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Learn the Lingo: Vintage Handbag Terms to Know

Buying an exquisite vintage handbag by a label like Chanel can feel overwhelming — and not just because of the price tag! If you’ve ever wondered what some of the terms mean that you’ve seen thrown around, you’ve come to the right place. Find out the difference between a double and a single flap here, and then shop the Vintage Chanel Handbags & More: Madison Avenue Couture sale on Gilt.com starting at noon ET on September 4.

One of the more iconic fabrics from the house of Chanel, this is actually a type of woven or knit wool fabric that is widely used today. The identifiable texture of the fabric comes from loops of yarn made up of at least 2 strands, that can range from tiny loops to large circles. Often, two or more different colors of thread strands are used to create an almost plaid-like appearance.

Single and Double Flaps
Chanel fanatics could debate for days over which structure of bag they prefer! A single flap means that there is only one visible external fold over the classic turn-lock bag, and one open compartment within the purse itself. A double flap signifies that there is a secondary piece inside the purse, under the external fold-over locking tab. This is the original Chanel handbag design. The second flap gives the purse more structure and security, as well as providing internal compartments to store your things, but less overall space within the purse. Of course, it’s always personal preference how you like the interior of your purse to be organized!

Caviar Leather
While it is a premium and luxury experience to own a caviar leather Chanel bag, it’s not made of Sevruga! It is the brand’s famously textured calfskin leather (a small pebble-like grain), which is legendary for being able to take wear and tear with aplomb. While no bag is indestructible, the longevity of the caviar leather is part of what makes these purses worth the investment.

Strictly speaking, vintage describes an item that is more than 20 years past its original creation date. So, yes, if you’ve saved your favorite Bon Jovi tee from the ’80s, it’s officially vintage! But, of course, the term is used more generally by many people to describe items that are more than a few seasons old. Celebrities are often spotted on the red carpet in “vintage” garments that were only presented on the runway a few seasons before.

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