My Oldest Bag – The Chanel Bowler

I’ve been asked a few times about some of the favorite bags I own, and I thought today I would start with one that is not only one of my favorites, but also the oldest in my closet: this little Chanel black caviar leather bowler bag.

Chanel bowler

I’ve purchased bags both before and after this little bowler that have come and gone, but this little bowler has always had a spot in my closet. I bought it in 2002 (!) when my mom and I went to New York on a trip together, and visited the boutique on Madison. I remember it very clearly because ย the boutique was almost empty, which never happens these days, especially in the accessories sections.

I wanted a small classic caviar flap which at the time was something like $1095 (that’s right…take in that price!), but at the last minute my mom convinced me to get this bowler instead which was around the same price, saying it was “younger”. I carried it around for years and years. When the price of the classic flaps started creeping up and starting with scary numbers like $3xxx,ย and then $4xxx, and now even $5xxx, I briefly wish I had gotten the flap. But now I wouldn’t trade my bowler, any day. It’s unique and will always remind me of my trip to New York with my mom! I love taking it out and wearing it whenever I find the occasion.

A few more pictures of my oldest favorite:

Chanel bowler zipper

Chanel bowler back

Pretty good condition for a 12 year old lady, eh? I hope that all the new Chanel bags will last just as long and look like this, especially since they’ve quintupled the price since then.

Please share – what is the oldest handbag in your closet you still use?

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  • Mrs C
    April 16, 2014 at 8:33 am

    Great classic bag! When I think of Chanel, I always feel glad I bought my bags when the price was still doable. With today’s price I would rather get an Hermes! Plus the quality somehow has been compromised ๐Ÿ™ Anyway, my oldest bag is my first Louis Vuitton I bought with my own hard earn salary. It’s just a little pochette but the fact that I worked hard to earn it makes it an all time favorite ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Katherine
      April 16, 2014 at 3:25 pm

      Ah the all wonderful and handy pochette! Enjoy!

  • Prรชt-ร -Porter P
    April 16, 2014 at 8:44 am

    I have my old bags, and bags that are (newer) to me but predate the bags I’ve owned…if that makes sense. I believe my tom ford ysl Mombasa bag or Vuitton noctambule (old but new to me) but oldest I’ve owned is a since retired Zara “birkin” bag.

    • Katherine
      April 16, 2014 at 3:24 pm

      I still love those Mombasa bags. I wish I had one and occasionally trawl eBay to take a look!

  • tata
    April 16, 2014 at 9:12 am

    I have two chanels from the 80s… both hand me downs from my mom. still looks great and i still wear them on special occasions. one of them, my dad bought it for my mom when they went on their honeymoon to paris. very special pieces.

    • Katherine
      April 16, 2014 at 3:24 pm

      Ah your bags sound lovely! What a nice story to think of while using them as well.

  • Maria
    April 16, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    She may not be a classic flap but she is understated and chic with the minimal hardware and classic shape. She has aged well, too. I think you made a great decision.

    My oldest still in use would be my chevre Kelly 32 – my first Hermes bag. After that it was the H slippery slope all the way. ๐Ÿ™‚ (Before her it was LV or Coach and not one has survived my purges). It was 12 years ago and she was my 40th BD present. I’m carrying her today as a matter of fact……

    • Katherine
      April 16, 2014 at 3:23 pm

      Love that you’re still using your chevre Kelly (which sounds fantastic) 12 years later. I too have had quite a few bags that haven’t survived purges, I guess the ones that stay are the true classics!

  • Anna
    April 16, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    I never really got into bags (I have a Celine, a Coach, a YSL, and soon a Valentino and an Hermes, but that’s it), but boy am I a shoe hoarder. My oldest pair is the UGG Nantucket boots that I use during the snow. They’re about 8 years old and in a wonderful shape. My oldest fancy shoes are from Jimmy Choo; I’ve had them (and worn them!) for the last 7 years and only now took them to the cobbler for maintenance. They just help up perfectly and now look brand new. I can send you a picture to prove that 7 year old shoes can look like they’re right out of the box.

    • Katherine
      April 16, 2014 at 3:22 pm

      7 years is a long time for heels! I’d love to see a picture ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Ava Lon
    April 16, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    Dear Katherine,
    This bag is SO GORGEOUS! What a perfect shape and size — and in caviar!
    How lovely! Have you posted an outfit with it? I cannot recall, but I think you definitely should let her take the limelight a little more — she looks brand new! And what cute details!

    Thank you for sharing your very special bag which clearly holds very dear memories of that day you and your mom were in the NY store. Did you show your mom what amazing condition your bag is still in? I bet she would be very impressed!

    I don’t know if you have more gorgeous little creatures hidden away, but I am sure I speak for the rest of your readers when I say, “may I have a little more please?” I love these posts about special bags and items that hold such heartfelt memories, it’s like a hug. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Speaking of Chanel, I am curious about whether you consider purchasing or do purchase item(s) from their cosmetics collections. Or if you already have a stash, maybe a post of your Chanel cosmetics? ๐Ÿ˜€


    • Katherine
      April 17, 2014 at 9:45 am

      Hi Ava I really don’t have many items and many of them are spread out a few different places, but thanks so much for the suggestion. I’ll try to share more ๐Ÿ™‚ I used to buy quite a lot of Chanel cosmetics but haven’t in a while, what are some favorites?

      • Ava Lon
        April 18, 2014 at 4:20 pm

        Hi Katherine,

        Wow, some favorite Chanel cosmeticsโ€ฆthis is hard only because I really don’t have a lot of them – LOL! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Well, let’s see of what few items I DO have, I have some of their nail polishes. My two favorite Le Vernis are “Frenzy/599” and “Holiday/617” as I find that two coats of the former make for a nice nude nail ideal for work and personal preference, and two of the latter make for great toes in the summer.
        I have bought “back ups” of both even though I will be the first to admit, they chip within a day for me, but I am particularly hands on, e.g. I cook, do the dishes, etc. soโ€ฆ.yeah, this is a truly an indulgence for me. ;-P

        I am not without some sense of common sense and have some nearly identical wallet friendly options of both: Essie “Jazz” = Frenzy and L’Oreal L’orange = Holiday. However, being a packaging aficionado, Chanel exceeds in this area and I enjoy from a purely tactile sense the process of using the Chanel Le Vernis. :-[

        I was gifted a Rouge Coco Shine in “Bonheur” and it’s nice. Is it something I would personally purchase? Not really. I prefer the drugstore brand, NYC “City Proof Twistable Intense Lip Color,” and at nearly a whole decimal point shift to the left in my favor, i.e. $2.99 vs $30.00, I think I can tolerate the cloying smell of the NYC brand. I love their “Brooklyn Brownstone/011” and “Riverside Rose/020” and no, I can assure you I am not employed by them – lol. I have a few of the Chanel Glossimers, but I really do not like gloss. At all. However, this is the only brand (mind you, I have not tried Dior’s or any other competing luxury brand to Chanel) of gloss that has not made my lips peel and actually leaves them hydrated after I remove the gloss. Odd, but true. This is the only reason I have not thrown the two I own out. And of the two, one is a full size and the second was a gift from a SA at the Chanel counter at the discount retailer, Century 21, from about 5 years ago when they sold Chanel cosmetics (I am kicking myself for not getting more items there then), who I think took pity on me and gave me a deluxe sample of “Spark” — I just keep it (and the box it came in) because from a packaging perspective, it’s so adorably cute!

        Recently, I bought their bronzer, the cream one. Frankly, I prefer using this item instead from Revlon, “Nearly Naked Pressed Powder in Deep Fonce/050” which surprises me because I got it on a whim at the drugstore AFTER I had purchased the Chanel bronzer. Many people, including Sabrina (whom you interviewed – lol, which I forgot and suggested you interview – SMH) love the Chanel one, soโ€ฆyeah. I have it. Need to use it. Hope I love it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        The funny thing is is that I DO purchase a lot of Chanel cosmetics, but mainly as presents. It is such a joy to watch new-to-Chanel-ees open, well, first see the iconic bag, and then open each item – like a kid in a candy store. LOL! ๐Ÿ˜€ As a result I am gifted quite a few deluxe samples of items from my super-awesome SA, which frankly, I love for packaging reasons, but end up always gifting away to friends/family because I find that their makeup doesn’t really work for me. And I’d rather spend the money on their ESPADRILLES! And SALE SHOES! Haha! ๐Ÿ˜‰

        It doesn’t seem like you wear much makeup and that your skin is RIDICULOUSLY flawless, I was curious what skincare routine do you have and or, rather, if you do use foundation — what do you use? Gosh, I hope it’s not Chanel as none of their foundations work on me — nope, not even the Sabrina-approved new ones ๐Ÿ™ so sad. I was given testers but they are far too sheer for me.

        Oh, and in case you were curious as to what foundation I spackle on, ๐Ÿ˜‰ I use Givenchy Photo Perfexion with Hourglass Veil as a primer ALL OVER (eyes, lips, you name it!). Great if you have oily/combination skin particularly in the sweltering heat.

        Wait! There is one item of their’s I love, but again, it’s a ridiculous indulgence, their Le Coton. So much for any aforementioned “common sense” . . . . ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Since we are on the topic of cosmetics, I just had an ideaโ€ฆwait, let me go audit myself and see if you have already interviewed herโ€ฆnope! At least not that I can find! Toni Ko of NYX Cosmetics. Her brand is the go-to for many MUA and beauty bloggers/vloggers and the quality seems pretty decent compared to higher end brands (with better packaging budgets) when it comes to pigmentation and feel. I bet she has an amazing Chanel and Hermes etc. collection!

        Have a lovely weekend!


        • Katherine
          April 19, 2014 at 10:39 pm

          Thanks so much for your long and thoughtful response Ava. I am going to try out that NYC color you recommend, stat next time I am at an Ulta! ๐Ÿ™‚ My skin is far from flawless and I’ve struggled with it for years. Still trying to find the perfect formula.

          Like you I am finding more and more drugstore favorites. I was going to try out a Clinique Bronzer and now will also look at those Revlon options. Thank you again!

  • June
    April 16, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    Dear Katherine,

    Oh! I thought that my bag collection was complete till you posted this! I had a Chanel caviar flap bag a while back but sold it because I just never used it. And then this! I might have to hunt it down and get one!


    • Katherine
      April 17, 2014 at 9:46 am

      I’d really recommend this bag, fits as much as a Jumbo and you can probably find it for much much less on eBay!

  • Ammu
    April 16, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    Wow, that bag is in beautiful condition – you have obviously taken very good care of it! I will have to retrieve your handbag care post for tips ๐Ÿ™‚
    My oldest purses are presents from my dad – dating back to the early 1990s. Both are hand-made in India. One is a very slim purse with a thin shoulder strap, tan leather with an embossed Indian pattern in red and dark brown, featuring a woman’s profile. The other is a hard coffee-coloured leather box bag with a buckled shoulder strap. I rarely use either purse because they fit very little and have had to get the straps repaired, but they are both so beautifully made, especially the tan one, that I can’t bring myself to purge them. They may not have cost much, compared to some of the designer bags I have given away to friends, but they are much more rare and therefore, priceless, in my view.

    • Katherine
      April 17, 2014 at 9:46 am

      Hi Ammu I always love hearing about all of your items, they sound beautiful!

  • Glenda
    April 16, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    My oldest bag is an inherited burgundy Coach from back when they simply made quality leather bags in New York. I also have an inherited navy Coach of that vintage, and I still take both out for a spin now and then…

    • Katherine
      April 17, 2014 at 9:46 am

      Vintage Coach quality is fantastic. You’ll have those bags forever!

  • Sharon
    April 22, 2014 at 10:16 am

    This bag is so sweet. I love it!