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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.

A red Birkin 35 Epsom in Bougainvillier via SACLÀB

This Hermès Birkin 35 Epsom Bougainvillier is an everyday statement bag, available via SACLÀB.

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 Overview Saclab Pinterest Google

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 from Colourful Noir with her black Birkin 25

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 Leathers Overview: Togo, Clemence & Epsom

Low-maintenance choices for your first Hermès Birkin investment: (1) Togo leather, shown in Beton, (2) Clemence leather, shown in Ultraviolet, and (3) Epsom leather, shown in Graphite.

Colours

Hermès has an exemplary portfolio of different shades and nuances. Spring/Summer 2020’s palette, for instance, offers a range of delightful sorbet hues like Vert Criquet, Bleu Brume, and Lime. For Autumn 2020, the French couturier has introduced warm shades of pink and coral, Rose Mexico and Rose Texas, among others. 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 Neutral Colours Overview: Black, Etoupe & Etain

Versatile neutrals for your first Birkin Bag: (1) Black, (2) Etain, and (3) Etoupe, all 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 people who don’t have the resources, patience, or budget to shop in store to opt for a pre-loved model?

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. 

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. 

A pre-loved Hermès Birkin 25 Swift Anemone on SACLÀB

Get your own ‘Baby Birkin’ and shop this chic Hermès Birkin 25 Swift Anemone on SACLÀB.

Hermès Birkin 35 Togo Bougainvillier Handbag SACLÀB

Crafted from embossed Epsom leather, this Hermès Birkin 35 is coloured in Bougainvillier, a beautiful crimson shade.

Hermès Birkin 30 Porosus Crocodile Black Exotic Luxury Bag

Wish to start your collection with an ultra-precious piece? This Hermès Birkin 30 Porosus Crocodile Black is an exotic collectible.

Searching for the colour-size-leather-composition of your dreams to start your collection? Reach out today and our consultants will track it down for you!


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