The Ultimate Chanel Flap Guide

studio image of chanel flap bags grouped together FASHIONPHILE

It seems Chanel bags are harder to get these days.


But at FASHIONPHILE, you can shop everything from vintage pieces to the latest styles from Chanel’s current collection. Yes, all those hard-to-find items your closet craves are available in one ultra-fabulous destination. As convenient as that is, it’s also important to note that with any luxury purchase, it’s a good idea to do your homework. 

If you’re anything like us, you’re probably in possession of a working pro and con list, right? Committing hours of research to decide which Chanel Classic Flap to get can not only feel daunting, but it’s quite time-consuming. There is so much to know about the Chanel Classic Flap that it makes total sense for us to create the ultimate guide about it. If this helps even just one person, then mission accomplished!

This guide covers the history, sizes, textiles, colors, hardware, and more. You may learn that maybe a Classic Flap isn’t for you… or you may very well fall more in love with it. At the end of the day, all we want is the perfect bag. And, let’s be real, a Chanel Classic Flap is pretty darn perfect. 

So without further ado, shall we skip to the good part? Cue the ultimate Chanel Classic Flap guide. Ready to uncover the perfect Classic Flap for you? Read on or watch the video below! 

History of the Chanel Flap Bag

The history behind (any) product really is what makes something so special. In the case of Chanel, it’s legendary. Chanel is a huge deal, and honoring its history is the center of everything for the French house. The Classic Flap’s iconic status embodies that chic histoire we all can’t get enough of – and in turn, the global demand (and, erm, low supply) undoubtedly perpetuate this style’s growing value.   

The Chanel Classic Flap is one of the most important, celebrated, and recognizable handbags in the fashion industry. But before the Classic Flap came about, there was the original. And that bag was? The 2.55. There is so much to love about the 2.55. This bag features the iconic Mademoiselle lock and gorgeous metal chain. She was born in February 1955 (hence the name) and she’s gorgeous. It’s important to note though: this style is not to be confused with the Reissue 2.55 (which looks similar). Reissue bags were introduced under Karl Lagerfeld in 2005 to celebrate the 2.55 style’s 50th birthday. Today, the term Reissue refers to the newer produced 2.55 bags. 

Now, back to the topic of the Classic Flap. Although related to the 2.55, when we think of the Classic Flap we all think of something else entirely – and you probably do too. By any chance are you thinking of puffy quilts, CC hardware, and a gorgeous interwoven leather and chain strap? Yes please! These modernized touches were brought to fruition under Karl Lagerfeld in the 80s and have truly changed the game. That’s the moment the signature Classic Flap was born. Also created under Karl Lagerfeld is the iconic Chanel 19

Due to the Flap’s undying popularity, it also comes as no surprise that the Chanel Flap is highly counterfeited. Explore this authenticity lesson on dissecting fake Chanel and dive into our world-renowned authentication process

Chanel Single Flap vs. Double Flap 

Since the birth of the Classic Flap, you have probably heard about both Single Flap and Double Flap versions. What do these mean? Simply put, “single” and “double” refer to the number of flaps present on the bag. Let’s distinguish the two.

The Chanel Single Flap

A lot of vintage flaps have single flaps, but these were discontinued in 2014. Chanel East-West Flaps, discontinued in 2010, are not part of the core classic range. But if you’re seeking a Chanel style with a “classic flap look” (and vintage), then East-West bags are worth looking at! 

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Chanel Jumbo Single Flap
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Chanel Single Flap (interior)

Today, smaller Chanel Flap sizes have single flaps, which include the Mini Flap sizes. Although these sizes have been viewed as seasonal items coming in different textile and color variations, they are now thought to be considered part of the core range of Flap bags.

The Chanel Double Flap

Traditionally, both 2.55 bags and Classic Flaps have double flaps (which means one exterior flap and one interior flap). The double flaps are included throughout the core sizes. And those sizes are? Well, keep reading! 

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Chanel Medium Double Flap
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Chanel Double Flap (interior)

Chanel Flap Sizes 

The core Chanel Classic Double Flap collection include sizes Small, Medium, Jumbo, and Maxi. As mentioned before, the smaller sizes have a single flap and those include the Extra Mini Flap, the Mini Square Flap, the Mini Rectangular Flap, as well as the Mini Top Handle Rectangular Flap. 

Which size is right for you? Well, one thing to note is if you’re looking at vintage, you may notice some slight size and design variations compared to the newer styles. Don’t be alarmed, it’s just something to keep in mind due to the age of the bags. 

When choosing a size, it comes down to this: what are you going to carry inside it? The Medium size is a top-selling size here and outside of FASHIONPHILE – likely because it’s not too big and it’s not too small. Although, our procurement experts tell us that the Small size is making a huge comeback!

If you want to be able to carry all, and I mean ALL your essentials (maybe you need it for going back to work), then go bigger. The Jumbo or the Maxi can fit a 10”-13” laptop plus other items, and that might be for you. Note: the Maxi is substantially large. 

The Extra Mini Flap (the smallest of the bunch) has been discontinued in 2019. If this is a size you want, you won’t be able to get it retail, but we have them! If you prefer a boxier shape with petite proportions, the Mini Square Flap is a great pick. The Mini Rectangular is slightly longer but still embodies that coveted “classic flap” look and they’re really popular now – and incredibly hard to get your hands on, of course.. If you want a mini bag (or one with a top handle), the Mini model is a solid choice! But the smallest bag that you can get that has the signature double flap? That is the Small Double Flap

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Extra Mini
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Mini Rectangular
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product image of Chanel Medium Double Flap FASHIONPHILE
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Chanel Textiles, Quilt Types & Iconic Patterns

When dreaming about which material your new darling will possess, it’s beneficial to remember that sizes and styles have textile limitations, so keeping that in mind will help you navigate your choices and get you closer to finding your perfect bag! 

What Textiles You Can Expect To Find

When it comes to Chanel textiles, nothing quite tops Caviar – a signature (and quite durable) type of grained calfskin. Besides just adoring the texture with your eyes, with just a small stroke you can immediately feel what makes Caviar leather so distinct from the rest. Nothing else exists in the world like it and Caviar has become synonymous with the embodiment of Chanel and ultra-luxury as a whole. It is the very reason why bags dressed in this material last so long, are high in demand, and of course, carry immense resale value. 

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Pst! In the event that you’re also looking to add a wallet to the equation, be sure to skim through our in-depth post about wallet style and textile recommendations


A quick note on Caviar…

Heads up fashionphiles. Chanel discontinued both the Square and Rectangular Mini Flaps in Caviar. If a Mini Caviar Flap is important to you, be sure to browse our curated selection – or if you don’t see what you’re looking for, set up an item alert for one

But aside from Caviar leather, you can find Chanel Classic Flaps dressed in lambskin, calfskin, and patent leather. All these are truly stunning. On top of that, sometimes you will find unique iterations of the flap style dressed in exotics, such as alligator or lizard skin. Plus you can find these bags in iridescent leather, or perforated lambskin, which are all fun treatments that elevate the design. There are endless options. But just know leather requires care and the more you practice handbag TLC the longer you can enjoy your investment. Proper storage also goes a long way! Watch this quick how-to store your bag video, here.

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Patent Leather
close up of Chanel iridescent leather
Chanel Flap Quilt Types

Another important detail that often gets overlooked (unless you’re keen on details) is the type of flap quilts. The first type that comes to mind is Chanel’s gorgeous diamond quilting, which is the classic quilt. For those looking for something a little edgier, there are also chevron-quilted flaps that scream bold and fun. You’ll notice more Boy bags with chevron quilting but a Classic Flap in chevron is a pretty pick, too. 

Additionally, plain flaps with no quilts at all are an option too (part of the Pure line) if you prefer the leather to shine all on its own. But heads up, they’re not as common so if that is something you strongly desire, it may have to look a little extra harder before you find the perfect one you want! Patience is a virtue, my friend. 

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close up image of Chanel quilted leather FASHIONPHILE
Other Flap Materials

Erm, and if you think it stopped at leather, it does not! Chanel tweed is an iconic staple and tweed flap bags truly applaud the heritage, feminist roots, and vision that its founder Coco Chanel embraced and embodied throughout her career. Chanel tweed bags come in many notable patterns, such as metallic, herringbone, houndstooth, and more. So it really comes down to what you find attractive and what you want to wear! Explore the patterns available to shop now, and see what speaks to you. Learn about the different Chanel tweed patterns, here

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Aside from these mentioned, there is a boatload of materials Chanel uses. Others include denim, PVC (like these Coco Splash flap bags – again, not part of the core line but it very much resembles that “flap” look if that’s what you’re going for), suede (available in many of Chanel’s mini flaps from the current line), velvet, and cotton canvas to name a few. Leave it to Chanel to use nearly every luxury material available to give their iconic handbag so many gorgeous looks!    

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Chanel PVC Coco Splash

Chanel Hardware

Chanel hardware used to be 24k gold, but this kind of hardware was discontinued in 2008. Today Chanel offers a wide variety of hardware options and the most common shades include silver, gold, light gold, and So Black. The release of rose gold plated hardware (introduced for 21B), only comes in lambskin… for now. 

Special editions may reveal unique hardware such as gradient hardware, aged gold or silver hardware, ruthenium, enamel, lacquered tone-in-tone hardware from the incognito line, and other interesting finishes. Hardware is like the jewelry to the bag, so it all comes down to the details.  

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close up image of chanel CC hardware in silver FASHIONPHILE
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close up image of chanel CC hardware in So Black FASHIONPHILE
So Black

Chanel Flap Colors

It’s no secret that certain Chanel colors are extremely sought after. Their seasonal color releases are not random by any means. Select shades become nearly iconic simply because certain color and textile combinations are made available (or made in smaller quantities) in certain sizes and styles, and sometimes only offered in certain countries.

For instance, that gorgeous Brown for 21P is a caramel dream. This color comes in both caviar and lambskin, and depending on the textile of choice the color may appear a little lighter or darker. If you love browns and beiges, check out this post.

That “barbie” pink for 22P (known as Dark Pink) is incredibly high in demand, too. While knowing it only comes in Caviar, that means the color is also limited to certain styles. The pinks just keep on getting better. In fact, when comparing seasons, pinks are very distinct. Don’t believe me? Read more about Chanel pinks

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Dark Pink 22P
Chanel Dark Pink 21K FASHIONPHILE
Dark Pink 21K
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Brown 22
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Brown 21P

Chanel Prices 

As with every hot topic, it’s always wise to save the best for last. And by best, I mean the most talked about topic in regards to Chanel besides how coveted the brand is. Prices *shocker*. If you’re curious about Chanel’s resale value give this post a look.  

In summary, Chanel’s price increases are nothing new and at this rate (a few times a year), are to be expected. Spend more, get more? For those wondering it looks like the Peihuo phenomenon “goes against the experience that the brand strives to offer” according to an issued statement by Chanel. But nevertheless, it can still feel overwhelming when it comes to finding (and eventually getting to buy) your dream Chanel bag. At the end of the day fashionphiles, investing in anything Chanel is always a smart choice. Not only is it an investment towards yourself but it will reap rewards in the future – whether you decide to pass it down or sell it! 

If you know, you know…

Actually, this is the best part… To ensure that you sound like you actually know ultra-luxury fashion (there’s more on that here), we have to throw this little tidbit here for you. That is, the Chanel Classic Flap is also referred to as 11.12. This new name emerged during Spring 2021 and references the original Flap’s style code, which was A01112. 

Also, the unique anatomy of the Double Flap actually serves an unusual but genius purpose. That little zip pocket located at the underside of the outer flap? That pocket is intentional and is made to store your love letters (awe). If I were alive during the gilded age (the Met Gala doesn’t count), maybe I would have love letters from suitors. But in reality, most of us probably have to-do lists or affirmations. Point is, love letters or not, Coco Chanel intentionally designed this pocket so that the bag included an area with room for sentimental tokens. And I’m smitten. 

Another pocket with another little secret? A pocket within a pocket. It’s located inside the interior slip pocket and if you’re not sure what it is for it appears as though it’s there to store a pen (maybe you could). But the story behind that seemingly “out of nowhere” pocket is actually quite practical. It’s a pocket made to store your lipstick! Today that means you could store your lipstick, lip balm, lip gloss, and heck maybe a small pen if you so desire.  

Did we miss something? Tell us what you’d like to know more about regarding the legendary Chanel Flap style! In the meantime, enjoy scrolling through our eclectic collection of Chanel Flap bags in all colors and sizes. Your dream bag is just a click away!
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