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Chanel Classic Flap vs Hermes Birkin. Which Bag Is Truly The Best?

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Chanel Classic Flap vs Hermes Birkin bag battle. We’re looking at the prices, history, resale value and more to determine which bag is actually the best buy.

In this face-off, we’re talking about two of the fashion world’s most popular bags—the Chanel Classic Flap and the Hermes Birkin. 

After looking at their individual histories, features, materials, and prices, we’ll decide which one comes out on top. Stay tuned to find out the winner!

chanel classic flap vs birkin

Chanel Classic Flap 

History 

The first version of the Classic Flap was created by none other than Coco Chanel. In February 1955 she released the 2.55 bag. This style became Carl Lagerfeld’s inspiration for the Classic Flap

Lagerfeld added a woven leather and chain strap and a CC turn lock closure to the 2.55 to create the now iconic style. 

Features 

The Classic Flap has all of the typical Chanel elements: a quilted pattern, a woven leather and chain strap, and a subtle CC turn lock. 

Materials 

Caviar and lambskin leather are the two most popular options for this bag. However, special editions have featured exotic skins, tweed, and iridescent leather. 

Standard hardware options on the Classic Flap include silver, gold, light gold, and So Black. Special edition bags feature matte or antiqued silver or gold, ruthenium, and iridescent metals. 

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Prices 

The table below outlines the prices for leather Classic Flap bags as of January 2023. 

Style2023 Price in USD2023 Price in EUR
Chanel Classic Maxi Flap Bag$10,000€10,300 
Chanel Classic Jumbo Flap Bag$9,500€9,700
Chanel Classic Medium Flap Bag$8,800€8,990
Chanel Classic Small Flap Bag$8,200€8,450
Chanel Classic Rectangular Mini Flap Bag$4,400€4,350
Chanel Classic Square Mini Flap Bag$4,200€4,150 
Chanel Classic Flap Bag Prices 2023

Chanel Classic Flap Pros

  • A classic style that’s likely to remain fashionable for years to come 
  • Can be worn casually or dressed up 
  • Offered in a variety of sizes, colors, and leathers 
  • Keeps its value on the resale market
  • Can be worn as a shoulder bag or a cross body 

Chanel Classic Flap Cons

  • Prices have exploded in recent years and continue to become more expensive
  • Double flap versions and larger sizes can be bulky and heavy 
  • Certain materials (e.g. lambskin) get damaged easily 

Hermes Birkin 

History 

On a 1981 flight actress and it-girl Jane Birkin found herself seated next to Jean-Louise Dumas, the then-Chief Executive of Hermes. As Birkin attempted to fit her wicker basket bag into the overhead compartment, all of her belongings fell out. 

In response, Dumas suggested finding a bag with pockets. Birkin responded by saying that she would give up her basket bag if Hermes created a bag large enough to carry all of her belongings. 

Dumas then sketched a potential design on the back of an airplane sick bag. His sketch became the Birkin bag and debuted in 1984. 

The bag didn’t become popular until the late 1990s and early 2000s. Indeed, much of the bag’s popularity came as a result of it being featured in an episode of Sex and the City

Features 

The Birkin is a spacious, rectangular holdall. It comes in two versions based on the stitching style: Retourne and Sellier

Retourne stitching is on the inside, giving the bag a rounder shape, whereas Sellier stitching is on the outside and has a more structured shape. 

Additional features include double top handles, a burnished flap, and a turn lock closure. 

It comes with an optional clochette containing a lock and two keys for additional fastening 

Materials 

Epsom, Togo, and Clemence are the most common leathers for Birkin bags. 

Special editions are produced using exotic animal skins such as lizard, crocodile, and ostrich. 

The metallic hardware is plated with gold or palladium. 

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Prices 

Prices for Birkin bags vary widely, making it difficult to know exactly how much they cost. However, we can give you some estimates. 

Please also note that an eight- to nine-percent price increase was implemented in Europe in January 2023. We have updated prices in Euros but updates prices are not yet available in US Dollars. 

  • Togo Birkin 25: Between $9,750 and $11,000 
  • Togo Birkin 30: $11,200
  • Togo Birkin 35: $12,400
  • Birkin 25: €8,050
  • Birkin 30: €8,900
  • Birkin 35: €9,850

Hermes Birkin Pros 

  • A timeless design that will always be in style 
  • Handcrafted, quality production 
  • An investment piece that stands to increase in value 
  • Easy to style 

Hermes Birkin Cons 

  • Extremely expensive 
  • May be difficult to get the size/color/leather combination you want 
  • Can only be carried by hand or in the crook of the arm
  • Fastening the bag is difficult 

Comparisons: Chanel Classic Flap and Hermes Birkin 

chanel classic flap or hermes birkin

Now that you’re an expert on these two styles, let’s see which one comes out ahead. 

Features: Chanel Classic Flap vs Hermes Birkin

While the features of these bags differ significantly, there’s no denying that both are the most iconic bags for their respective designers. 

Given their simple and streamlined design, timeless appeal, and quality craftsmanship, it’s hard to pick a winner here. 

Winner: It’s a tie 

Quality: Chanel or Hermes?

Both brands have great quality products. The Classic Flap comes in caviar leather or lambskin and although their quality is usually impeccable, there have been instances of poor quality - read more about it here.

Birkin bags are hand crafted in France, apparently in a month Hermès can only produce 15 Birkins which is probably why the supply is so low. The entire process is made by hand and with the highest regard for quality.

There's no doubt that, although Chanel also has great quality handbags, the Birkin's quality is truly outstanding.

Winner: Birkin

Exclusivity? Which bag is more exclusive?

Due to the fact that it's almost impossible to just go to a boutique and buy a Birkin bag, we have to say that the Birkin is more exclusive than the Classic Flap. However, it does look like Chanel is trying to move into the same direction with their Classic Flaps, since they have introduced a quota system where you can only buy 2 Classic Flaps per year.

We can also say that the Birkin is more exclusive because it's more expensive and thus less accessible to the general population.

Winner: Birkin

Aesthetics

The Birkin and the Chanel Classic Flap have very different looks. For one, the Birkin is a tote bag that can fit a lot and the CF is a shoulder bag. One can wear the Classic Flap multiple ways (depending on the size), including crossbody, on the shoulder and in the crook of your arm. The smaller Classic Flaps are great as evening bags, whereas we see the Birkin as more of a day bag.

Here's some outfit inspiration pictures of both the Birkin and the Classic Flap:

Price: Classic Flap vs Birkin

Both the Classic Flap and the Birkin have always been pricey styles. But that’s truer now than ever before. Chanel and Hermes continue to increase their prices, sometimes once a year or more. 

Still, there’s no denying that the Classic Flap is the more affordable option, even in the Maxi and Jumbo sizes. 

Winner: Chanel Classic Flap 

Resale Value: which holds its value more, the Classic Flap or the Birkin?

Classic Jumbo Flap bags retailed for $6,400 in 2019. By January 2023, the value increased to $10,000. Owners who keep the bag in good condition could stand to make thousands of dollars on the secondhand market. 

The value of Birkin bags has also skyrocketed over the years, with their value increasing by 14.2% since they debuted in 1984. There's also the saying that a Birkin "doubles in value once you're out of the Hermes boutique". Compared with a Chanel Classic Flap, a Birkin is extremely hard to buy new so it's resale value is even higher. A new Togo Birkin 25 retails for around $10,000 USD whereas if you look on the pre-loved market, an excellent condition Birkin 25 is AT LEAST double the price and can even be 3, 4 times the price.

In conclusion, even though both bags keep their value, the Birkin is still the most sought-after bag in the world, giving it a huge advantage over the Classic Flap. You can easily resale your excellent condition Birkin for twice of what you've paid for.

Winner: Hermes Birkin 

Chanel Classic Flap or Hermes Birkin—Which One Wins? 

With two wins each, we’re calling this face-off a tie. Both bags represent timeless style, exclusivity, and incredible resale value, but they’re simply too different for there to be an obvious winner. 

Our advice? Choose the bag that fits your personal style and budget best. Whether you choose a Classic Flap or a Birkin, you can feel confident about your choice. 

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