How to Spot a Real Chanel Boy Bag

Words by Jody Hume | 1.14.17
Most people would never dream of trying to improve upon perfection, but Karl Lagerfeld is not most people. Nearly 100 years after Coco Chanel designed the Classic Flap and almost 60 years after the release of the 2.55, the Chanel Boy bag arrived on the scene as the edgier younger sister of the two perennial favorites. As is the case with all of his designs for the coveted label, Lagerfeld’s most recent flap pays homage to house codes while adding a modern take. According to our expert team, the design is based off of the Classic Flap, but features unique updates such as the channel-quilted border, the half leather/half chain strap and signature geometric squeeze-lock clasp.

The bag’s namesake was Coco Chanel’s first great love — an English polo player named Arthur “Boy” Capel, who ultimately became her first investor. It is rumored that after Capel married another woman, Boy and Coco would often rendezvous at his country estate. When his wife planned to visit that home, Capel decided to lend Coco the money to open her first store in Paris — ostensibly so he could avoid the two women crossing paths. This is when she started her millinery business at 21 Rue Cambon — eight years before opening her famous boutique at 31 Rue Cambon.

These days, the Boy bag is as coveted as the brand’s most time-honored designs and counterfeits abound. Read on to learn how to tell if yours is the real thing with tips from our experts.

Chanel Boy Bag Lock

When examining a Chanel Boy bag for authenticity, focus on the brand-specific identifiers, namely the squeeze-lock closure. Older versions have what’s referred to as the original clasp, featuring two C’s facing one another as opposed to the iconic interlocking C’s used on most other designs.  In either case, you will see a tiny engraved CC on the peg at the center of the clasp. Though on many counterfeits, each “C” has curved tips, an authentic logo has flat tips.
On the underside of the flap, you’ll see that the lock has four 6-sided star screws. If you see flat-head screws, this is a big red flag. Vintage Chanel Classic Flaps will have flat-head screws, but Chanel transitioned to a proprietary screw before the Boy bag was in production.

Chanel Boy Bag Hardware

Rather than the leather-threaded chain iconic to the Classic Flap, the edgier Boy bag features a wider chain-link strap, often in antiqued hardware. On each side of the bag is a rectangular piece of hardware that attaches the strap to the bag. The logo on it should have clean, flat lettering — never curved or bubbled. Like any Chanel bag, the materials should be excellent and the construction, flawless. The bag should have perfect quilting, even stitches and well-affixed hardware.

Chanel Boy Bag Interior

Unlike the Classic Double Flap, the Boy bag’s interior is streamlined and minimal with a simple fabric lining, which keeps the bag lightweight. If your bag has a zip pocket, the zipper should be made from the same metal as the rest of the hardware and the backside should read “Lampo.” The interior label features a stamp that reads “CHANEL MADE IN ITALY” in the same color foil as the hardware.

Chanel Boy Bag Serial Number

To the left of the interior label is where you’ll find the hologram tab with the bag’s unique serial number. Cross-referencing the serial number and date of production helps to determine authenticity. The first two digits of the serial number correspond to the bag’s production year. The 15-series was the first line of Boy bags, produced in 2011 to be launched in 2012.  If your bag has a serial number beginning with a number lower than 15, that would be a sign of inauthenticity.
Each season, Chanel releases a new Boy bag with unique embellishments. For instance, any Tartan Boy bag from the Paris/Edinburgh collection should have a serial number beginning with 18, indicating that it was made in 2013 for the 2013 Pre-Fall Métiers d’Art collection. Like the brand itself, the Boy bag is reinvented four times each year and we can’t wait to see what comes next.


Fall 2014 Boy Bag, $4,400; Studded Boy Bag $3,900; Cruise 2017 Boy Bag, $5,000

Ready to own the icon? Shop our authentic collection of Chanel Boy Bags here.

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Please note: Brand standards, logos and other identifying features may have changed since the time of publication.

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