Oh, Chanel. How I love thee. You are without a doubt one of the crown jewels of Paris Fashion Week and most certainly hold a coveted spot on any style lover's closet shelves. I love you. I adore you. Yet I am astonished at how prices for bags and jackets have risen steadily & sharply in such a short time. To say Chanel is a wise fashion investment is an understatement. The value has doubled in just a short time leaving many brand devotees reeling. Looking at the shopping landscape today I am incredibly grateful for the wise choices I made just a few years ago to add those interlocking C's to my handbag collection.
I may not have addressed this here before, because I felt it was implied. But I'd like to offer a few key beliefs I have about luxury goods. First, I'm not label obsessed - I'm quality and design driven. There are many popular designer brands that I just don't find attractive. There are collections that offer questionable quality at outrageous prices. There are labels that fan girls clamor for that I find baffling and unappealing. I am a quality seeker. I buy for life and see each new acquisition as a long term investment.
Which leads me to my second point: I loathe counterfeits. A quality seeker doesn't settle for imitation. A label chaser does. It's not about owning things to impress others. It's about only possessing things which make you happy and bring you personal joy. Chanel bags (authentic pieces) are exceptionally well made to exacting specifications. Their caviar leather is some of the most durable (read: busy girl friendly) I've ever found. Their unique chain-meets-leather straps are bizarrely comfortable and sensible. And yes, they are glamorous. But without those other hallmarks (quality, intelligent design and durability) they would serve no purpose and therefore deserve no attention.
I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the various labels and discover for yourself if they are to your liking. Avoid following trends. Invest only in pieces you find beautiful and worthy of your resources. And if and when you do decide a brand is for you (fashion, interiors, home accessory or otherwise) always make purchases from reputable sources offering the real deal.
So... what does a girl without a sizable trust fund do today? She shops smart, that's what she does. She carefully eyes her prey and hunts the exact pieces she wants. She plans her purchases and buys direct from the source or reputable retailers like Bergdorf, Selfridges, Saks, Neiman Marcus or the mothership Chanel itself.
But she also benefits greatly from the closet purgers of the world (self included) and sets her eyes on stunning pieces of Chanel history (using the term "history" loosely, as many items found on the sites I'm about to share are actually brand spanking new). She understands her style. She has a handle on exactly what pieces she needs to add to her list (the power of a list should never be underestimated) and she knows exactly what corners of the web to explore.
Need help navigating? Lucky you... I've got you covered! From attainable goods (think: perfume and vintage bracelets) to killer deals (new Chanel caviar wallets fresh in the box) there are legitimate, authentic incredible finds just waiting to be discovered. If you're a Chanel fan, come along and join me on my hunt for all things fabulous and surprisingly attainable.
Here's how: familiarize yourself with Fashionphile, The Real Real and One Kings Lane. All of these offer authenticated, genuine Chanel products. If the idea of wearing vintage clothing gives you chills (the bad kind), you'll find comfort in sticking to accessories like bracelets, necklaces and handbags. Want that fresh out of the box feel? I don't blame you. Filter those same sites by "new" or "like new" to discover amazing pieces that have either truly never been worn or are in pristine condition.
Still dipping your toes into the Chanel waters? Consider adding a few new scents to your vanity (Coco Mademoiselle is lovely) and trying out the brand's incredible skin care and cosmetics. A Chanel lipstick will add new levels of happiness to your life in untold ways. Their iconic Vamp nail lacquer will turn your pretty digits into street style stars. Pro tip: shop the Chanel site for exclusives and hand-to-find discontinued items offered only at Chanel.
My point? Luxury is available to you and always attainable with a little know-how. If you are suddenly craving Chanel after seeing all those PFW images, get to know the look, the vibe, the quality and then begin hunting down special pieces to add to your wardrobe that make you feel like a runway star. Never settle for impostors. There are always intelligent ways to bring home Coco. And you, my dear, are always worth the effort of seeking out true original luxury.