Style

The Bag Which Is Not A Birkin

Sale PSA: A classic boxy cashmere turtleneck from Nordstrom (I love the lines on this, looks like it’s from somewhere like The Row), now 40% off, truly excellent buckled leather pumps from Laurence Dacade, now 60% off (I really want these despite some resistance from my husband), an easy zipped heeled bootie with comfortable walking lug sole from Caslon, now just $65, and a gorgeous oxford checked trench coat from J.Crew, now under $150 (final sale!). 

For five years running now, my #1 most asked about topic on this blog remains the Hermes Birkin bag (though as the years have gone on, the Kelly has shot up quite a bit). I think the Birkin is a great bag, and I’ll never be one of those people who is soooooo over them just because the bag is so popular and ubiquitous now, that have to make the point that they liked them before they were popular, unlike say, you, basically insinuating that you’re a nouveau peasant. The Birkin is fabulous. That being said, I do think that there should be a little more love paid to a few bags Hermes makes  which aren’t as popular…I’m an equal opportunity bag enjoyer! Here are some of my favorite Hermes bags which aren’t Birkins (or Kellys).

1. The Plume. The Plume is one of my favorite under the radar Hermes bags. You could carry this anywhere and barely anyone would know what it was. It’s a fabulous, classic bag with clean lines that will stand the test of time. A bonus is the light weight (it really is light as a feather, plume = feather), and the rolled handles, which feel so comfortable on the arm. The prices on these on the resale market are fantastic, too. You can get a gorgeous Plume – one which retails for $7K or above and which will garner you compliments from every staffer in the Hermes shop – for a little more than $1K or so.  If I weren’t neck deep in mommy world with no line of sight to handheld bags, I’d be adding one or two more to my wardrobe, pronto.

PS: One time I happened to meet a member of Hermes executive management, who told me that Plume was his favorite bag, in box calf. I wanted to seem very cool so I used up my one minute with him to tell him all about how I have a Plume, but I think I really should have used that time to beg for some kind of outrageous special order.

2. The Soie Cool. This bag isn’t very popular, but I really can’t understand why. It’s amazing! Full price is a little over $2K and you will smile every time you wear it. I do have to admit I’m the sort of person who is always drawn to the trendy, seasonal bags – which is why I try to stay away from the Chanel handbag section as much as possible – and then who ends up regretting it and wishing I had bought a classic. But I never feel that way with the Soie Cool. Plus I have fabulous memories associated with it of a particular trip to Paris. My original review is here.

3. The Bolide. I’m not sure if this counts as underrated but I haven’t seen it pop up much lately, and rumor is that the US has been receiving barely any of the 35 size, so why not give this one some love? I recently fell back in love with the Bolide, as I just wrote about last month. It’s the most practical of the three bags I listed and has something the other two don’t – a shoulder strap. Also can be had for quite good prices on the resale market (but not as good as the Plume). You can also see my review here.

By the way – in Japan, I see elegant ladies wearing Bolides way more often than both Birkins and Kellys! I was told they prefer the understated tone of the bag, and its practicality.

Any other bags you think are underrated out there (Hermes or not)? I’d love to hear!

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  • Hui
    January 16, 2017 at 9:15 am

    Hi Katherine, I adore the Plume. Have you watched the Frenh movie called “merci pour le chocolat”. Isabelle Huppert carried a Plume of black box in that movie. It is just very beautiful and class. If you have not watched the movie, I would highly recommend it. You will like it. It was shot in the villa previously owned by David Bowie in Switzerland. The movie was directed by Claude Chabrol. You have several famous French actors in it including Anna Mouglalis (the previous muse of Lagerfeld) at her very beginning.

    • Katherine
      January 19, 2017 at 8:12 am

      No but I just looked it up, it looks fabulous! Love Isabelle (and so glad she got recognition at the GG this year).

  • jen
    January 16, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    love, love my double sens! also a great mommy/all purpose receptacle!

    • Katherine
      January 19, 2017 at 8:12 am

      I need to try this bag! I’ve heard wonderful things.

  • Sybil Lee
    January 16, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    I recently made a revelation: I am a tote girl (for my everyday bag). I would love, love to own a Garden Party. It’s been on my wish list for a while. I am partial to the black and blue that you own.

    • Katherine
      January 19, 2017 at 8:13 am

      I love the GP! The canvas ones are light, better for mommy 🙂

  • sherry @ save. spend. splurge.
    January 16, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    I myself am over the Birkin as being an amazing bag.

    It’s a nice bag in principle, yes, but it being “A BIRKIN” does nothing for me.

    The bag I do like is the Bolide! It looks very simple and more practical than a clasp in front you have to fiddle with…

  • Vivian
    January 16, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    I actually like Roulis …. it got that perfect balance of style and practicality.

    • Katherine
      January 19, 2017 at 8:13 am

      The Roulis completely slipped my mind, you are right, this bag is fabulous!

  • Sarah
    January 18, 2017 at 5:08 am

    Love the plume too. Are you a 32, a 28 or a mini kind of plume lover?

    • Katherine
      January 19, 2017 at 8:13 am

      I’m a 28 gal! I love the Elan too but I wish it had feet.

      • Wendy
        January 24, 2017 at 1:06 am

        I think 28 is perfect! That’s about 11 inches?

  • Tracy
    January 18, 2017 at 7:56 am

    Plumes for ~$1k?! Where are they? Please point me to the way! 🙂 (No seriously, I’ve only seen them nearer the $2k mark.)

    • Katherine
      January 19, 2017 at 8:14 am

      Check sites like Fashionphile (there is one right now for under $1K)

    • Wendy
      January 24, 2017 at 1:07 am

      I think there would be a stampede if they were 1k for a decent size!
      I’d be there too!

  • ella
    January 18, 2017 at 10:50 am

    The Trim! I know you have written about it before, but to my mind the Trim is the ultimate underrated Hermes bag, and I desperately wish Hermes would bring it back. The 35 Trim is the perfect size; it weighs nothing, holds a ton, and looks great with everything from jeans to dresses. I have three and would buy more if they weren’t getting so hard to find! (I actually am not sure I would love a Plume – the shape is lovely but are the zippers annoying? I find my Victoria totally irritating to get things in and out of.) As to the fancier bags, while we are on the subject: my 35 Birkin is so heavy I am considering selling it, and my Constance falls off my shoulder and the clasp is very sharp. I know I sound like Goldilocks – but bring back the Trim!

    • Jane
      January 18, 2017 at 12:06 pm

      I LOVE the Trim!

    • Katherine
      January 19, 2017 at 8:14 am

      Another bag which completely slipped my mind. I love the Trim!! Yes I’d love to get another Trim!

  • Jane
    January 18, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Thank you for this post! I collect all different Hermes bags — but never a Birkin or Kelly! Most often, I use an Evelyne when I’m on the run as a mom. However, my top favorites for shopping and walking around are the Trim and the Market bag. Both are very light and hold so much! I also love my vintage Bolide and Rugby.

    • Katherine
      January 19, 2017 at 8:15 am

      The Market! I need to try this one!

      • Jane
        January 20, 2017 at 11:31 am

        I love a bucket bag! They’re also very reasonable on the re-sale market. And, I think my Hermes market bag can also be worn cross body by lengthening the strap. I haven’t worn it that way, but I might try it out.

    • Ella
      January 21, 2017 at 7:32 pm

      My very lovely Madison Ave SA told me that the Trim was discontinued, and will not be returned, because the H powers that be are annoyed that Gucci copied the style and claimed (incorrectly) that Jackie O wore the Gucci version. Who knows, but it sounded plausible to me!

      • Katherine
        January 21, 2017 at 8:16 pm

        With Hermes you never know…but I think that is a very silly reason to discontinue a great bag!

  • Jane K
    January 18, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    I love traveling with my Halzan. It can be worn so many different ways (messenger, shoulder, tote, and clutch) that it is perfect to take on trips without taking up much room in my luggage. It is definitely an underrated Hermes bag. Only people who can recognize Hermes workmanship would be able to tell it’s a Hermes. If I want it to look more recognizable then I just dress it up with a cute little twilly or hang a rodeo charm on it.

    • Katherine
      January 19, 2017 at 8:15 am

      Halzan is on my list, I am debating between the full size and the mini. I adore this bag.

    • Jane
      January 20, 2017 at 11:32 am

      I love this bag! I might try the mini one day — it’s so versatile.

  • Jo
    January 18, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    Your Plume is gorgeous! Is that box? I love my Bolides and they get way more use than my other H bags!

    • Katherine
      January 19, 2017 at 8:15 am

      Yes it is box!

  • periogirl28
    January 20, 2017 at 9:59 am

    Hi Kat, like you I love my Plumes, Bolide and especially my Roulis. Box is a favourite leather and yours is perfection. Btw I don’t think getting a Special Commande is that tough. Let me know if you are interested. 😉

  • Sonita
    January 21, 2017 at 10:46 am

    The Roulis, Kat! And I knew it because of you! 🙂 I use them all the time for casual dinner night outs.

    • Katherine
      January 21, 2017 at 8:17 pm

      I am honored! I am sure you wear yours very well!

  • wendy
    January 21, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    I love the Plume, but i would need a detachable shoulder strap. I really like the Garden Party if it came with a shoulder strap too!

  • Lena
    January 25, 2017 at 11:13 am

    I love the Lindy and the Jypsiere. I really want a pink one of each.

    The Birkin and Kalyn have never been one of my favorites. But, if I were to get one, it would have to be the 25.

    • Lena
      January 25, 2017 at 11:13 am

      I meant Kelly.

  • Kay
    January 26, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    Which would be better for a mom who doesn’t carry a ton, but needs room for a few diapers and baby things?
    Trim or Bolide? I like both of these, but which is easier?
    Thank you!

    • Katherine
      January 27, 2017 at 7:41 am

      Ooh this is tough. Trim is probably a little easier due to the shape and you can easily carry it under your arm. But Bolide is also an excellent option. I’d recommend trying on a Bolide in store and seeing what you think.

  • Tracy
    February 7, 2017 at 8:36 am

    I like Marwari which is understated tone of bag, I don’t think people recognise it as H handbag =)

    • Katherine
      February 8, 2017 at 8:52 am

      Another discontinued treasure!