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Published on Oct 26, 2022

Several vintage Chanel jackets

Pictured: vintage Chanel jackets.

Vintage Chanel jackets are timeless, you know one when you see one. There’s no doubt that these jackets are both rare and expensive. If you are lucky enough to inherit one, or find one in a resale consignment store, take good care of it because they appreciate in value with time.

Counterfeit jackets and wannabes are everywhere now, and that means that you should know how to authenticate a real Chanel jacket. So, regardless of whether you’re a Chanelista looking for an authentic vintage Chanel tweed, or a family member trying to decide the value of an heirloom, this guide is for you.

Here are the simple six steps that you should follow when authenticating a Chanel jacket:

1. Check the Fabric 

The first thing you’ll want to do when it comes to vintage Chanel jackets is to check the material.


The most coveted material in vintage Chanel jackets is tweed - a sophisticated fabric that is made of pure wool, but can be mixed with a variety of other fabrics such as silk and cashmere


There are several different types of tweed that are known in the world of Chanel. Please reference images below to compare your tweed fabric.


Fantasy Tweed. Chanel fantasy tweed is a special tweed that is made of different colors and yarn types. It is the favored type of tweed for Chanel clothing, and is often incredibly bespoke and unique, with the different colors and yarns woven together into a single cohesive structure. 

Lesage Tweed. Lesage tweed is made specifically at the hands of Chanel, and is one of the most expensive and luxurious types of tweed in the world. The term “lesage” references the name of one of the design houses that Chanel uses. There are other types of tweed, of course, and it is important to recognize all of them to get the best results.


Harris Tweed. Harris tweed is the original tweed that inspired most modern tweed fabrics. It is a legally-protected type of tweed, as laid out in the Harris Tweed Act 1993. According to the Harris Tweed Act, it is defined as “handwoven by the islanders at their homes in the Outer Hebrides, finished in the Outer Hebrides, and made from pure virgin wool dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides.”


Donegal Tweed. This tweed is named after the Donegal county in Ireland where it originally came from. It is a very popular type of tweed which is characterized by rainbow-colored yarn specks.


Saxony Tweed. Saxony tweed is made from merino sheep, which are originally from Saxony in Germany. The tweed itself is nice and smooth, and quite soft, because Merino wool is soft and smooth. 


Boucle Tweed. Boucle tweed is made from a looped yarn, and the fabric is then woven from that yarn. Boucle yarn features loops of different sizes, from big curls to small circlets.

Types of Chanel tweeds: Fantasy, Boucle and Lesage

Pictured: Fantasy, Boucle and Lesage tweed types by Chanel. Zoom in to see detail on a mobile device.

2. Look at the Buttons

Buttons on Chanel tweed jackets

Pictured: examples of buttons on Chanel jackets.

The way to spot authentic vintage Chanel buttons is often through the stamping on the back. Buttons are frequently replicated and look very similar to the original ones. 


The counterfeit buttons are often made from a cheaper material, have a more obvious stamping, and will be lighter in weight. 


Authentic Chanel buttons are high quality and usually have themes. Sometimes buttons are so elaborate that they resemble Chanel costume jewelry.  For example, Coco Chanel was partial to gilt buttons that were adorned with either chains, stars, pearls, a double “C”, the Sun or the head of a lion to reflect her astrological star sign of Leo. 


Modern interpretations continue to use certain iconic designs such as clover leaves, ears of wheat, and even the face of Coco Chanel herself.

3. Inspect the Lining

Chanel puts a big emphasis on tweed jackets being as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside. For this reason, an authentic vintage Chanel jackets are most often lined with pure silk.


This luxurious and expensive material is a key characteristic of Chanel jackets, and the color of the lining should often match the exterior color of the jacket. It may also have features like the interlocking CC logo, camellia flower pattern, and sometimes other signature Chanel trademarks like pearls, but this will depend upon the production year of the jacket.


The lining of your Chanel tweed jacket will tell you quite a lot about it, particularly if there is no information available with a label, if it has been cut off. The specific era the jacket comes from will be evident by the lining itself. Jackets that were made in the 1990s have an abundance of CC logos.


Chanel jackets made for the summer time may not have any lining so that the jacket is more lightweight. This is important to consider when checking for authenticity

Linen interior lining of vintage Chanel jackets

Pictured: two sample Chanel jacket interior linings in linen.

4. Examine the Construction

The construction of a vintage Chanel jacket will be marked by a handful of key characteristics. The design philosophy of the brand has always been effortless movement and simple tailoring. For this reason, both the interior and exterior of Chanel jackets are made of multiple panels.

Chanel Haute Couture Fitted Jacket in Black

Pictured: CHANEL Haute Couture Tweed Swarovski Crystal Fitted Jacket

The number of panels that are on the inside, and the outside of the jacket should both be the same. The sleeves should have a slight natural curve to them, and they are made to be easy to move around in.

After all, Coco Chanel herself once 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." 


The bottom of a Chanel jacket often has a chain detail, which has been hand-sewn on. The color of this chain usually matches the hardware of the buttons that are used.

Interior of tweed Chanel jackets

Pictured: two examples of vintage Chanel jackets finished on the exterior with metal chains.

5. Analyze the Fringe

Every Chanel tweed jacket has some fringe element to it. All fringe accents are made custom by Chanel fringe weavers. This fringe is often a point of pride among Chanel jackets, because the quality is impossible to replicate. It has to come directly from the company itself to be at that level.


These types of jackets can have sequins and sparkles on the fringe, and in some cases, the signature chain of the house is what finishes the jacket altogether.

Tweed fringe on vintage Chanel jackets

Pictured: examples of Chanel tweed fringe finishing element.

6. Review the Labels

The great thing about a Chanel jacket is that you’ll always see the brand label sewn into it. It’ll be located in the interior, at the top, and in the center. These labels have changed over the years and you’ll need to match up the right label with the right year to see if your jacket is authentic or not.


Check the size and composition label just below the brand label. This will tell you where the jacket was made (usually in France) and other important information about it.


Something important to note is that any Chanel tweed jacket made before 2010 - which the bulk of vintage Chanel jackets will be - will show you the exact year and collection.


Newer jackets don’t do this - they only have a reference number which can be used at the Chanel boutique to find out what collection the jacket is from. What you will find, especially with newer jackets, is that the composition label is attached to the lining on the left-hand side.


However, it was common practice for the older jackets to have large labels, so they were taken off to make the jacket more comfortable to wear. This means that you might not have a label still, and that’s fine.

Labels on vintage Chanel jackets

Pictured: three examples of labels on authentic Chanel jackets.


There are quite a few ways to identify an authentic vintage Chanel jacket. They are popular with collectors and can fetch a lot of money in the resale market, but owing to the volume of knock-offs out there it is important to be able to spot the real one. 


Each Chanel Jacket is a very precise endeavor and if you look closely at the small details then you’ll be able to see that it can be difficult to mimic the intricacies. This is what gives these jackets their bespoke feel but also what helps you identify fakes.

To check Chanel jacket’s authenticity remember to:

1. Check the Fabric 

2. Look at the Buttons

3. Inspect the Lining

4. Examine the Construction 

5. Analyze the Fringe

6. Review the Labels

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