The Hermes Birkin vs. Hermes Kelly Bag: A Comprehensive Comparison

Are you considering buying a Hermes Birkin or Hermes Kelly bag but unsure which one to choose? In this comprehensive comparison, we will explore the design, functionality, and investment value of these iconic bags to help you make an informed decision. Discover the key factors to consider when looking to buy Hermes Kelly or Birkin, and unlock the secrets behind their enduring popularity and investment potential.

Design Comparison: Hermes Birkin vs. Hermes Kelly Bag

As of 2023, Hermes uses two distinct constructions used in the making of Hermes bags, including the Kelly and Birkin models. Here's an explanation of each construction which will impact how 


  1. Hermes Retourne Construction: The Retourne construction, also known as the "turn-back" construction, involves folding the leather inward during the bag's production process. This folding technique creates a softer, more relaxed shape with rounded edges. The leather is turned inside out, resulting in a smooth and seamless exterior appearance. The Retourne construction gives the bag a supple and slouchy feel. This construction method is often associated with a more casual and understated look, ideal for everyday use.


Black Hermès Birkin 25 Sellier and Retourne comparison
  1. Hermes Sellier Construction: The Sellier construction, also referred to as the "box" construction, involves a more rigid and structured approach. With this technique, the edges of the leather are folded outward, creating clean lines and visible exterior stitching along the edges. The Sellier construction maintains a boxy shape with defined angles and corners. The use of exterior stitching gives the bag a crisp and tailored appearance. The Sellier construction is often associated with a more formal and polished look, suitable for special occasions or professional settings.

Gold Hermès Kelly 25 Sellier and Kelly Retourne comparison

The choice between the Retourne and Sellier constructions depends on personal style preferences and the desired aesthetic. The Retourne construction offers a softer and more relaxed silhouette, while the Sellier construction provides a structured and refined look.


The Hermes Kelly Bag Strap Lengths

One thing to note, when you're choosing between a Birkin and a Kelly is that a Kelly comes with a long strap which provides an additional option for wear - whereas, an Hermes Birkin bag is exclusively designed to be hand-carried.

The standard strap length for the Hermès Kelly bag measures 85cm. Some clients report finding the 85cm strap short for crossbody wear - and on taller frames the length can be tricky. Some Hermes fans therefore prefer the Hermes Kelly Pocket strap. Hermès provides a range of Kelly pocket straps in three different lengths. These include a shorter 70cm option, the standard 85cm length, and a longer 105cm variation. 

What fits more an Hermes Birkin or a Kelly bag?:

For the same size, it's usually the Birkin. The Birkin's spacious interior, available in various sizes, accommodates daily essentials and more, making it a reliable choice for work or travel. Its accessible design allows for easy organisation and ensures functionality without compromising on style. The Kelly bag, is slightly more compact with less depth. 

Is an Hermes Birkin or Kelly bag a better investment?

Both the Hermes Birkin and Hermes Kelly bags have long been recognised as investment pieces due to their enduring popularity and limited availability. However, deciding which one is the better investment is by no means simple. Hermes bags are very much an asset class of their own and market dynamics determine a great deal when it comes to values on the secondary market. As with all markets supply and demand will fluctuate and prices are set by what is available in the market at the time. For example, if there are more black Birkins than Kellys in the market at a given time, we would expect to see the Kellys trade at a 20% premium to the Birkin bags. This is something that may change month-on-month based on Hermes production, supply and resale activity.


Choosing between the Hermes Birkin and Hermes Kelly bags is ultimately a matter of personal preference, style, and practicality. Both bags offer unparalleled craftsmanship, timeless designs, and investment potential. Whether you gravitate towards the Birkin's relaxed elegance or the Kelly's refined charm, owning either bag represents an investment in luxury and an enduring symbol of status and sophistication.