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First Time Purchase: The Hermès Birkin

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Investing in your very first Hermès Birkin is an unparalleled sartorial achievement - financially and style-wise. To find the perfect fit for you, we have asked blogger, YouTuber and Hermès-connoisseur Eileen from Colourful Noir for her advice on what to consider when choosing your first Birkin. Text by Leonie Görke

Here’s what you need to know 

A Birkin bag is an investment piece that holds up to its value. However, one might be spoilt for choice – from Hermès’ refined array of different leathers to the house’s impeccable colour palette. To guide you through your first Birkin bag investment, we have put together a comprehensive overview of decisions to take along the way. Following the motto “Work hard, spend smart”, Eileen believes in mindful luxury shopping and is here to share her personal experience and valued tips.

Hermès Birkin Bag in Red
A red Hermès Birkin bag, an everyday statement bag. Image: Imaxtree

Size

The Hermès Birkin comes in four different sizes – 25, 30, 35, and 40. Conveniently, each size indicates the model’s measurements. The Hermès Birkin 40, for instance, is the most voluminous version and measures 40cm in width. It offers enough space to pack for a weekend away, whereas the Birkin 30 is a much-coveted everyday option.

Hermès Birkin Sizes Saclab Pinterest Google
Hermès Birkin bag size comparison

You own an absolutely stunning Birkin 25. What were your thoughts behind choosing this size, and what should every future buyer keep in mind when selecting the right fit?

Eileen: Definitely lifestyle and personal needs! When I first looked into Birkins, the most popular size was 30. However, I always knew a size 30 would be too big for me seeing I really don’t carry a lot. So to be honest, I had always been very sure the size 25 would be the perfect choice for me. It’s big enough to carry all my essentials and it looks so very cute! When it comes to handbags sizes, it’s never a good idea to compromise. I am a firm believer of choosing my bags to fit my lifestyle, not the other way round.

Eileen Colouful Noir Hermès Birkin 25 Black Gold Hardware
Eileen with her ‘Baby Birkin’, a size 25 crafted from black Epsom leather. Picture via @colourful_noir.

Leathers 

Hermès offers an immaculate selection of leathers, from smooth vintage Barenia and resilient Epsom to very sensitive exotic skins. When choosing the right leather for your first Hermès Birkin, you should keep its susceptibility to damage and maintenance requirements in mind.

Which leather would you recommend for a first time Birkin purchase? 

E: At least for your first Birkin, I would recommend leathers which are a bit more durable to wear and tear. If you own a Birkin, chances are you’ll be using it for decades and might even pass it down as a family heirloom. So my advice will be to avoid very delicate leathers, such as box leather. My preferences include Togo and Epsom, both are very scratch resistant and worry free. The Clemence is a lovely leather as well, although it tends to look a bit more slouchy and can be more prone to water blisters. 

Hermès leather comparison
A solid investment: (1) Hermès Togo leather in Gold (2) Epsom leather in Gold (3) Clemence leather in Parchemin

Colours

Hermès has an exemplary portfolio of different shades and nuances. The 2022 Hermès colours, for instance, include a range of delightful pastel hues like Mauve Pale and Vert Fizz, alongside neutrals such as Gris Meyer and Chai. Apart from seasonal editions, everyday neutrals make long-term investment pieces. 

You chose rather neutral colours for your personal collection of Hermès bags. What would you advise a first-time buyer? 

E: I am a big neutral lover so I do tend to gravitate towards this colour palette for all my wardrobe elements. However, even if you’re not a neutral fanatic like me, I’ll still recommend a neutral colour for your first piece. Something like black, Etoupe and Etain really will go with absolutely everything, so you will certainly get the cost-per-wear way down. Secondly, even if you decide to not buy another Hermès bag (they are expensive after all), you’ve had all bases covered. 

Hermès Birkin Bag Colours - Etoupe vs. Etain
Hermès Birkin bag colours: (1) Etoupe and (2) Etain, both shown on Togo leather.

Buying a Birkin

As you may know, Birkins are not simply sold over the counter. Getting offered to purchase your first Birkin can take a lot of perseverance – and a lot of time. To track down the Birkin of your dreams, you should keep an eye on your preferred colour-, size-, and leather-combination on the resale market.

Would you recommend first-time buyers to shop their Birkin bag pre-loved?

E: Buying my Birkin from the Hermès store was a wonderful experience. However, a Birkin is rarely offered to a customer without purchase history. Personally, I love many things from Hermès, especially their rose gold jewellery, so that kind of works in my favour (not my wallet unfortunately). Regardless, I don’t recommend shopping at Hermès just to get a bag offer. Buy what you love instead, and if that comes with a bag offer, then it’s icing on the cake. 

Alternatively, buying from a reliable preloved or consignment website is a fantastic option. In fact, buying preloved often gives you more options in terms of leathers, colours and sizes. However, do be aware that Birkins on the second hand market can cost more than retail prices. This might be hard to swallow but a Birkin quite often will retain its value extremely well over the long run. 

Hermès Birkin 25 Swift Leather Rose Dragee
Hermès Birkin 25 Swift Rose Dragee

You have had your Birkin 25 for some time now – what are your thoughts on it, 1.5 years after purchasing it? Are you still happy with your decision? 

E: I’m still absolutely in love with my Birkin 25! The price was hefty but for me, it’s truly an investment piece. I’ve used it so much and I can see myself wearing it even in my 60s. In fact, even if I had to downsize my handbag collection today, I’d still keep the Birkin for sure. I’ve bought handbags from many luxury brands but to me, Hermès craftsmanship is truly second to none. When it comes to luxury handbags, quality triumphs quantity and less can certainly be more. 

Spend it, smart 

Now that you are fully prepared, snap up your first Hermès Birkin from our curated selection below. 

Searching for the perfect pre-owned Hermès bag? Reach out today and our consultants will track it down for you!


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