles, I knew that I wanted my first one to be the Le Boy. On my very first trip to Paris last year, I was able to find the exact size and combination that I wanted at the original Chanel boutique on Rue Cambon. It was meant to be... or at least that's the sign that I took it as. 

Why: Well first of all, it was the exact one I've been looking for. I had been doing a lot of research on the Le Boy, it's various combinations, and I knew that I wanted a chevron quilting with ruthenium hardware. Stumbling upon it at the original Chanel boutique, a brand new one all wrapped up still in it's box in the back, I couldn't say no. Not to mention how much better it is to purchase Chanel in Paris because of the price differences. I'm pretty certain you'd save about 30% by buying in Paris.

Where & When: Chanel Boutique on Rue Cambon, Paris. March 2016.

Tip: If you're looking for a classic style that comes back every season and you know you're traveling to Paris, try to wait it out. However, it's also important to know that there is also a risk of not finding the exact bag you're looking for in Paris. I knew I was going to Paris months in advance so I was able to save up for a while. If I found the bag there, I would purchase it, if not, I'd be okay. This was my mentality going into the trip. I also recommend getting a travel credit card to use for purchases you make while abroad because those points do add up and have their benefits. 

Thoughts After Use: I love wearing this bag out, of course, I definitely need to be careful because of the nature of lambskin, but I absolutely love the exact combination of my Le Boy. This style is already masculine to begin with so I think the lambskin adds a feminine balance to it. The Le Boy is definitely a style that is here to stay and I'm so glad this was my souvenir from Paris.

What: As I was about to complete my undergraduate career, 6 years of college after switching from Business to Interior Design, I couldn't help but eye myself a graduation present. After selling a few bags from my collection, pieces that I just was not using as much, I wanted to add a Classic Flap to it. Even though it's a piece that comes back every season, they're still surprisingly difficult to find. I had my eye on a Jumbo Caviar Classic Flap, black with gold hardware. I was lucky enough to catch a new shipment at Saks with one still wrapped up. Whenever I purchase a Chanel bag, I always make sure to get one that's fresh out of the box.

Why: A Classic Flap is a great investment. With all the prices increases over the years, it is a smart purchase to make sooner rather than later. Should you decide to sell it in the future, you'll make your money back, or close to it. Although they're available each season, there's still an incredible demand for it. I love this bag as an everyday piece, the caviar leather makes it more durable and I don't have to baby it as much as my Le Boy. The size of the jumbo is also perfect for my frame.

Where & When: Saks Fifth Avenue, New York. June 2016.

Tip: If you're eyeing a classic, try to get on a wait list. Also make sure you check out the bag, noting any possible scuffs, scratches, defects. Though rare, they do happen. Find one that you're happy with. I was able to find one at Saks, all wrapped up, shiny caviar, puffy quilts, perfectly aligned turn-lock, etc. 

Thoughts After Use: I have loved not having to fuss over this bag because of the durability of caviar leather, not to mention how much I actually really love caviar on the classic flap styles of this size. It's really easy to wear and although it's a bit on the heavier side, I often find myself reaching for it when I have a day of errands to run in the city. I know that I made a smart choice in purchasing this when I did because it will appreciate in value, especially when the next price increase hits.

What: My first and only vintage Chanel piece is this lambskin cardholder. I don't have an exact name for it but when I saw her, I just loved the style and look of it. I wanted something that I could easily fit cards and cash into. After getting my long Louis Vuitton wallet stolen, I've been pretty traumatized about carrying a lot with me. This is a great way to keep things light, not to mention I have no problems fitting this into my smaller bags.

Why: While there are some beautiful Chanel cardholders out there, I wanted something that wasn't too common. I would go vintage for a Chanel piece that can't be found anymore, that is no longer in production. Not to mention the price of this was probably a lot less than what a new one at the boutique would cost. This was about $300, not bad for a rare Vintage find in solid condition. Brand new ones are about $400+ before taxes. I decided on this one because I wasn't too fond of any current pieces at the boutiques.

Where & When: What Goes Around Comes Around, New York City. October 2016.

Tip: When it comes to vintage pieces, shop around and see what speaks to you. Also make sure of authenticity and compare prices. My favorite places to look at pre-loved Chanel accessories are WGACA, Trendlee, and The Real Real.

Thoughts After Use: Although this was purchased pre-loved, it's still in amazing condition. However, because it is lambskin, I still want to be careful with it. I swap around my cardholders every few months, just to switch things up a bit. I was happy to have found this when I did because it's still something I get compliments on. It's nice to hear people say they love it/have never seen it before. That's a pretty solid vintage find if you ask me.

What: I strolled into the Chanel boutique at Short Hills Mall and did not expect to fall in love with this back-pack, but I did plan on a back-pack being my next Chanel purchase, something I could wear on trips, exploring cities, something casual and less dressy than my other two. I had done my fair share of window shopping at some secondhand boutiques, browsing the forums, online sites, but no back-pack spoke to me the way this one did. Everything I saw was the common "Urban Spirit" back-pack, but this seasonal piece is not something that comes around every season and it had all these little details about it that I just fell in love with. Because of that, I was sold. When I first saw this bag, I walked away from it so that I could think about it. One week later, I came back but the bag had been sold. Luckily, my SA (sales associate) was able to find one and order it for me from another boutique. This piece is from Act II of the Fall/Winter 2016/17 collection.

Why: Seasonal pieces are definitely a thrill to fall in love with. There's something about knowing the piece you have isn't too common that makes the purchase that much more satisfying. I knew I didn't want to get a common style backpack. To this day, I haven't seen anyone else with this same style and still get asked for the style number because others are trying to locate this style.

Where & When: Ordered + Purchased at Chanel in Short Hills Mall, New Jersey. Bag came from the Chanel boutique in Dallas, Texas. October 2016.

Tip: If you're going to purchase a seasonal piece, make sure it's worth the investment and it's not something you'll easily fall out of love with. It also helps to build a little loyalty, have a sales associate that takes the time to locate a bag for you in perfect condition. They'll keep in touch with future stock that you may want first dibs on.

Thoughts After Use: This is obviously the Chanel bag that fits the most, however because I like to take good care of my bags, I won't be overstuffing it or weighing it down with anything too heavy. It's been perfect for casual days however I do need to keep in mind what I'm wearing when I wear this bag. It has pulled a few sweaters of mine and I need to watch out for the leather rubbing agains denim or my leather jacket. I definitely need to be more cautious of this one, but that's the price you pay for the beauty of lambskin. You always need to be aware of the bag.

What: It's a brooch that I saw someone share on PurseForum, that's where I do all my research on luxury purchases. However, by the time that I saw it and fell in love with it, it was nowhere to be found in stores. Luckily, when I was just randomly browsing around eBay, I stumbled upon this brooch for an amazing price, just a little over $300. I believe brooches at the boutiques are somewhere north of $400, depending on the style you're looking for. Of course, the simpler styles are at the lower end of that bracket.

Why: A brooch is a great piece to add into your collection. It's an easy way to dress up staples in your closet, sweaters, scarves, coats, jackets, etc. I personally love pinning it onto my coats and denim jackets.

Where & When: eBay. December 2016.

Tip: If you're buying from eBay, or any online retailer for that matter, please do your research and make sure of the authenticity. Also, I would advise on making sure that returns are an option just in case.

Thoughts After Use: I. Love. This. Brooch. Already eyeing another one.


What: When this made it's debut last year, or at least an updated variation of the classic slingback, I was so smitten by them. It's the perfect classic shoe, not to mention I'm a sucker for a block heel. But of course, they were impossible to get a hold of. It was another Chanel shoe that just seemed to get away from me. I could have gone the same route as my espadrilles, get on a wait list and just order when it arrived. However, this was a shoe I needed to try on and fall in love with in store. It wasn't until a recent trip to Miami that I finally got a chance to try them on and finally make the purchase.

Why: I'm such a sneaker or boot girl and I probably rotate between the same 4-5 pairs. I wanted something classy and elegant, dressy, but could be worn casually if I wanted. A slingback, especially this slingback, was such a classic style and it's a shoe that will definitely be wearable for many years to come.

Where & When: Neiman Marcus, Bal Harbour, Miami. April 2017.

Tip: If you feel like you need to try something on before buying, wait it out. Or you can order it, try on, and return if anything. Chanel shoes sizing also tend to run a little bit odd so I like to make sure my sizes are just right. If I'm splurging on shoes, I like to make sure I'm comfortable in them.

If you are looking to add some Chanel into your collection, research is definitely important, at least for me. I consider these purchases an investment and I think it's important to know how much you're spending, what you could be saving, knowing what to look out for, seeing all your options, how much you actually want/love something etc. When I zero in on an item, I'll make a plan on how to save up for it, ask myself if I can justify the purchase, what would I be using it for, etc.

I personally believe Chanel is a great investment, especially classic pieces. You'll see the trend that prices only continue to go up from here. The fashion house definitely releases some crazy designs. I personally love to stick with the more classic and subtle pieces to make sure I'll be loving my purchases for years to come. I'm already doing my research for an upcoming trip back to Paris. What's next? What Chanel piece are you eyeing?

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