Select Page

Chanel 101: The
boy bag

By Koyaana R. July 29, 2020

Chanel Boy Bag 101

The Boy Bag has long been a fixture in Chanel’s permanent

line of handbags offered up each season. Its classic lines, simple silhouette, and chain shoulder strap make it a staple in any Chanel lover’s wardrobe. But, why is this bag, officially named the Boy Chanel, so in demand? Who inspired its creation? We’re here to dive into one of Chanel’s most iconic handbags and explore its many facets, from conception to reception.

History of the Boy Chanel Bag

Introduced in 2011 in Chanel’s Fall/Winter collection, the Boy Chanel bag made waves while paying homage to the love of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel’s life. With its release, Karl Lagerfeld stated, “Chanel used men’s underwear to make dresses; she had this boyish attitude, in fact, it is the very spirit of Chanel. She got it from Boy Capel, the great love of her life, which, incidentally, explains why the new bag is called the Boy Chanel.”

Arthur “Boy” Capel was a polo player with whom Chanel would have a passionate nine-year affair and who would inspire her to create many of the looks she would be famous for, and later inspire Karl Lagerfeld to create the Boy Chanel bag.

The Chanel Boy bag was an immediate success, flying off the shelves and becoming one of the most sought-after styles. To this day, classic combinations are few and far between and the Chanel Boy bag continues to remain in high demand.

Boy Chanel Bag Sizing Reference

The Chanel Boy bag has been a major success in part to its size availability. There have been six sizes available at various points in time; mini, small, old medium, new medium, large, and XL. While the sizing varies seasonally, below are the options that have been available over time.

Chanel Boy Bag 101 Sizing Reference

The Boy Chanel  Collection

While this article covers the classic Chanel Boy bag style specifically, we cannot overlook how the utilitarian characteristics of the Boy bag have often been transferred to other silhouettes. Several examples include totes, clutches, wallets, and wallets on chains. These pieces will include the moniker ‘Boy’ in front of their name or silhouette.

Chanel 101 The Boy Collection

Quilting, Materials, and Hardware For the Chanel Boy Bag

The Chanel Boy bag has come in many variations of materials and hardware, some limited edition and some more common. The Chanel Boy bag is characterized by its main body pattern framed by a series of straight edges and a lego brick lock. Most commonly, the Chanel Boy bag is seen with the Classic Quilt at its center. Other body patterns include chevron quilting, for an even more updated and sleek look, as well as what is referred to as ‘reverso’ quilting, which consists of an unquilted body and a quilted frame. Occasionally, a horizontal quilt will become available, but this version is rarely seen. The Chanel Boy bag shoulder strap is composed of a chunky metal chain. 

Chanel has not been hesitant to play with the aesthetics of the edgier Boy Chanel flap bag. Nearly every season, new and interesting versions are released, sometimes ranging into the five-figure range.

Chanel 101 The Quilted Caviar
Chanel 101 The Reverso Calfskin
Chanel 101 The Boy Flap

Due to its versatility, the Chanel Boy bag has been crafted in many materials, from various types of leathers to luxurious textiles. The most common leathers are caviar, lambskin, patent, and goatskin (gentle and regular with patent trim). There have been many options of fabrics available over the years with tweed and velvet being the most predominant. However, these are joined by canvas, PVC, denim, and many other unique editions.

One of the most distinguishable characteristics of the Chanel Boy bag is its lock closure. While most versions have what can be referred to as a brick lock, or clasp, with a prominent double CC center, there have been slight variations over the years.

Chanel 101 The Boy Bag Lock
Chanel 101 The Boy Bag Lock 2
Chanel 101 The Boy Bag Lock 3

Special Edition Chanel Boy Bags

The Boy Chanel bag, while classic, has been a silhouette that Chanel has not been afraid to alter and experiment with. Unlike the Classic Flap, the Chanel Boy bag has been presented in bold and avant-garde ways. Here is just a small taste of what options have been on offer.

Much like the Classic Flap, a So Black rendition of the Boy Bag has been made available at random times. It is an incredibly sought after version of the edgier flap bag and continues to sell above its original retail.

The iridescent goatskin version was available in three colors and featured rainbow hardware. This rendition of the popular bag was highly coveted, and due to its availability in very limited quantities, it has garnered a premium on the resale market.

Chanel 101 The Boy Flap So Black

So Black

Chanel 101 The Boy Flap Iridescent


The Chanel Boy Bag in Exotic Materials

Much like the Classic Flap, the Chanel Boy bag has been made in interesting combinations of exotic materials, including, but not limited to crocodile, python, and stingray. With these pieces come hefty price tags in comparison to their leather and textile counterparts. It should be noted that their materials are also what makes them so special, as the house of Chanel announced in 2018 that they will no longer be producing products with material made from exotic skins.


More Chanel Boy Bag Special Editions

Chanel has not been hesitant to play with the aesthetics of this edgier flap bag. Nearly every season, new and interesting versions are released, sometimes ranging into the five-figure range. Here are some of our favorites.



Chanel 101 The Embelishments

Intricate Techniques

Chanel 101 The Intricate Techniques

Unique Materials

Chanel 101 The Unique Materials