The Luxury List is a monthly column on all things luxury, tapping the foremost experts in the fashion space to explore everything from craftsmanship deep dives to the little-known details to consider when buying fine jewelry.
I always have my eye out for the latest It-bags to hit the market and the buzzy new bag brands to share on Who What Wear. Taking a look at the outfits of fashion insiders recently, though, I’ve noticed a rise in the popularity of two iconic bags: the Hermès Birkin and Kelly. The holy grail of accessories, Hermès bags are famous for their celebrity following, exquisite craftsmanship, expensive price tags, and long waitlists—and it’s undeniable that they are one of the most coveted bags ever designed. So, why are they suddenly everywhere?
Though I had a hunch Hermès bags were becoming more popular, it turns out that data from retailers backs this up. According to retailer Moda Operandi, the average price spent on handbags in 2020 was up dramatically, with year-over-year increases of 67%. This rise in investment bag purchases was also mirrored on The RealReal, where handbags priced over $1,000 increased by 43% during November and December of 2020 during the holiday shopping season. These figures include the Hermès Kelly bag, which rose in sales by 59% during this period. Similarly, Rebag has seen growth in the area with a 20% increase in demand for Hermès bags year over year.
Overall, this points to a new way that people are shopping—fewer purchases, but a focus on quality and special investment pieces that will remain in their closets forever. Even slightly used vintage versions are still a substantial purchase, but you can rest assured knowing that they're a sound investment—Birkins are expected to double in value in the next 10 years. Interested in seeing more? Ahead, we're diving into the best Hermès bag styles and how fashion insiders are wearing them.
Hermès Birkin Bags
Easily one of the most iconic bags in existence, the Hermès Birkin is the ultimate luxe tote, with a slightly slouchy shape that adds an element of cool to any outfit. Named after Jane Bikin, this bag was specially designed for the British actress after she mentioned that she couldn't find a bag suitable for her needs as a young mother. The original version was even finished with a space just for baby bottles.
Slightly more polished and sophisticated than the Birkin, the Kelly bag has a more structured silhouette and slightly more compact shape—making it a bit easier to transition from day to night. Originally called the "sac à dépêches", it was renamed after Grace Kelly when she was spotted using it to shield her baby bump from photographers.
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley was recently spotted wearing this stunning Kelly bag.
I can't think of a cooler bag to pair with a sweatsuit.
Stick with a black bag and then add some cool pops of color.
Kelly bags are offered in a wide range of shapes, including this shrunken size.