Why is Chanel So Expensive? [Worthy Alternatives]

When you think of luxury handbags one of the first images that come to mind is probably the Chanel Classic Flap, or if you know your Chanel, the iconic Chanel 2.55 handbag. If you’re like me, you’ve been saving pennies since you were sixteen, dreaming of the day when you could own one of your own!

But now that I’m an adult and I have to work for my money I can’t help but wonder if it’s really worth it. If you want answers before you take the plunge into luxury brand ownership, read on. So, why is Chanel so expensive?

Chanel is an iconic luxury brand that everyone will recognize. They make their products with high-quality materials that will last a lifetime. This brand is a household name in the fashion industry and has been for a century.

When you purchase Chanel you can trust that only the finest quality materials were used to make your product, whether it is a bag, jewelry, clothing, or a beauty product. The company also offers a generous warranty and repair service so that you can invest in their timeless products with confidence.

Is Chanel Getting More Expensive? 

Yes. According to recent news, Chanel lovers noticed a price increase twice during the Pandemic. The company claims that the increase in price was necessary to offset exchange rate fluctuations between the euro and other currencies.

It makes one wonder though, how does Chanel stack up against other big-name brands?

Is Chanel more expensive than Louis Vuitton? Is Chanel worth the money? Read on to find out more about this Iconic brand and the truth about what really sets it apart.  

Coco Chanel

Regardless of how you might feel about Chanel the brand, Coco Chanel, the woman is an admirable icon. She died in 1971 but her character is still enshrined by the brand and her charisma continues to bring them business.

Coco was born in France in 1883, and she was orphaned after her mother died and her father was unable to take care of her. She worked first as a shopgirl and made some savvy connections that helped her to start her first brand. 

What Makes Chanel Special?

Coco Chanel very quickly changed fashion forever with her focus on creating elegant women’s clothing that was also functional and comfortable. Corsets were out, Chanel suits were in, and they stayed in for the next hundred years. It isn’t just a handbag or a jacket that you are purchasing from Chanel, it’s a style to identify with and a sign of timeless good taste.

Chanel also guarantees quality that you can trust, and they offer a unique repair service to ensure that your product remains high quality for generations.

Chanel Warranty

Chanel offers an exclusive five year warranty on any bag or wallet with a chain. The warranty can give you peace of mind that the high quality of your bag will not be diminished by time and wear.

I for one am not usually so gentle on my bag since I actually do use it for storing my everyday items and take it everywhere with me. The warranty is a great service that ensures that you can have your bag replaced or fixed if it gets damaged. 

Chanel Repair Services

After five years when the warranty is up you can still use the Chanel repair service to keep your bag in good shape. The repair service is also designed to be a luxury experience.

All services are located in their beautiful storefronts and customers are warmly welcomed. They don’t just employ anyone to fix the bags either, the repair services are always done by highly trained and dedicated artisans.  

Chanel Bags

Of all Chanel products, perhaps nothing is as coveted as the Chanel bag. One reason for the high price and demand for the bags is the leather used to produce them. Chanel uses various types of high quality calfskin leather for most of their handbags, but they also use varieties of lambskin, goatskin, python, and alligator. 

Chanel also ensures quality in the stitching. The iconic diamond stitches will have 11 stitches per panel. The inside is also sewn with great care, ensuring that there are no creases or folds between the leather and inside panel. This is part of what helps the bags to maintain their shape and quality for so long.

Caviar Leather

Most of the popular Chanel bags are made with caviar leather. This is a very high quality calfskin leather with grains. The grains give it a distinctive pebbled look and feel. It is strong and durable, which makes Chanel bags very high quality. The leather will last a long time and not easily scratch or fade. 

Chanel 2.55

Chanel 2.55 is the Classic fold Chanel purse that me and every other person reading this probably wants, or has admired at some point or another. It’s the one that you’ve seen a thousand knockoffs of, quilted leather with a criss-cross stitch, that long chain with leather woven through it, the famous flap embossed with a big gold double C clasp. Coco Chanel created this design early on in her career and it has certainly stood the test of time.

It is an iconic and elegant cross over shoulder bag. The simple look comes in a wide variety of colors, leather styles, and metal finishes. 

Chanel Clothing

When Coco Chanel was young she was a very active person. It was unusual for women to participate in athletic activities back then but Coco didn’t shy away from sports. She was an avid sailor, horseback rider, and polo player and she wanted to make clothing that suited her lifestyle.

One of her first revolutionary designs was the sport dress, closely followed by the Chanel suit. Women were only beginning to wear pants at that time but they were easily persuaded by the simple beauty of the Chanel suit. 

To this day, Chanel clothing is dominated by variations of the suit and it upholds the classic, menswear-inspired look that Coco started long ago. Chanel sells the idea of timeless sophistication and effortless beauty. They don’t need to prove that something you buy from them will still be in style in twenty years because they’ve already been in style for a century! 

Chanel Jewelry

Chanel jewelry is perhaps best known for the Coco Crush design, the iconic quilted pattern that is engraved on watches, rings, bracelets, and any other form of jewelry you could imagine. The pattern was originally inspired by equestrian sports. It is meant to embody what they call “the crossroads of comfort and freedom.” Like Coco herself, Chanel brands itself as a sophisticated free spirit.

Aside from the Coco Crush, Chanel is well known for its watches. Their most current line is five iconic watches “reimagined.” Again, they are profiting from their history in a way that only a well-established brand ever could.

Does Chanel Use Real Gold?

When it comes to jewelry, the standard for the majority of Chanel pieces seems to be 18K gold. The bags, however, are another story. Vintage Chanel bags were made with chains and clasps that were coated in 24K gold but in the early 2000’s Chanel stopped using real gold and started using “gold-toned” hardware instead. 

Chanel Perfume

It might be commonplace for fashion brands to launch their own perfumes these days but Coco Chanel was the first to do so. The famous Chanel 5 was created in 1921. Legend has it that Coco chose the fifth scent that she sampled and that is how the famous fragrance was named.

The perfume was and still is a Jasmine-based floral scent that has only grown in popularity and in price. It has become a signature scent that has been beloved by many for generations. In this case the high price is justified by top-notch ingredients, a singular scent, and one hundred years of brand recognition.

Chanel Sublimage

Chanel Sublimage is the brand’s line of luxury skincare products. I know what you’re thinking, I might make an investment in a lifelong wardrobe staple, but skincare? How do they explain the sky-high cost of something you can easily find at a drugstore?

They seem to justify the cost by leaning into their French heritage, including unique ingredients found only in the French Alps such as the Solidago Extract found in the Sublimage L’Essence facial serum. Each product contains either an exclusively French product or a centuries-old French production technique that is unique to Chanel.

Chanel Alternatives

It is obvious that there are much more cost-effective products on the market, but if you want luxury, you’ll have to pay more. But how does Chanel compare to other high-end luxury brands? Let’s compare three classic luxury handbags to get a sense of where Chanel falls in the lineup. The Classic Chanel Flap handbag made with lambskin leather and gold-toned hardware is currently selling for $7800 brand new.

The Classic Louis Vuitton Speedy is currently for sale on the company website for $1160. To be fair, Louis Vuitton makes most of their bags with their signature monogrammed canvas material, not lambskin leather. Their Pochette Matis model is more similar to the Chanel Classic Flap and it sells for $2420.

This bag is made with Empreinte Leather, aka calfskin. 

Hermes is another iconic name in luxury handbag design. They have a handbag similar to the Chanel Flap, the Opli chaine 24 bag, that retails for $6200. Hermes’ most popular design, the famous Birkin bag, retails for between $40,000 and $500,000 depending on the bag.

When compared to a Birkin bag the Chanel 2.55 is very reasonably priced!

Another high-end handbag designer that most people would recognize is Coach. Coach has a bestselling bag that is similar in style to the Chanel Classic Flap that is called the Madison Shoulder Bag. Currently, the quilted leather version of this bag is selling for $495.

When compared to $7800 for a Chanel bag the Coach bag does seem like a bargain but it doesn’t come with the same level of brand recognition or quality.

Vintage Chanel

Savvy shoppers might scour thrift stores and ebay for cheaper Vintage Chanel finds, but most retailers are aware that Chanel items don’t lose their value. One popular website that resells used luxury items is TheRealReal. Right now they have a Chanel Classic Flap for sale (the $7800 model) for $5000.

This is a discount, but you still have to pay a lot for a used Chanel item. Other Chanel vintage items are even more valuable than new versions. The most expensive vintage Chanel handbags are said to have sold for over $30,000. 

Classic Chanel Flap bag $7800 new
Classic Louis Vuitton Speedy bag $1160 new
Louis Vutton Pochette Matis bag $2420
Hermes Opli Chain 24 bag $6200
Hermes Birkin bag Min $40,000
Coach Madison shoulder bag $495
Vintage Classic Chanel Flap bag $5000

Is Chanel Worth The Money?

Consumers will have to decide for themselves when weighing the pros and cons of purchasing the Chanel item of their dreams. There is no doubt that Chanel makes high-quality items in a timeless style that will stand the test of time, but it’s entirely a matter of opinion and personal value whether or not these qualities are worth spending thousands of dollars on. 

One way to have your cake and eat it too is to rent luxury Chanel items instead of purchasing them. Popular websites like Rent the Runway, and Bag, Borrow, or Steal, allow customers to live out their luxury brand dreams without making a permanent investment. 

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