THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A CHANEL JACKET
For effortless movement and easy tailoring the exterior and the interior of a Chanel jacket are constructed of multiple panels. The number of panels and seams inside the jacket should be the same as on the outside. The sleeves have a slight natural curve and are made of two pieces of fabric to make it comfortable to move in and suitable for daily life. As Coco said: “I’m a great admirer of the female race. I wanted to give women clothes that they could feel comfortable in, that they could drive in but that, at the same time, would emphasize their femininity."
Because of the way they are constructed Chanel jackets can be easily sized up or down two sizes. Below the lining, at every seam there, is a bit of extra fabric that can be taken out to create more space if needed. The same goes for sizing the jacket down.
Coco Chanel was known for her use of tweed, a supple and sophisticated fabric, which she discovered through wearing the clothes of one of her lovers, the Duke of Westminster. Originally tweed was made of pure wool, but today it can be mixed with a variety of fibers like silk, cashmere or alpaca. The iconic tweed and bouclé are still often used by Chanel for its classic jackets, but they present jackets in other fabrics as well.
One of the most outstanding characteristics of a Chanel jacket are its buttons. These small pieces of jewelry adorn the jacket at multiple places.
Most of the time they are attached at center front for the jacket's fastening. Some jackets have a zip-closure or no fastening at all. If it does close with buttons, you will usually find three same-style buttons in a smaller version on the back of each sleeve. And when the jacket has pockets, a button will be attached to it.
The buttons will either show a CC-logo, the brandname, or another Chanel signature like a Camélia flower or a lion's head. Nowadays, Chanel works with buttons that match the theme of the collection. For the Seoul Collection, for instance, the buttons of the jacket referred to the Korean flag.
And as Mademoiselle would say: "Never a button without a buttonhole."
The trim (sometimes called braid) of a jacket makes you immediately understand if it is by Chanel or not. A Chanel jacket has a contrast or ton sur ton trim that follows the neckline, down the front and all around the pockets, cuffs and hemline.
Most Chanel jackets have four pockets, two breast pockets and two lower at the waist. These pockets were created for Mademoiselle’s own practical needs – one pocket to hold her lipstick, one for her scissors, one for her cigarettes etc. Sometimes a jacket will only have two pockets or none at all.
For Coco Chanel it was important that a jacket is as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside, therefore most Chanel jackets are lined with luxurious pure silk. The color of the lining should match the color of the jacket's exterior and it often features interlocking CC-logo's, a Camélia flower pattern and sometimes other Chanel signatures like pearls, depending on the jacket's production year. When the label of the jacket has been cut off (sadly this happens regularly), the lining will learn you more about the era it comes from. Jackets made in the '90s for instance, are only marked with a large amount of tiny CC-logo's in the lining. Also, it does happen that a jacket has no print in the lining or even no lining at all because it is a light-weight summer jacket, or its interior is made of a different fabric, like bouclé. So do not be alarmed when your jacket has a different interior.
To weigh the jacket down and make it hang perfectly straight around the body at all time, Coco Chanel added a chain to the jacket's interior at the hem. Up till today, almost all jackets feature a chain that colorwise matches the jacket's buttons. If the buttons show gold-tone details, then the chain will be gold as well. If the buttons are metal-colored, the chain will be in the same style.
A Chanel jacket will always have a Chanel brand label sewn into its interior at center top. Over the decades the labels have changed. Make sure to check from which year your jacket originates to see if it matches the label used by Chanel at that time.
Below the brand label, there should be a size and composition tag that contains other valuable information about the jacket. It will tell you where the jacket has been produced, that is almost always in France. Jackets made before 2010 will also show exactly the year and collection. Jackets from recent collections only contain the item's reference number. With this number you can contact the Chanel Boutique and they will be able to tell you from which collection the jacket is. Newer jackets will have another tag attached to the lining on the left side of the body. The information on this tag should correspond to the one in the neck.
With vintage jackets it often occurs that the size- and composition tag has been cut off. the tags on these older models used to be quite big and to make wearing the jacket more comfortable, their owners used to take them off.
As for the sizing on the label: Chanel works with European sizes. So it should mention a size in numbers, like 34-46 and not XS-XL.
Disclaimer: some Chanel jackets will lack one or more of the mentioned features. That does not mean a jacket is not authentic. On the other hand, there are many counterfeit jackets on the market that look like authentic jackets. We do not guarantee, although a jacket has all the features that we described above, it is 100% authentic, as long as we did not check the item ourselves. The products for sale on this website have not been verified or authenticated by Chanel S.A.