The Hermes Bolide

Cheers from Kyoto! Today, I wanted decided to share with you one of the bags I brought on our trip to Japan – the Hermes Bolide. The Bolide has a long history but I’ll give you the short one- it was first created in 1922 for the wife of Hermes’s owner Emilie-Maurice Hermès, who at the time, wanted a bag to carry in a new invention at the time – a car! The Bolide  was thus was given the name “Bugatti” at the time, and was also the first bag to ever incorporate a zipper.

Since the Bolide design is nearly ~100 years old, I rarely paid attention to the design at first, thinking that it was probably too “old”. Then, the bag started creeping up on me. I saw it in fresh, fun new colors and loved the relaxed look it had when in a softer leather. I tried a few Bolides on in stores and realized that the design was very practical, and great for both work and play.

Finally, I took the plunge and the Bolide is now one of my favorite bags ever. So comfortable, chic and easy to carry – and totally under the radar. I love my Birkins and Kelly but sometimes those bags attract too much attention (thank you, Kardashians). Plus, since the Bolide is underrated (in my opinion), it’s possible to find good deals on the gently used resale market. I found my little black Bolide this way at a nice price, and with some advice from Doc, touched it up a bit to looking almost-as-good-as-new. However, I would definitely vote this bag full Hermes price worthy (I’m contemplating special ordering a colorful combo in the future!)

Here are some photos of the bag being worn by me – both on the shoulder using the detachable strap…

And handheld, below. The two straps of the Bolide make the bag quite easy to carry (honestly easier than the Kelly) and plus the straps are thinner and softer than the Birkin’s. I find the Bolide quite easy to hand carry (and I’m a shoulder strap lover)!


And one more of me, wearing the Bolide with a more formal outfit (it’s very versatile for both formal and casual!).

Finally, here are some of the images that inspired me to take the Bolide plunge. Also – I just realized on my trip that the Bolide is everywhere in Tokyo! Very popular for a every day bag that still looks professional. The Bolide is also the Hermes bag I usually see the most on locals in Paris.

via The Sartorialist

Aerin Lauder with her black Bolide

Maggie Rizer with a red Bolide

Christine Lagarde with her red personalized Bolide – that’s what the round oval is for!

Carla Bruni with her black Bolide, walking away

Beautiful Japanese lady with a 27cm Bolide

PS: If the Bolide is a bit out of budget right now, my second favorite similar bag is also a classic at a fraction of the price – the Le Pliage Cuir by Longchamp (under $550).

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  • adele
    May 18, 2012 at 9:04 am

    This is definitely a timeless classic…love!
    Katherine would you vote for me in the Cosmo Blog Awards 2012 for Best Lifestyle Blog (link on my blog)? Your support would mean a lot to me 🙂
    Have a fab weekend xoxo

  • couturecoco
    May 18, 2012 at 9:10 am

    GREAT choice! Love the history! That’s how I felt about the Lindy. I already have a vintage Ferragamo that’s the same shape but don’t use it enough. Enjoy your Bolide, she looks super!

    • Glenda
      January 20, 2013 at 6:31 am

      I, too, have a black vintage Ferragamo of same shape: I adore it, care for it well, and carry it almost daily for day in winter. The leather is “firmer” than the Bolide, so it has a slightly more tailored & slightly more dressy feel to it, just my style. I adore the Kelly, but right now it does attract attention I’m not comfortable with…I’m hoping that this will blow over in the next couple of years.

      • Katherine
        January 20, 2013 at 2:03 pm

        Hi Glenda, the Ferragamo sounds lovely. The Bolide is one of my favorite bags because of the shape, it’s so easy and “natural” to carry!

  • Tabitha
    May 18, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Can I be you in my next life?

  • alice
    May 18, 2012 at 9:59 am

    What a beaut!! I love that it’s so practical. Sigh… someday.

  • Beau
    May 18, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Katherine, the bag looks great on you! What is the name for this leather finish? It looks durable/practical. What are the bag’s dimensions and what is your height? I’m petite 5.3″ and would like to invest in just one Hermes bag and use it often. Which style, leather/hardware type and size would you advise? Thank you.

    • Katherine
      May 19, 2012 at 2:41 am

      Thank you! It is clemence which is very practical – I’m not too sure on the dimensions exactly but it is the “31cm” size. I’d suggest for a more casual look to get a Bolide in either 31/35cm depending on how much you usually fit in…and in a casual leather like clemence or fjord. Hope that helps!

  • englishvers
    May 18, 2012 at 10:29 am

    I enjoyed reading the history of the Bolide as I’m a huge fan of antique bags.

  • New Petite
    May 18, 2012 at 10:37 am

    it is such a classy bag! Love it!

  • alison*elle
    May 18, 2012 at 10:44 am

    It’s such a classy and just screams understated elegance to me. Seems super practical in the black but I do like some of those other colour combos too!

    xo, alison*elle

  • tracy
    May 18, 2012 at 11:12 am

    You look darling. I love your bag and striped top.

    Sunny Days and Starry Nights

  • laura
    May 18, 2012 at 11:18 am

    i adore this bag! so so gorgeous!

  • Lisa
    May 18, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Thank you for this post…especially about the history. I recently got one for my first H purse bc of how practical/classic it is and also bc the wait for a Birkin could be years at this point. 🙂

  • Atiqa
    May 18, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Love it! My sister is ‘in the market’ for a new Hermes, so I should suggest this one to her.

  • Girlie Blogger
    May 18, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Love purses that are versatile. This is great.

  • prettymeggy
    May 18, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    i’ve been wanting to own one of this but then for some reason never bought. now you just changed my mind!
    you look great with it and love the stripes 🙂

    enjoy there and take care.
    xoxo, Haus of Gala

  • Beautygirl24
    May 18, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    I love it! The size is great, not too big nor too small. I think it’s my favorite Hermes bag!

  • Christine
    May 18, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    Oh! I went to japan 3 years ago with my papa! I like the last picture so much! so cute! ^_^

    We should follow each other via bloglovin, check out my blog and let me know what you think!

    God bless always!

  • Catherine
    May 18, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    I hope you’re having a great time in Kyoto. I lived there fore four years in my childhood, and went back for a visit three years ago. I am desperate to go back again. The city is full of cultural quirkiness and charm. Be sure to bow to everyone you see, and try their local curry. 😉

  • Anonymous
    May 18, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    Is yours 31cm?

    • Katherine
      May 19, 2012 at 2:40 am

      Yes…I should have included that, apologies – 31cm

  • audrinajulia
    May 19, 2012 at 4:37 am

    Great to know more info from your aside from Hermes Birkin and Kelly.Love the story behind it and the Bolide as I seen here is such a beauty. Great plunge!

  • Caise
    May 19, 2012 at 4:57 am

    love this bag!

  • Aesthetic Alterations
    May 19, 2012 at 6:05 am

    Beautiful Bolide, Katherine! I agree–it’s one of the best bags Hermès makes, so comfortable, so under the radar, so easy to use. Mine made me rethink the plan of getting a second Kelly–the Bolide is just more practical and (gasp) sports a more restrained, elegant profile. This 31cm mou version seems to fit your style and size perfectly (I’m more of a “rigide” gal!). Do tell–what color combos are you weighing for your SO? 😉

    • Katherine
      May 21, 2012 at 4:57 pm

      I really really want a Iris Fjord model! How does that sound? My SA was very sweet and said she was happy to hear that someone wanted to special order something other than a Birkin!

  • IPing
    May 19, 2012 at 7:58 am

    Hi Kat, gorgeous bag! One thing you might also want to think about is ordering a short nylon strap from H. I managed to get one of those for my red bolide. It fits just about above hip height and makes the Bolide just so wonderful to shoulder carry around all day. I also have a long strap for my black Bolide to wear cross body but the short strap is just so versatile and adds a new look to the bag.

  • chocolatecookiesandcandies
    May 19, 2012 at 8:27 am

    Totally agree that Bolide is completely under-rated and under the radar bag. Most don’t even know what it is which is great! I had the same black Bolide 31cm but sold it because I couldn’t fit my camera into it. Silly, I know. I’ll probably regret the sale in years to come seeing that the price keeps increasing.

  • latkesanddimsum
    May 19, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Perfect size – the Bolide looks wonderful on you. Congratulations on a great find!

  • Nelah
    May 19, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    For a design that has been around for nearly 100 years and is still going strong, it proves that it is truly classic and stands through the test of time. Very very impressive. Look like it is a great every day bag choice. One of the H bags I have been lusting to get is a toolbox in orange, I personally love it. Perhaps my dream will come true one day sooner or later.

  • Sarah
    May 20, 2012 at 1:29 am

    What a great bag, it’s so classic! Thanks for sharing!

  • kaloka
    May 20, 2012 at 3:35 am

    I think the Bolide is more functional while the Birkin or Kelly are both iconic. I agree, you must get the colorful ones.


  • Tasmin
    May 20, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Thanks Katherine. I was searching for a new handbag. I agree with you that Birkins and Kellys attracting attention. This is on my list. The Corso Como shoes are being shipped by Bloomingdales. Thanks, again.

  • Urban Jungle Fashion
    May 20, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    What a beautiful bag! I’m glad you took the plunge!

  • phiphis blog
    May 21, 2012 at 6:13 am

    this is stunning! i know what you mean about the bolide. it’s one of those bags that just has a gorgeous classic aesthetic. may i ask which size you’re carrying? xox P

    • Katherine
      May 21, 2012 at 4:55 pm

      31 cm 🙂

      • phiphis blog
        May 27, 2012 at 6:17 am

        *dreams of a 31 cm* thanks hun! i realized i should have read your replies to other comments. sorry for that!! xox P

  • Kathy
    May 22, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    Beautiful bag! Thank you for doing a review on it! I’ve been trying really hard to find the perfect handbag/shoulder bag that can be used casually and professionally. This is totally the perfect bag that meets my criteria. Best part is that it is zippered!! How much does this beauty go for?


  • Lucy
    May 30, 2012 at 9:26 am

    Congratulations, Katherine! It is a classic beauty, and one of those almost under-the-radar Hermes bags that collectors should have. Are you going to put a monogram on the oval?

  • Black Accessories » Feather Factor | Feather Factor
    September 21, 2012 at 6:59 am

    […] I found my Bolide, I finally felt like I had completed my “must have” black accessories – bag, […]

  • Rina
    April 1, 2013 at 9:00 am


    You mind telling your height. Am looking to buy a bolide but unsure to get which size. What can you fit inside you 31 bolide? Does it fit an Ipad? Thanks!

  • kelly
    July 10, 2013 at 7:31 am

    I own a 1991 vintage bolide37. I notice my strap is a lot shorter. Was it becoz the older bags has shorter strap compared to the newer ones? Do you know anthing about it? Thanks.

    • Katherine
      July 10, 2013 at 9:24 am

      This might be true – unfortunately I probably am not the best resource on that..I would honestly love a shorter strap on my Bolide, enjoy yours!

  • Emma
    November 24, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    What size is this Bolide? Is it the 31cm? I’d love a Bolide but I’m betwixt and between on sizes. Love to hear what you chose for yourself.
    Thank you

    • Katherine
      November 25, 2013 at 12:59 am

      31 – hope that helps!

  • The Hermes Bolide – Size Comparison, 31 and 35 | Feather Factor
    March 20, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    […] top marks to the Kelly for beauty), and easy to use. My own bag was a little black version (see the review here) with silver hardware in the 31cm size – and I loved […]

  • Kyan
    June 13, 2014 at 7:10 am

    I recently bought a Hermes Bolide on ebay but I am not sure if it’s real since the zipper is different from others I saw online. Any way to authenticate?

    • Katherine
      June 13, 2014 at 9:39 am

      I would try purseforum or bababebi:

      • Anonymous
        June 13, 2014 at 9:41 am

        Thank you so much for your advise. Really appreciate it.

  • Linda
    October 23, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    Hermes bolide is the epitome of understated elegance. However is it still available in size 27 as worn by the japanese lady in kimono?

    • Katherine
      October 25, 2016 at 8:05 pm

      Yes it is, a bit harder to procure but still definitely available and being made by Hermes!