The Chanel Vanity Case / Lunchbox has been growing a steady following since its release in 2016. It very much looks like a lunch box I carried when I was younger with its boxy and almost-bulky shape and top handle (and maybe not as stylish – my glittery pink Barbie lunchbox was super cute), but I think that’s what makes this bag so endearing. It has a feminine appeal without feeling too girly and has been one of my most used bags this year since getting it in January.
How I Got The Bag
My boyfriend and I traveled to Oahu for vacation back in January. I had not planned to get anything on our trip and did not have anything that I was eyeing immediately. While walking through one day, we just happened to pass by the Chanel in Waikiki. Of course being as Chanel-obsessed as I am, we walked in just so I could look around at the store.
I was approached by a lovely sales associate who asked if she could show me anything. Since I didn’t have anything in mind, I just told her I was looking and she was nice enough to pull out different things for me to look at. I did mention at one point that I really liked the Vanity Case, Coco Handle and Business Affinity, which are all still relatively new bags that Chanel have come out with the past couple of years.
She pulled out a gorgeous red Coco Handle, which I did try on but decided the size was a bit big. And then a mini Coco Handle with the lizard handle, which I was less fond of, but still appreciated the touch of exotic skin. And then she pulled out this Vanity Case and my mind went racing. It was beautiful with the two-tone beige. And so lady-like with the design and top handle. Also, versatile with the shoulder strap. But did I need it? I was so surprised with how much I loved it, but then my natural instinct to be practical about everything kicked in.
For the next day and a half, I made a list of pros and cons of the bag, debated on whether or not it would fill a hole in my collection, thought of ways I would wear it, where I would wear it…basically went back and forth with myself in my mind on getting the bag for 36 hours. After some mental cartwheels and some convincing from my boyfriend, we went back to take a second look at it. When I tried it on again, I knew it was coming home with me.
Review: Overview, What Fits, Modeling Shots, Wear and Tear, Final Thoughts
My Filigree Vanity Case is in the medium size, but also comes in a smaller small size and larger large size. It also comes in a small size without the top handle, but I’m not sure what that size is officially called. This specific color way is from the 2019 Cruise collection.
The medium Filigree Vanity Case measures 6.25 inches tall x 8.25 inches wide x 3.25 inches deep with a 1.25 inch handle drop and 19.5 inch shoulder strap drop.
My Vanity Case is constructed from both caviar leather and lambskin. The body itself is caviar and the trim and CC is lambskin. Seasonal variations of it also came in tweed and a woven pattern (almost like a straw bag).
It opens up like a clam with two zippers going around the bag, but doesn’t open completely since the front is held in but gussets on either side. I believe the oldest model of the vanity case does actually open completely, but since then Chanel has changed it. The inside is divided in half with a zipper pocket. The compartment in the front is slightly smaller than the compartment in the back.
A detail of the vanity case are the two little fobs that hang off the handle of the bag. Inside attached to the leather cord is a set of lock and key which can be used to lock and unlock the bag. Through the two zippers of the bag, there are holes which you can thread the lock through and lock the bag for extra security.
I think a lot of people would be surprised at how much this seemingly small thing can fit. I know I was completely surprised when I was first loading it up at the store. I can fit my keys, card holder, lip balm, sun glasses, hand cream and cell phone in it with some room left. It fits a little more than the Chanel mini square does, which fits the same amount as the Chanel medium classic flap. So sizes are definitely deceiving.
With it full, it does make taking things in a out a little more difficult. I do occasionally have to dig around for the item I am looking for. But its nothing where I’m really struggling with since the bag itself is small, so I don’t feel like it takes me that long compared to other styles of bags I have (like the Neverfull for example).
For reference, I am 5 feet 4 inches or 162 centimeters tall and am a size US 4 for most clothing. I can actually crossbody this as well and it sits right at my hip.
Wear and Tear
I was really apprehensive about how this bag would hold up when I first got it. Not only was it a light colored bag, but it also had lambskin trim. Light colored lambskin too. And usually the corners are the first places to show wear on bags. I knew I had to be extra careful when using it.
Surprisingly, after using this bag consistently for almost a year now, it looks almost the same as a the day I got it. I haven’t gotten any marks on the bag or color transfer (thanks to my SA who recommended I test clothes against a clean white towel for any color transfer). I’m pleasantly surprised and frankly a little shocked because I have been a little rough with the bag.
I have tied a scarf on the top handle of the bag and noticed that the scarf has darkened a bit. But it’s done it’s job in keeping the handle clean. I am careful to not touch the handle if I ever have hand cream or any kind of residue on my hands because it’s such a light colored leather.
The only wear I’ve noticed is on the fabric lining of the zipper and the zipper pulls. The fabric lining is starting a pill. And the lambskin zipper pulls have softened up over time and are a bit curved from the pressure it takes to zip the bag.
I brought my bag out with me to the Mid-Autumn Festival here in San Francisco one weekend. Chinatown is already jam-packed on weekdays with grandpas and grandmas buying groceries, tourists and pedestrians making their way through the city and people just trying to get some delicious cheap eats, so that weekend, it was just a sea of people. I regretted my decision after just seeing the amount of people, and knew I was going to be shoulder to shoulder with lots of people and my bag would get bumped into. But I went and braved the crowds anyway. On the way home, I was looking at my bag and was a little horrified to find the first black mark on the lambskin trim. To my relief though, it came out with a gentle rub and a dab of good ol’ saliva (TMI and so glamorous, I am so sorry).
I am honestly so surprised at how much I adore and have used this bag. I thought it was going to be an occasional bag when I first bought it, and I was definitely okay with that, but I find myself reaching for it at least once a week. I picked the right color combination and size for my lifestyle.
As much as I love this bag, I know this won’t be for everyone. The opening and closing mechanism is a bit more finicky and that will definitely put people off to using it, especially if they are used to having immediate access to their belongings and phone. The compartment system on the inside might also be a turn off to some people who like open bags or like using pouches to compartmentalize their things: there will be less room for things if you prefer to use pouches. The shoulder strap drop really only allows this bag to be used as a shoulder bag, but I can and do wear it crossbody on occasion when I need my hands free.
Now on to the longevity of the bag. I can see myself carrying this for years to come. While it does look like a lunch box and seemingly like a “younger” bag, I do think that this will age well and fits into my closet and lifestyle. Whether or not Chanel will consider this a classic piece, only time will tell. If you are looking for a bag that you think will become a classic, I wouldn’t get this one just yet or maybe get it in the beige and black color way. But if you already love the bag and have taken its form and function into consideration, then I would definitely recommend it if you wee on the fence.
Hope this helped those of you who were looking into the Vanity Case! Let me know if you have any questions below!