The Seasonless “IT” Bag

The San Francisco Bay Area is proud to be a region that classifies its style as “classic.” Here in the Bay Area, as well as most of the country, women’s handbags are as much of a status symbol as a man’s car.  Since the region is flush with millionaires and wannabe millionaires, it comes as no surprise that one of the most popular purses on the shoulders of the well-dressed is the classic Chanel 2.55 or flap handbag.

This fabulous purse was invented by Coco Chanel, who wanted a handbag that would free up her hands. She designed a handbag with a strap and introduced it in 1929. In 1955 she was enjoying a resurgence in popularity so she decided to update her handbag design and in February 1955 she introduced the 2.55 handbag. This beautiful black handbag had a burgundy interior and secret zipper pocket which Coco used to store love letters. As the decades have moved forward to present day, the remake of this handbag is known as the “reissue 2.55” and it comes in a variety of colors on vintage-treated lambskin.

Chanel also has a classic take on this handbag which was introduced by Karl Lagerfeld. This is a similar style to the reissue 2.55 but instead of a traditional clasp, there is an interlocking “CC” symbol on the clasp. The chain strap also has the same fabric as the handbag weaved through it. One chain strap takes an artisan roughly 17 hours to complete. This variation of the classic Chanel handbag is called the “Classic Flap” handbag. The classic flap comes in a variety of fabrications such as lambskin, caviar leather, jersey, tweed, patent leather, patent vinyl and other seasonal fabrics.

Every Fall, Winter and Spring the San Francisco Bay Area is host to many fabulous semi-formal events such as the Junior League of San Jose Fashion Show Luncheon. If a fashionista takes a moment to look at the handbags on the shoulders of many women in attendance at these events, she will notice a pattern. On average, one in five women is wearing the Chanel Classic Flap or 2.55. The majority of them are in black! Some women wear theirs with silver hardware while others gold. The size of choice varies as well. There are small, east/west flaps, medium flaps, jumbo flaps, maxi flaps and the 2.55 in sizes 226 and 227. It is amazing how many fashionable ladies in the Bay Area carry the same handbag for these special events!

It is very interesting to think about what attracts women to the same handbag. Critics may say it is because the handbag is made by Chanel and women are buying into a brand. Other critics may say it is because women like to keep up with the Jones. Who are the Jones anyway? The reason so many women in the San Francisco Bay Area flock to Chanel for their classic handbags is because the handbag is just that, “Classic.” Not only does Chanel give you a lifetime warranty on the construction of the bag, it is made to withstand the test of time. Chanel has the top resale value out of any handbag designer. Vintage Chanel handbags hold their value, as the prices for new Chanel flaps and 2.55’s increase, so does the resale value of the vintage purses. Therefore, if one were to purchase a Chanel bag in 1985 and sell it in 2015, she may very well make a $2000 profit! This is one reason investment dressing is so popular in the Bay Area. With one of the highest concentrations of graduate degrees in the country, the San Francisco Bay Area is home to women who know the value of the dollar and a hot commodity when they see it.