Hello my lovelies, it is me talking about handbags (again!) - one of my favourite subjects, after jewellery and shoes of course. And maybe food…haha.
So as you may know, last year I decided to put myself on a shopping ban.
This was for several reasons - one being that I have way too many things - I joke on Instagram about being a hoarder and maybe I really am! I look after all of my many many many things and so never really get rid of them because they’re sentimental to me, and still have plenty of life left in them. So this was one main reason for the shopping ban.
Another big reason is my growing awareness of the impact of fast fashion (something my fantastic friend and sustainable fashion designer / educator Jennifer Whitty first opened my eyes to):
of buying something on impulse that you don’t really need, and how wasteful it is then buying something else to replace it the following week / month / year.
of the impact this disposable culture is having on our environment.
there are many more reasons I’ve worked hard to not buy “fast fashion” and disposable items, and encouraged others to consider their buying behaviour too - but that would take up a whole blog entry in itself, so I’ll save it for another time.
You may be asking - what the heck has this got to do with buying a Chanel bag in Paris?! Good question :D
So last year, with my shopping ban, I began saving up all of the money I’d have spent on little, splurgy, unnecessary purchases to put towards one bigger purchase of something that to me, was more exciting, satisfying and important than those smaller, instantly-gratifying purchases. Something I’d use again and again for years to come, not just a handful of times and then put it in a cupboard or a charity shop. And so I began saving for a new Chanel handbag.
Once I had a goal, I began saving harder and started to see the money build up. As you may also know, I’ve been selling some of my clothes on depop and eBay - well this money also went into the Chanel pot and by December I was ready for my new baby!
I wanted to buy a coral or a baby pink mini Chanel bag, which were colours that Chanel released in its 2018 / 2019 collections. You can’t buy from Chanel online so I was going to have to travel to London to buy my new bag.
The thing with Chanel bags is that they don’t always have the styles, sizes and colours in stock - and so you could make your way to the store to find that the bag you wanted was not available. They don’t reserve the bags for you either (maybe they do if you’re a valued customer, but I’m certainly not one of those!).
Anyway before I could consider venturing to London to try and buy my new bag, the impromptu New Years Eve in Paris trip happened, and so where better to try and buy my bag!
So when I was in Paris I Googled where the boutiques were, which one was closest to my hotel, and it turned out that it was the famous Rue de Cambon flagship Chanel store - well that seemed like a good enough place to shop :-)
Online reviews of Chanel Rue de Cambon were mixed - some people reported snobby staff and lack of stock. Others raved about how helpful the sales assistants were. So I woke up at 6.30am to wash my hair especially - it’s not every day one buys a Chanel bag in Paris! Though the hairdryer in the hotel was one of those vacuum-looking ones that leaves your hair looking like a cloud of frizz, so I needn't have bothered. And with Chris in tow, I walked an hour through the beautiful streets of Paris to Rue de Cambon.
When we arrived at Rue de Cambon we were gobsmacked - there was a massive Chanel construction site, all boarded up, and it looked like the store was closed for refurbishment! *Sad face*!
I knew there were several other Chanel boutiques in Paris, so we decided to find a cafe, have a cup of tea, and then walk to the next nearest one. However, as we continued down Rue de Cambon, I saw a little sign, and a doorman outside of the actual Chanel store! It was still there! Luckily we hadn’t turned around and walked back the way we came, as we’d have missed it completely!
And so we entered Chanel. I was approached by three sales assistants who each were very polite, wished me good morning and showed me towards the bag department. It was about 11am by now and I’d read online that you should go early so that there’s more chance of your bag being available. I was told that there were three people in front of me, and would I mind waiting? Of course not. I’m here for the bags, baby :-)
While waiting I looked at the bags in the counter displays. Most bags are kept behind sliding wooden cupboard doors and I was thrilled to see that there were some pink mini Chanel flap bags hidden inside when the door was opened for another customer. YAY.
Soon it was my turn to be served and I was shown the mini flap bags available. They come in square and rectangular shapes and personally I prefer the square shape (which is also slightly cheaper than the rectangle) - although the sales assistant told me that the rectangular shape is more sought after.
They had the pink square (in quilted rather than chevron pattern), along with a coral rectangular shaped bag. I knew I wanted the pink one - yippeeeee.
But then I asked what other colours they had in stock and was shown the latest season’s ‘orange’ colour. It was a bright orange-red and extremely vibrant and attractive, but not what I’d gone in to buy.
However, the more I looked at it, the more I liked it. I felt it was more grown up than pink, and was certainly more striking. Hmm. Chris of course preferred the orange, but I didn’t want to rush my decision, having planned for six months to buy the pink!
We were offered a tea (me) and coffee (Chris) so I could take some time to consider my choice (no champagne was offered - and I’d been ready to accept this time, haha!!). While I sat drinking my green tea my two little bags were positioned in the cupboard waiting for me to decide which one was coming home with me.
And I surprised myself by choosing the orange! (You know how much I love pink!) So the orange bag was wrapped up in the exclusive white Rue de Cambon packaging and off we went together, new bag and I (oh, and Chris, too).
My experience of the Parisian store was very good. The sales assistant did escort me to the door with my bag, which was a bit awkward because I’d wanted to look around the store a bit more, and it was like a Mr Bean sketch, where I kept thinking she was handing me the bag, would go to accept it, and she held onto it - CRINGE :p
It was another week before I used my new bag and I’m happy with my grown up choice.
I’m still saving my non-spendings but there’s no Chanel planned for the foreseeable future, I’m happy enjoying the ones I have :-)