Fashion Indigestion

It started with that photo above, which led to a trunk show months ago where I pawed the supple, nubby leather and drooled over the bag. To be honest, I didn’t remember all that much about the bag after I left the viewing but the leather definitely made an impression on me. It was not smooth lambskin like in the spy photo. The sample bag had traveled from one trunk show to the next, town to town, and still the leather seemed so hardy. So tough yet luxurious. I was sold and it quickly made my short list for Cruise 2011 buys. Fast forward to an episode of Gossip Girl (I swear I only watch it for the fashion) and I am just dying in anticipation:

Then come the Christmas rush and many hours of jockeying for position on wait lists at various stores, and I finally receive the bag–color coded by CHANEL as brown–which in real life is somewhat part taupe, part elephant gray. But as soon as I pick up the bag, the leather seems…off, somehow. It’s definitely lambskin and while lovely in its own right, is not exactly what I thought I was getting.

So off I go on the Purse Forum to research this Chain Around bag, and finally it dawns on me that there is one variation of this bag in buffalo leather, which is most likely what I’d seen at the trunk show. However, the colors that I’d seen at the show are now being released in lambskin. And the only one that’s in buffalo is this pale, pale blue-gray version, so similar to my beloved gator flap. This photo is courtesy of a member of the Purse Forum and the cause of my most recent bout of bag madness:

Anyway, off I go, setting off a small five-alarm fire in my head as I rally my buddies/enablers to help me find this buffalo bag. Apparently it is in Asia and possibly in Europe. Not in the US in the medium size. C’mon, a little ocean can’t stop me, your intrepid shopaholic, right? Well, the distance, no, but there is a nasty little price difference in Asia (almost $500) that is cause for pause. So from 1-3am this morning I was on the phone with Europe. Yes, it felt like I was calling the entire continent for this bag. I found it but in the wrong size and one boutique in London promised to put me on the wait list in case another one comes in. So now, sleep-deprived and grumpy, I’m trying to make sense of all of this.

First, it did actually take me 3 tries to find the perfect one in taupe. This particular model is what you might call challenging. It’s the perfect size/shape for me, holds tons without being super heavy, and the color is gorgeous. Those are the pluses. But it is also oddly uneven and has a super long strap, which I’d have to McGyver or find professional help in permanently shortening it to fit my frame. The first bag that came to me had a nick in the leather (yes, it’s meant to be distressed leather but a puncture in the leather is no good). The second one was obviously lopsided. And the third one appears to be the charm (only partially uneven in an insouciant way)…

…unless the evil voice in your head is still pining for that buffalo skin. So second, given all these permutations I’ve seen in the last couple of weeks, I know I’d have to see the bag in person before buying it–there’s too much room for lopsidedness, and I’m not sure I can rely on the word of a sales associate that the one he/she is sending me is the “perfect” one. Buying a bag from overseas is effectively a final sale, so I’d really have to want it very badly to assume all these risks. In thinking this over, I don’t have a great sense of assurance that they could really send me the perfect bag, especially since there are not that many for them to pick from. We are so used to having so much inventory in the US that we don’t know what to do with all the choices, but shopping overseas is more or less about making a quick decision because of limited supply. And as OCD as I am, there seems to be too much room for error in buying this particular bag over the phone. That’s the sane head talking.

And yet…and yet… That’s the insane heart talking.

I pop a couple of Alka-Seltzer for breakfast. Fashion indigestion is how I start this day. My head tells me to stick to the taupe and see what next season brings; perhaps CHANEL will release more bags in buffalo here and possibly in a color less high-maintenance than pale gray. And when that happens, I will be happy that I didn’t jump through all the hoops just because the pale buffalo is so elusive now. My head also says that perhaps on the next trip overseas, if it’s meant to be, I will run across the blue buffalo and it can still happen. My head tells me I only want it because I can’t readily have it. Finally, it tells me to enjoy the one I do have and be done with it. STOP pining. That only leads to needles in your heart.

And yet…and yet…


  1. Eileen

    L, Singapore has the pale blue buffalo! It feels like suede. Def an icy blue! Chain is very long, think it reached my thighs when worn from the shoulder. I found the button difficult to use though…

    Let me know if you need an SA’s contact:-)

  2. larkie

    well, Schol, i took the taupe cam out today for a second as a way to destress (lol) and totally fell in love with the color. so i think i should just break her out and use it…and if it turns out to be an useful bag, i might be able to talk myself into a second one in case the blue buffalo somehow magically appears in front of me…assuming i can still stick to the one-in-one out rule haha!

  3. scholastican

    epic bag saga, MissL. fret not, you haven’t lost your mind…just yet. and yep, I’m here with ya for the ride.


  4. larkie

    Jelita, know what you mean about all the chatter re this bag on tpf. it totally added to my anxiety, but the truth is, after seeing about 5 or 6 of these bags, i do believe i have to eyeball the bag before buying it if i want to not have to return it. some are definitely in better shape than others, even straight out of the box! i’m not sure it’s a defect exactly…it’s just a bag that defies the rigid structure we’re used to from the classic flaps, so i think you just gotta love it right away or not. sadly for me, i do find it quite charming, so i have to accept the fact that it’s not a perfectly shaped bag! crazy!!

  5. larkie

    April, i blame my growing bag collection not wanting an SA to lose her/his commission. that’s my story and I’m sticking to it :D! but yes, let’s see how long i can shush that voice that’s still calling for the blue buffalo!!

  6. Jelita78

    ***or that was just me talking my way out of wanting it**

  7. Jelita78

    U’re not kidding when u said it’s a saga!
    Sheeessshhhh.. I could turn to an epic!

    I love the leather too but i do think the strap are way too long, just silly.
    Wish chanel would stick with it’s genre of double-single adjustable mode.
    And the drama over at purseforum also seem way overrated with soo many defects..
    Smells fishy..

  8. April

    I feel your pain, my dear, I do completely. I have been there so many times and ended up with way more bags than I want because I jumped on some bandwagon and didn’t want to return them for fear of (gasp) offending the S.A. (and instead staying in their good stead for any future have-to-haves.) You know how that goes. Nobody likes returns, especially S.A.s. So I personally think you’re being very “sensible” if there is such a term when it comes to fashion. Wait it out (at least for a bit) and if it continues to wake you up in the middle of the night, only THEN jump off into the fashion abyss and pray that you land softly. 😉


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