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This Is Your Ultimate Guide For Buying Your First Hermes Bag

This is your ultimate guide on how to buy Hermes bag.

What makes Hermès bags so special? 

Hermès bags are a labour of love and status. “The Hermès Bag is the best example of a heritage piece as it contains an emotional value, and this is why it is so loved,” says Sophie Hersan, co-founder of Vestiaire Collective. “These bags are treated with care and have durability, as people attach emotional value to the story behind how they obtained their Hermès bag.” 

The maison started life as a Paris harness workshop, established by Thierry Hermès in 1837. Its specialism shifted in the succeeding years and its very first handbag was unveiled in 1922. The Kelly’s predecessor, The Sac à Dépêches, was introduced by Hermès’s head of firm Émile-Maurice in 1935, who wanted to create a bag that met his wife’s needs. Renamed the Kelly in 1977 after Grace Kelly, the Hollywood starlet who became Princess Grace of Monaco, it has since become a fashion classic. The Constance arrived in 1969, and the Birkin several years later in 1986.

The most popular style of the Hermes bag is the birkin and the kelly.

Hermes Birkin Bag

The Hermes Birkin bag comes in various sizes but the most popular sizes are 25cm, 30cm and 35cm.

Buy It Now

SHOP: Hermes 25cm orange togo leather birkin, £11,789

SHOP: Hermes 35cm dark purple birkin, £6,700

SHOP: Hermes 30cm brown leather Birkin, £12,199

SHOP: Hermes 35cm black Birkin bag, £9,437

Hermes Kelly Bag

The Kelly Sellier vs. Kelly Retourne debate is a tale as old as time. While both styles have die-hard fans, we believe both are wonderful additions to any wardrobe. When it comes to similarities, both the Kelly Sellier vs. Retourne come with detachable shoulder straps that allow for hands-free carry. They both take anywhere form 18-24+ hours to make and are crafted by one single artisan. Now let’s dig a little more into what makes these two styles different.

The Sellier Kelly bag

Sellier means “Saddler,”  and this was the first style to be designed and made popular by Princess Grace Kelly.

Visually, the Sellier has a more structured look, with many people saying this is the more formal handbag of the two. Because of its craftsmanship, the Kelly Sellier has a higher cost than the Retourne.

You can differentiate a Sellier from its counterpart by the sharp edges and visible stitching.  Although the edges make this style appears larger, its lack of flexibility actually fits less than the Kelly Retourne. To achieve this rigid appearance, Hermes uses harder leathers to craft the Kelly Sellier, such as Epsom or Box.

This is what a Sellier Hermes Kelly bag looks like:

The Retourne Kelly Bag

Technically, all Kelly bags start off at Sellier, but for Retourne bags, the artisan will turn the bag inside out. Hence the name, which literally means “reversed.” This is why this Kelly doesn’t have visible stitching, but piping instead, just like the Hermes Birkin. This style of bag is also referred to as “Souple.”

This supple look gives the Kelly Retourne a more casual feel. This sloucher style of Kelly is made from softer leathers, like Chevre, Togo or Clemence. Because of this, Kelly Retourne bags can sag over time, especially if overloaded.

Buy It Now

SHOP: Hermes 35cm dark purple Kelly, £11,500

Where can I buy an Hermès bag?

“I highly recommend purchasing a vintage piece from a reputable source,” notes Koffsky, who deals with Hermès pieces on a regular basis. Auction houses are a good place to start for those seeking rarer models, with the likes of Vestiaire Collective1stDibsHardly Ever Worn It and Collector Square all major players in the luxury resale market. 


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