FASHION | My designer handbag collection

Recently I’ve been completely obsessed with watching handbag collection videos on Youtube. I thought about doing my own video but then I remembered the horrors of video editing and so I settled on doing a blog post instead. The title of this blog post is pretty gaudy… but hey it caught your attention so might as well read on!

Just a quick disclosure – the point of this post isn’t to brag about how many bags I have. I really enjoy seeing other people’s handbag collections and reading their reviews, so I wanted to share my collection in case anyone is contemplating buying any of these. Honestly compared to many Youtubers / fashion bloggers, my designer bag collection is a more realistic size. If handbags aren’t your thing, or if you think I’m just wasting all this money on bags, etc., please feel free to close your browser. I work full time (very long hours at a very stressful job), and don’t have a “sugar daddy” who sponsors my bags (if you know my fiance at all, you’ll be laughing at how silly this is). I am frugal in many other areas of life that I don’t necessarily always talk about, for example I don’t own a car and take public transit as my primary mode of transportation. Just some thoughts before you read on ­čÖé

I’m going go down my list of oldest to newest bags in my collection. The first one that I actually won’t be talking too much about is the Chanel Just Mademoiselle Tote in black lambskin and ruthenium hardware. This was my first ever designer bag purchase, and I remember the night that I ordered this off of HGBags’s eBay site, I was completely ecstatic – happy that I bought it and also second guessing myself because of the extraordinary amount of money I just spent on one handbag. I purchased this pre-loved at age 23, a few months after I started my full time career job. The reason why I won’t be talking too much about it is that I rarely, if ever, use this bag. The lambskin was super delicate and it made me very OCD whenever I used it. The bag was quite a large size so the lambskin also meant the bag lost a bit of shape after a while. I’m glad I did buy it though because it made me realize that I should never buy another lambskin bag. At the time, the bag retailed for C$3,600 and I bought it for C$2,400.

The second designer bag I ever bought for myself is the Prada Saffiano Lux Double Zip Tote (now called the Galleria bag) in the medium size with the shoulder strap, in the colour Fuoco (red). I had my eye on this bag for the longest time, throughout university and also after graduation. A friend of mine bought the bag in black, but I wanted it in either the red or the blue. I loved this bag, and it took a lot of effort to find it because Holt Renfrew didn’t order it in either the red or the blue. This is an amazing size for work, and it does carry a ton of stuff in its three compartments. Due to the type of leather and the hardware, this bag is quite heavy once filled with stuff. I don’t use this that often anymore, so recently I also decided to ultimately gift this to my mom. At the time, I purchased this for C$1,840 + tax, now it retails for C$2,990.

Next, I have the Louis Vuitton Alma BB in Epi leather in Rose Ballerine. This was my first mini bag, and something I bought to fill a bit of a hole in my collection. The bag is perfect to wear for both casual and dress-up occasions. The Rose Ballerine colour is GORGEOUS, a super delicate light pink colour that goes well with any light-toned outfit. The Epi leather is also very low maintenance. I’ve worn this bag to weddings, to events, to the PNE, and more. It doesn’t fit a ton, but I don’t carry much with me so it fits all of my necessities. I purchased this for C$1,770 and it now retails for C$2,160.

The Celine Mini Belt Bag in Light Taupe is one of my favourite bags in my collection but one that doesn’t get much use. The Celine aesthetic is so beautiful, the minimalist design, clean lines, and quality pebbled leather makes up an incredibly gorgeous bag. It fits a ton, and isn’t too heavy even though it is such good quality leather. It has a top handle for carrying by hand or in the crook of your arm, as well as a non-adjustable shoulder strap. I love this bag so much, but the light colour means that I can only really carry this in the spring or summer, and I don’t like carrying this in the rain so it really limits the number of days in a year that I can actually use this. I purchased this pre-loved for C$2,400. I can’t remember exactly how much it retails for in Canada (I think around C$3,000) but in the US it retails for US$2,550.

I already did a review of my Saint Laurent┬áLarge Kate bag, which is a great grab and go bag but in the last year, I haven’t worn this as much as I’ve wanted to since I tend to gravitate towards cross-body bags now.

I didn’t get my next Chanel bag until five years after I got my first, and it was the┬áChanel Classic Jumbo in Black Caviar and Gold hardware. I LOVE this bag. It is my absolute favourite bag in my entire collection, and every time I use it, I feel a complete sense of euphoria. I don’t need to say much about the design features on this bag, as there are countless reviews of it on Youtube and all over the internet. I just love that it fits everything I need without needing to downsize, and the chain design is so perfect just for to wear over the shoulder as well as cross body. Despite it being a fancier design, I wear this everywhere – to work, to the gym, to the grocery store, to dinner, to date night, basically everywhere. It does get very heavy when filled with stuff, so if you don’t like heavy bags then steer clear. This currently retails for $7,950 + tax in Canada. I did buy mine new a few years ago, and I got a bit of a discount since I went through my personal shopper, so the price I paid was substantially less than current retail. Chanel prices are going up again soon so this is probably higher in price now.

Next we have my go-to everyday bag that I use rain or shine – the Gucci Soho Disco in red. I originally did not buy into the hype of this bag at all. I didn’t like the huge Gucci logo, and it just looked like a meh design to me. But then I heard about the Gucci price increase last fall and I started looking at more reviews of this bag, and it got me wanting to buy it. I got a really good price for it – right before the price increase, I got 10% off Matches Fashion which allowed me to buy this bag for under C$1,000. After a few price increases, retail in Canada is now $1,480 + tax. This is seriously a super versatile bag. I used this when I went travelling in NYC last fall, and when I was in Toronto last winter. It fits everything I need, and it is super lightweight. The tasseled zipper is very convenient and allows me to open and close the bag with just one hand. I bought this bag for functionality, and it has served me super well.

When I bought the Gucci Soho Disco, I told myself that it would be the last bag I’d buy (HAHA), but then a month later I picked up the Dior Medium Diorama bag in grey calfskin. The one I picked up is the older model designed by Raf Simons, which has the sturdier leather and the fabric interior (the current Maria Grazia Chiuri version has a more supple, softer leather with a suede interior, which I don’t like). This was another bag that I was kinda meh about for the first few years of its release, but then the more I looked at it, the more I fell in love with it. This was after I got my Chanel Jumbo and the Saint Laurent Kate, so I knew that the flap bag + chain strap combo would work for me. Of the bags I have, this is probably the quietest in terms of design / logo. There’s only a small Dior logo engraved on the front hardware, and there’s no loud obvious sign that it’s a Dior bag. I did take this bag with me to Asia this spring and it was a fantastic bag that could be dressed up or down. This bag was recently discontinued but prior to that, it retailed for C$4,700 + tax in Canada.

The third of my Chanel bags is the Chanel Square Mini in Black Caviar and Light Gold hardware. This bag is so incredibly hard to find but I got super lucky because I posted an “in search of” request on a Chanel Facebook group and a salesperson at Saks actually reached out to me saying she had one! I couldn’t believe it because I know there are waitlists for this in Canada and the US. I bought this bag as something I can wear to weddings to pair with clothes that don’t go well with lighter coloured bags (i.e. my Alma BB). I was actually surprised at how tiny this was when I first got it, but it does fit all of my necessities when I change out my wallet to a cardholder. The light gold hardware is perfect – not too gold and can be worn with all metals. I’ve been wearing this casually on weekends as well and it’s just a perfect bag to use when you don’t need to bring much with you. This bag retails for $3,725 in Canada, and I purchased it in the US for US$3,200.

I picked up the Louis Vuitton Pochette Metis in black Empreinte leather when I was travelling in Europe a few summers ago. I got this bag because I love my Gucci Soho Disco as a casual cross-body bag but it was a bit too small if I wanted to carry more than just the bare essentials with me. The Pochette Metis is super comfortable to wear both as a shoulder bag and as a cross-body. I love the adjustable shoulder straps, and also the option to carry it by hand via the top handle. Since I got this, it has easily become one of my most used bags. It is uber comfortable, and can be worn both casually or more dressed up. Compared to my other bags, this one is more hip and almost boy-ish. The quality of the empreinte leather is also just beautiful. This retails for $2,990 + tax in Canada but I got mine in Europe so I was able to save almost a thousand dollars on it.

My most recent bag acquisition was the Chanel Mini Reissue in black distressed calfskin and shiny gold hardware. I can’t find the Canadian price for this model with the distressed calfskin, but the US price is $3,500. The Canadian price for the patent leather one with black hardware is $4,650. I purchased mine through my personal shopper and friend, Orchmelia. I absolutely love this bag as well because its so easy to wear, fits a lot, and still looks dressed up. While I don’t love the shiny gold hardware (it makes it look almost like a F21 or Aldo knock-off), I do love how beautifully supple yet still hard-wearing the leather is.

Out of all of these – my favourite is of course the Chanel Jumbo, the Gucci Soho Disco is my most used casual bag, and the Louis Vuitton Pochette Metis is my most used bag that isn’t casual. Hopefully this was somewhat interesting to read!

Let me know if you are interested in any in-depth reviews of any of these bags. I love reading and writing about luxury handbags in general so I am happy to oblige!

HANDBAG REVIEW | Chanel Classic Square Mini vs. Chanel Reissue Mini

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I am back with another handbag / fashion post. In today’s post, I will be reviewing two of my most popular handbags, and then comparing them to each other. The two bags are my Chanel Classic Square Mini in black caviar with light gold hardware and the Chanel Reissue Mini in black distressed calfskin with shiny gold hardware.

Chanel Classic Square Mini

The Chanel Classic Square Mini in caviar is one of the hardest bags to find on the market, not just because they were discontinued in the caviar leather in the last two years, but because Chanel didn’t make very many of them to begin with. Mine was purchased from Saks from the Chanel Spring/Summer 2018 collection, which is either the last or the second to last season that they made the Square Mini in the caviar leather; now all minis are made only in fabric or in the lambskin. It comes with the leather woven chain, similar to other Classic Flaps, but unlike normal Classic Flaps, both the Square and Rectangular Minis only come with two grommets at the top, so you can’t double up your strap and wear it under your arm.

The way I got my hands on this bag was actually through pure luck. The Vancouver Chanel boutique is literally one of the worst stores EVER if you wanted to get your hands on a coveted bag. Unless you buy a ton of stuff there every season, there is little to no chance they will put any popular bag aside for you. It is so bad that despite me owning four Chanel bags, I’ve never actually bought a single bag there, only SLGs, accessories, and shoes. To get my Square Mini, I actually posted about my wishlist on a Chanel Facebook group, and a Chanel Saks salesperson saw it and said they had one Square Mini in the caviar leather left, and asked if I was interested in it. OF COURSE I WAS. While the price at the time, US$3,200, was a couple hundred dollars higher than buying it in Canada after conversion, I knew there was no way in hell I would ever get my hands on one of these locally. I was so over the moon when I received it, even though it is a lot smaller than I expected it to be. I’ve never seen one of these in real life so it was a shock when I saw it for the first time.

The caviar from SS2018 was what people called “shiny caviar,” as it appeared shinier and softer than past seasons. The grains were very shallow and large, and while you still got that grained leather look, it was very soft and supple compared to other caviars. I absolutely love the leather on my Square Mini because it is so puffy and delicious to touch.

This bag does not fit very much. I use a relatively compact wallet (LV Victorine), and while it does fit in the bag, it won’t fit much else after that. I normally put my cards in a zippy cardholder, that way I get my key case (LV 6 key holder), phone (iPhone X, substituted with a Chanel flat cardholder for the photo), and a mini hand cream into the bag. Because of the structured leather, this bag does not have as much give so you can’t just stuff your bag full of stuff – the flap won’t clasp. You probably also don’t want to stuff this bag too full because the structured shape will eventually stretch out, and then it won’t retain it’s cute, compact look.

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In addition to the very small size, another limitation is the length of the strap. This strap is short, especially in comparison to the Rectangular Mini. I’m 169cm / 5’6 and while it does fit cross-border on me, I would never wear it cross-body because it hits me high on hip, almost to my waist (see my comparison pictures below).

One other thing to note is that the sizing of the Square Mini varies depending on the season. Before I purchased mine, I looked at countless Youtube reviews, blog reviews, Instagram photos comparing the Square Mini and the Rectangular Mini and it was clear that depending on the season, the Square Mini can fit more OR less than the Rectangular Mini. I relied on Chase Amie’s Chanel mini reviews quite a bit, and her Square Mini is from a season where it was slightly bigger, so her Square Mini in the caviar leather can fit more than her Rectangular Mini, despite her Rectangular Mini being in a softer lambskin leather. Mine also comes without the edge stitching, whereas some seasons will have edge stitching on the minis (example). I believe the discrepancy is because Minis are seasonal bags, so every season they just change how they want things done.

I wouldn’t think of this, or use this, as an everyday bag. To me, it really is a special occasion bag that I can take out once in a while, or if we’re having a romantic date night / stroll around town, I might bring this bag with me if I wanted something light. I really don’t bring a lot of stuff around with me, but even then I still have to downsize my wallet to a cardholder, which is a little annoying.

Despite all of the issues with this bag, I absolutely love it. I’m so happy that I have this bag in my collection and it really does fulfill a need in my handbag collection. I don’t like holding bags with my hands, even paired with evening wear, so this bag fulfills the need of an evening / fancy clutch. I love that it allows me to keep my hands free to do other things (like hold food).

Unfortunately, Chanel discontinued both the Square and Rectangular Minis in the caviar leather. You can still get it in lambskin, which is an absolutely gorgeous leather, but can be very delicate. As someone who is paranoid about scratching my bags, I only have one lambskin bag which I literally never use.

If you want a mini Chanel bag that comes in a more durable leather, a good alternative is the Reissue Mini.

Chanel Reissue Mini

The Reissue Mini is a new-ish bag by Chanel, first released for pre-fall 2019 in June 2019. This is also when I purchased my bag. I got mine from my friend Orchmelia, who is a personal shopper in the US. She ordered it for me from Saks. I paid US$3,600 including tax and shipping

Mine comes with distressed calfskin in black, which is the most common type of leather in the Reissue line. Similar to other handbags in the Reissue line, it comes with the Bijoux chain, which is the original Chanel bag chain. The bag initially comes “collapsed,” so it looks vintage and distressed. Because it already comes collapsed, the bag is soft and not super structured, and you can fit quite a bit of stuff in here. I can fit my normal wallet in this bag, along with my phone, which is an iPhone X (substituted by a Chanel cardholder for the photo because I’m taking photos with my iPhone) and keys, as well as hand lotion and a lip balm. Despite its small size, it fits quite a bit because it is softer and less structured.

The hardware on mine is shiny gold hardware, which I like but don’t *love.* I kind of wished I waited for the more recent iterations of it, which has the brushed gold hardware, which not only is more scratch-resistant, but makes it look less like a F21 or Aldo knock-off of the Reissue bag.

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The leather is very soft but still durable. I used this bag every day for a few months, and I didn’t notice any scratches or marks on it. With calfskin, you can get that smooth leather look without the risk of damage.

The size is pretty much the same as the Chanel Reissue 224, but it does not come with the double flap so capacity is a lot larger compared to the Reissue 224. It is very similar in height and depth as my Square Mini, but slightly wider as it is more of a rectangular shape. The bijoux chain is longer than the Square Mini, but not as long as the Rectangular Mini. I can wear this both cross-border (it hits me slightly below the hip) and also single strap on the shoulders. I love love love that it comes with the four grommets, as that means I can also double up the chain and wear it under my arm.

When Chanel announced the Reissue Mini, I jumped on it despite not being completely in love with it. After almost a year of owning it, I still don’t feel super passionate about it. When I feel and see my Square Mini, I get butterflies, but with the Reissue Mini, I feel just okay about it. Don’t get me wrong, this is one of my most loved and used bags in my collection. But I love it because it is such a practical bag, and not because of how it makes me feel, if that makes sense.

The one major downside of this bag is that, like I mentioned earlier, a lot of fast fashion brands have essentially stolen the square turnlock flap bag style and made their own versions of it. I find that sometimes I wonder if people think I’m wearing an Aldo or F21 bag because it is so widely copied. While the quality of the bag is quite good, from afar it’s really hard to tell the difference. Even though I don’t wear my bags for other people to look at it, sometimes I do wonder if I could have spent that money on something else that isn’t so ambiguous in terms of Chanel branding.

Comparing the Square Mini with the Reissue Mini

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You can see in the photo above, and in the modelling shots below, that the Reissue Mini’s strap is about 1-1.5 inches longer than the Square Mini strap. This 1 inch makes a huge difference because the Reissue Mini sits comfortably on me cross-body, whereas I wouldn’t wear the Square Mini cross body.

As described earlier, the softer leather on the Reissue Mini means that I can get more stuff in the bag, compared to the Square Mini which is way more structured and requires you to pare down your belongings when you go out. As a bag for function, the Reissue Mini is way better in terms of everyday wear.

That being said, if I had to choose one of the two, I would still hands down choose the Square Mini because it just brings so much joy to me every time I use it. The CC turnlock is so quintessentially modern Chanel, and it elevates any and all outfits I wear with this. I also love how puffy and soft the quilts are. The quilting on the Reissue Mini is more distressed and flattened, so it’s not as fun to touch.

Sadly the Square Mini is no longer available in the caviar leather. You can still get it in the lambskin, which gets released pretty regularly a few times a year. The Reissue Mini has been available for a few seasons and I don’t see it going anywhere in the time being. Regardless, both styles are very Chanel and you can’t go wrong with either purchase.

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Hope this was helpful!