The two bags, the Hermès Kelly 25 and the Hermès Birkin 25, ooze elegance and class. Saying that, there are some subtle differences between the two. Buying a Hermès bag is a sound investment, so you don’t want to regret it by purchasing a bag you can’t wear with your current wardrobe. After all, the Hermès Kelly and the Hermès Birkin are two bags that require two very different styles. We love both of them, but keep reading to find out more about the two bags and determine a winner.
The history of both bags: Kelly and Birkin
Before making a judgement as to which bag is going to win this battle, it’s essential to get to grips with the history behind both of these investment pieces. Hermès as a brand itself actually has an extensive history too, dating back to 1837 when Thierry Hermès founded the company. Hermès began as a harness shop in Paris, serving individuals who needed quality bridles, saddles and harnesses for their horses and ponies. So, let’s dive in deeper and find out a bit more about each of the two main bags here – the Kelly and the Birkin.
The Hermès Kelly bag was around before Grace Kelly but found its extreme popularity when the then princess wore it. The Princess used the Hermès Kelly handbag to conceal her pregnant stomach from the public, and Hermès re-named the bag due to so many ladies requesting ‘the Grace Kelly bag’. The Kelly bags themselves are roughly based upon a bag that was made in 1892 for the purpose of holding a saddle inside of it.
Hermès Birkin’s namesake also comes from an actor, Jane Birkin. Allegedly, as the story goes, the chief executive of Hermès at the time, Jean Louis-Dumas sat next to the actress on a flight from Paris to London. On this flight, the handle from Jane Birkin’s bag split, which meant that the entire contents of her bag spilt everywhere. This then prompted a discussion about the ideal bag, and how it should look stylish and stay closed at all times. The original design of the Hermès Birkin handbag was drawn onto the back of an aeroplane sick bag. As glamorous as it sounds, it’s true.
What are the differences between the two bags?
As we’ve just discussed, the history of the two bags makes them different. However, there are some other significant differences that you should know about. First, the Kelly bag has one handle on the top of it and also has a shoulder strap. You’ll notice that the Birkin has two top handles and no shoulder strap, regardless of what size you choose to purchase. If you’re someone who likes to wear a bag on your shoulder, rather than on the crook of your arm, then the Kelly is most definitely the option for you.
The locking system is also different on the two bags. The design of the Kelly bag means that the flap has to be closed to avoid adding any strain to the handle. Because of the Birkin bags’ more casual style, the bag is most often worn with the lock undone. The Kelly bag also comes with hooks on the top handle to attach the cross body strap it comes with, leaving hands free.
What are the similarities between the Hermès Kelly and Birkin?
Although there are some differences between the two bags, there are also a lot of similarities too. Both the Kelly and the Birkin bags are two staple Hermès accessories and are both extremely popular in the market today. They are both bags that are named after celebrities, which we touched on earlier, and are both known for their value as a great investment piece. They make for a great investment because of their exclusivity, which means the Birkin and Kelly both perform well on the second-hand market. Both bags come in Retourne or Sellier style, Retourne has the piping on the outside and Sellier has the topstitching.
Which bag is more formal?
Looking back into the history of both of these bags will give us the answer to this question. One bag was created for a Princess, in order to hide her pregnant belly from the paparazzi. The other was created on an aeroplane as an everyday bag that will hold essentials and remain closed. Out of the two bags, the Birkin bag is definitely the more casual out of the two and is ideal for everyday life and the Kelly works perfectly for occasional use. However, the Sellier version of both designs is more formal while the Retourne is more casual.
Is the Birkin bag more expensive than the Kelly handbag?
The Kelly and Birkin bags will both set you back a small fortune. The Birkin handbag does tend to be a little bit more expensive than a Kelly bag. This does depend on a lot of factors, like the leather, colour, hardware and the year of production of the bag. The great thing about either of these bags is that they are both solid investments.
Are Hermès bags worth the money?
Yes! Hermès bags are totally worth the money. The Birkin and Kelly bags both do extremely well on the pre-loved market. Unlike other luxury bags, buying a Hermès bag almost guarantees you an investment piece to potentially sell later or to add to your wardrobe. Time Magazine even suggested that buying a Hermès handbag is a better investment than gold, and that really does demonstrate the innate power of these two bags. Also, in terms of the quality you’re getting for your money, one Hermès bag can last you a lifetime.
The overall judgement
We love them both is a very democratic answer, but it’s true. However, there has to be one winner. Obviously, it all comes down to personal preference and what kind of bag you prefer to wear. Will it be the formal Kelly bag or the chic but practical Birkin? Well, the Birkin 25 bag has to take the crown here. This is because of its practical style and the fact that it can be either dressed up or dressed down. Even though the Birkin bag is still the more casual bag out of the two, if you wore the Birkin to a fancy event, you’re guaranteed to still have all of the eyes in the room on you. What is your favourite?