Chanel caviar or lambskin is probably the most debated question for many bag lovers and Chanel addicts. I couldn’t answer this question for the longest time which held me off from purchasing the classic flap.
There are a lot of blog posts and materials online regarding this topic (I especially love all the helpful posts on Purse Forum!) However, I want to share my two cents because every Chanel buyer (especially first time) will come across this debate. In my opinion, there are 20 key considerations (yes 20!) Hope you find this post helpful!
For disclosure, I have finally decided on the lambskin and I will share my personal reasons in brackets!1. Type of Bag – The type of bag impacts the caviar or lambskin decision. If you are looking to buy a cross body bag (i.e., WOC) then I think caviar is a better choice since it will be worn against your hips and is more likely to be bumped / scratched. If you are looking to buy a tote (i.e., GST) then the durable caviar will be a safer bet. If you are looking for a shoulder bag then you can consider both caviar and lambskin. If you are looking to buy wallets / SLGs then you should pick the durable caviar for everyday use! (My ideal Chanel collection is a black jumbo caviar and a red M/L lambskin.)
2. Color – Lambskin is better with darker colors because the wear and tear will be less visible. So in theory for darker colors, you can should go with lambskin and in lighter colors you should go with caviar. However, I think colored lambskin is richer and much more beautiful than the same color in caviar.
3. Size – In general, smaller and bigger bags are better in caviar. Then the mid-size bags you can consider lambskin. Between the jumbo and M/L flap, I think caviar is better on the jumbo purely because the jumbo has a larger surface area and is more likely to get scratched. If you are looking for the M/L classic flap then there is no clear winner between caviar or lambskin.
4. Preferred Look / Feel – Do you prefer the look of the smooth lambskin or the pebbled caviar? If you prefer lambskin then consider whether your preference will change if it’s lambskin + a few scratches. Also do you prefer the buttery soft touch of the lambskin or the studier feel of the caviar? Overall, I think the lambskin is more luxurious and dressy looking while the caviar is more young and casual looking. (I personally love the look and feel of the lambskin. So many times I would go to the store set on getting the practical caviar only to turn away because I just didn’t love the look / feel of the caviar. The weird thing is I prefer caviar in the jumbo size but I really don’t like caviar in the M/L, to me it feels and looks plastic-y.) 5. Number of Bags in Your Collection – If you only have a few handbags in your collection then caviar is the better choice. On the flip side, if you have a large handbag collection and this will be your “special” bag, then go for a lambskin! Also if most of your collection is more durable handbags then maybe it’s time to welcome a “baby” to your collection! However, if you have a few delicate bags then it might be good to try the durable caviar! (I don’t have a large handbag collection but I do have a few bags and the Chanel classic flap will definitely be my “special” bag, so I ended up picking the lambskin.)
6. Practically / Intended Use: Do you intend to use your bag everyday or is it for special occasions only? If everyday pick caviar, if special occasions only pick lambskin. Although, from comments on Purse Forums, some people do wear lambskin everyday and they have no problems! Also if you are planning to travel with this bag then caviar is definitely the smarter choice. Overall, caviar is definitely more practical and carefree! (I would like the option to use it everyday but I know this will likely be my special occasion bag just because it’s not appropriate / practical during the weekdays for work and for weekends I would still like to rotate through my bags.)
7. Your OCD-Level: Are you OCD about your items (especially your handbags)? If scratches and marks give you anxiety then please save yourself the heartache and get the caviar! You are spending way too much money so you should enjoy the bag and not to worry about it! On the other hand, if you are okay with some scratches and marks and like your bag to have “character” then lambskin is a good choice. (Personally I am only OCD about my bags for the first few months then after regularly use / a few scratches, I don’t pay as much attention anymore.)